Flashback: 23 july 1977

Disco diva Donna Summer recalls the moment her groundbreaking single 'I Feel Love' went to No.1 in the UK charts - and its miraculous impact on people's lives

In 1977, the songwriter and producer Pete Bellotte and I were working at my house in California. We wrote an entire song - the lyrics of which I don't have any more - and sang it to the melody of 'I Feel Love'. But I thought, 'No, this is too crowded. The song is like a chant - we need to let it breathe.' So we started removing elements, then stripped the lyrics back to one line - 'I feel love' - and it took off.

'I Feel Love' was actually the B-side to a slow song, 'Can't We Just Sit Down (and Talk it Over)'. As it was so 'techno', the record label were timid. Still, they said that if the A-side didn't take off, they would flip it and make 'I Feel Love' the A-side. Sure enough, that's exactly what they did, and 'I Feel Love' became this sensation.

I was ecstatic when it got to No.1, not least because the song was so unusual and - although it sounds very simple - I had put a lot of work into it. I still love it now and my dancers and backing singers, who are pretty young, are hearing it for the first time and they're digging it.

I've had some remarkable experiences because of 'I Feel Love'. One man told me he was playing it loudly while his mum, who was deaf, was vacuuming. All of a sudden he noticed that his mum was vacuuming to the rhythm of the song and, incredibly, was mouthing the words. Soon she began singing the lyrics, too, and got her hearing back thanks to 'I Feel Love'. It's astonishing that my song has had that kind of impact.

· Donna Summer's new album, Crayons, is out now on SonyBMG

In other news

New attraction

On 14 July, Elvis Costello and the Attractions make their live debut at the Garden in Penzance, supporting Wayne County. Costello had just quit his job at Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics to try to make it as a full-time musician.

Situation vacant

On the same day, the Sex Pistols make their debut on Top of the Pops, although their performance of 'Pretty Vacant' is pre-recorded. The band didn't play live on TOTP until they reformed in 1996, when they played the same song.

Battle of Nevermore

On 23/24 July, Led Zeppelin play two shows in Oakland, California, their last ever US gigs. Drummer John Bonham and manager Peter Grant are among those arrested on the first night after a fight with one of the promoter's staff.

The GuardianTramp

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