At the disco legend’s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Rowland talked about how Summer wrote “She Works Hard For The Money” after meeting someone who worked in a restaurant. “We sang along with her – on the radio – with everything we had, because she sang with everything she had.”
Though Donna is gone, Rowland said that “she continues to inspire so many women around the world.” Ending her speech by saying, “Donna, we love you so much.”
With that, she introduced members of Summers’ family including Bruce Sedano, her husband of almost 32 years and their three daughters. It was an emotional moment, as Sedano noted, “It’s bittersweet for obvious reasons. If Donna was here, she’d be very grateful.” She noted that she wasn’t big on awards, and said she didin’t display her awards in the house. “She didn’t think it was good to live under the shadow of ‘look what I’ve done,’” he said.
Sedano said he suggested that she should do a standards album, something she always opted against because she always had new songs that she wanted to record. He gave thanks to her fans, saying it was a love affair, noting that after her shows, she would sign autographs rather than leaving for the hotel. Sedano also thanked DJs – both radio DJs and club DJs–who played her records, over and over for years.
Jennifer Hudson then took the stage, sporting a ’70s era disco jumpsuit and a perm similar to Summers’ from that era.
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She started with an energetic take on “Bad Girls.” From there, she temporarily took the pace down a bit for “Last Dance.” Many in the audience were on their feet throughout the performance, but no one was more excited than Flavor Flav, who was dancing along. Geddy Lee of Rush also got into the music, clapping right along.
Christina Aguilera, expected to perform at the ceremony as well, was sadly, a no-show. But no one in the audience seemed to mind. Hudson’s performance was a fitting and moving tribute.
Catch more from the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony when it airs Saturday May 18 at 9 pm ET/PT on HBO.
Watch our recent Radio.com Inside Out episode on 2013’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction class, below.