On November 6, Giorgio Moroder tweeted that he would soon be touring India.
To anyone with even the slightest interest in the evolution of dance music, this was huge news. The Italian musician is among the fathers of disco music and over the decades, he has created tunes that were loved across the world: Donna Summer’s Love To Love You Baby and Berlin’s Take My Breath Away, among them.
But even those Indian fans who have not heard his songs know his sounds: Moroder has been the inspiration for several Bollywood soundtracks.
Moroder began his career in 1966 when he released a few singles under his first name after moving to Berlin from Italy. He sang in Italian, Spanish, English and German. His first big hit came in 1969 when the single Looky Looky was awarded a gold disc.
In 1975, when singer Donna Summer was working closely with Moroder, she came up with the lyrics of Love to Love You Baby , and revved up the track by adding suggestive groans and moans. Time magazine called the song a “marathon of 22 orgasms” and BBC banned it, which had the effect of making it soar up the music charts.
In 1977, Moroder collaborated with Summer again for the hit single I Feel Love. The song became one of the first truly modern electronic dance tracks to use a synthesised backing track instead of acoustic instruments, which was the norm for disco songs. This innovative technique of electronic sequencing, using four-four beats and repeating Summer’s vocals with synth layering, made it an instant classic of the genre.
The beat of this dance track is familiar to Indian disco lovers. Elements of the song found its way into the song Raat Baaki , composed by music director Bappi Lahiri for the film Namak Halal (1982).
I Feel Love also appeared to have inspired Aaj Ki Raat in Don (2006), composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
Moroder’s music for the movie Midnight Express (1978) won him his first Academy Award for Best Original Score the following year. The theme music of the movie Chase soared to the top of the charts in the United Kingdom, America and Europe.
Moroder’s achievements include three Oscars, four Grammys, and four Golden Globes. He has composed the soundtrack for one football World Cup and three Olympics and has produced over 100 gold and platinum records, working with distinguished artists such as Daft Punk, Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Cher, Janet Jackson, Blondie, Freddie Mercury, and David Bowie. He has created memorable music for films such as Scarface, Flashdance, American Gigolo and Top Gun.
The song Take My Breath Away, performed by the band Berlin for Top Gun (1986), is Moroder’s favourite song in his entire career. He said, “I think it’s a great melody. Great lyrics. The group Berlin, Terri Nunn sang it really nice. It’s nice to hear the song. So that’s probably my favourite one.”
Moroder has also been extensively performing as a DJ since 2013, a role in which he will travel to India to showcase his new work.
Perhaps the best tribute to his vast oeuvre is the track Giorgio by Moroder, written and recorded by the French electronic band Daft Punk in 2013. The song incorporates a monologue by Moroder in which he speaks about his passion for music.
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