Donna Summer” A Tribute to Dan Fogelberg – “Nether Lands”
“On June 3, 2010, I got an email from Norbert telling me that Donna Summer wanted to record ‘Nether Lands’ for the tribute. Coming of age in the 70’s, I was a huge fan, and for a long time I’d thought that one of the great divas should cover this, one of Dan’s most ambitious recordings in regards to the instrumentation, and the key! So I was beyond thrilled with Donna’s participation and her choice of song.
We determined that it would be much too costly to try to recreate the track, with its lush orchestral arrangements, so we had Sony dig up the master. Norbert was concerned about the key and asked Donna if it would be too high for her. She laughed and told Norbert that during a very difficult time in her life she’d had some tough decisions to make and she would start each day by playing ‘Nether Lands’ to inspire her. She’d been singing along with the record for years, knew it by heart, and the key was perfect for her.
Unaware that Donna was still performing, I was prepared to hear some diminished vocals now that she was in her 60’s. When Norbert sent me the track, I was blown away. If anything, her voice was richer and more powerful than ever – the track gave me goosebumps and still brings me to tears every time I play it.
With much still to give, Donna Summer died of lung cancer on May 17, 2012. I’m so grateful to her for gracing us with her incredible version of one of Dan’s most majestic songs, and to her husband, Bruce Sudano, for his assistance since her untimely death.
Five years after her passing, Donna and Bruce’s daughter Amanda Sudano and her husband Abner Ramirez performed ‘Nether Lands’ at the tribute concert as the duo ‘Johnnyswim.’ Amanda and Abner thrilled the audience with their duet rendition of the song, and their powerful and amazing voices. Donna would have been proud.”
~ Jean Fogelberg