There will come a day when our cells won’t regenerate and everyone you know will rot away, rot away Your friends and enemies and all your family we will all be buried in the ground, in the ground So make the most of it. Life’s too short to fuck with.
There are songs that divide pop history into Before and After. Some are incontestable: “She Loves You,” “Anarchy in the U.K.,” “Rapper’s Delight.” Others are up for debate. Sometimes a song splits pop time in half without that many people noticing its revolutionary implications (think Phuture’s “Acid Tracks”), the impact fully emerging only later. Other times, the rupture in business-as-usual happens in plain view, at the peak of the pop charts, and the effect is immediate. One such pop altering single that was felt as a real-time future-shock is “I Feel Love.”
Released 40 years ago, in early July 1977, “I Feel Love” was a global smash, reaching No. 1 in several countries (including the UK, where its reign at the top lasted a full month) and rising to No. 6 in America. But its impact reached far beyond the disco scene in which singer Donna Summer and her producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte were already well established. Post-punk and new wave groups admired and appropriated its innovative sound, the maniacal precision of its grid-like groove of sequenced synth-pulses. Even now, long after discophobia has been disgraced and rockism defeated, there’s still a mischievous frisson to staking the claim that “I Feel Love” was far more important than other epochal singles of ’77 such as “God Save the Queen,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” or “Complete Control.” But really it’s a simple statement of fact: If any one song can be pinpointed as where the 1980s began, it’s “I Feel Love.”