BackgroundAfter establishing herself as the top-ranked American female recording artist of the 1970s, Summer had broken out of her contract with Casablanca Records in 1980 to sign with the newly established Geffen Records, the label founded by David Geffen. But her album The Wanderer - Geffen's inaugural release - had disappointed David Geffen by falling somewhat short of the success level of Summer's previous Casablanca releases.
Geffen had elected to shelve the I'm a Rainbow double album Summer had recorded with her longtime collaborators Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, an album Summer had expected to be her next release in 1981. Summer instead was assigned to work with Quincy Jones and the resultant Donna Summer album was released in 1982; also to fall short of Summer's '70s success level.
Geffen was unpleased to learn that Summer legally owed her previous label Casablanca another album. Polygram Records had already owned 50% of Casablanca and it had previously purchased the other 50%, owning the company outright. Polygram notified Geffen Records and Summer that she still owed them another album per her contract with Casablanca. The Michael Omartian produced She Works Hard for the Money album was given to Polygram to satisfy the agreement and Polygram released it on its Mercury Records label in 1983. Ironically, Summer's return to the Polygram fold netted what would become her biggest album of the entire 1980s. The title song garnered her a Grammy nomination.
Owing no more albums to Polygram, Summer's next release was on her current label Geffen. Cats Without Claws, also produced by Omartian, was released in 1984, but failed to go gold and it did not repeat the success of its predecessor. Three years would pass without the release of any new material from Summer.
The albumAll Systems Go was a composite of tracks recorded at various points between 1983 and 1987. The release of the album was spearheaded by Summer's 1987 recording of a track which Geffen felt had hit potential: "Dinner With Gershwin" whose producer Richard Perry had provided the Pointer Sisters with a string of Pop/Soul hits; the track was co-produced by its writer Brenda Russell.
The album is a fusion of typical 1980s synth-style pop/dance with soul and R&B elements, including both upbeat songs and ballads.
Four tracks were produced by Giorgio Moroder associate Harold Faltermeyer, although Peter Bunetta, Rick Chudacoff, Richard Perry, Keith D. Nelson, Jeffrey Lams and Summer herself were also given production credits on certain songs.
Summer was credited as co-writer on seven of the nine tracks.
Release and aftermathIn the US "Dinner With Gershwin" became Summer's last Top Ten R&B hit at #10; its Pop impact was more muted at #48 and All Systems Go became the first album by Donna Summer to fall short of Billboard's Top 100 album charts peaking at #122.
"Only The Fool Survives" with Mickey Thomas was the second single released from the album.The cover of the 45' featured Donna in a buckskin jacket. The only impact the song made was the lower rung of the Hot 100 and the top 40 of the AC chart.
"Dinner with Gershwin" gave Summer her highest UK chart placing (#13) since the '70s also reaching #13 in Ireland and charting in the Netherlands at #43.
The UK success of "Dinner With Gershwin" failed to translate into success for the All Systems Go album which became Summer's first UK album release to fall short of the Top 75.
The "All Systems Go" track reached #54 UK.
David Geffen's response to the commercial disappointment of All Systems Go was to assign Summer to work with the Stock, Aitken and Waterman production team whose dance pop singles were dominating the UK charts and who had had US success with Bananarama and Rick Astley. Ultimately Geffen dropped Summer from the roster rather than release the resultant Another Place and Time. The album was picked up for release in the US by Atlantic Records in 1989. Ironically, the album would be a bigger success than her previous Geffen Records release All Systems Go." Another Place and Time had provided Summer with one final solid commercial success and her last top ten US single, fourteen years after the release of her first top ten hit "Love to Love You Baby" had hit the charts.
|1.||"All Systems Go"||Harold Faltermeyer, Donna Summer||4:13|
|2.||"Bad Reputation"||Peter Bunetta, Joe Erickson, Summer||4:14|
|3.||"Love Shock"||Faltermeyer, Bruce Sudano, Summer||4:16|
|4.||"Jeremy"||Faltermeyer, Pit Floss, Andy Slovic, Summer, Hannes Treibe||4:40|
|5.||"Only the Fool Survives"||John Bettis, Michael Omartian, Sudano, Summer, Virgil Weber||4:42|
|6.||"Dinner with Gershwin"||Brenda Russell||4:39|
|7.||"Fascination"||Eddie Schwartz, David Tyson||4:30|
|8.||"Voices Cryin' Out"||Faltermeyer, Summer||5:20|
|9.||"Thinkin' Bout My Baby"||Jeffrey Lams, Keith D. Nelson, Summer||6:20|