Live 1976. This was Summer's first hit, and one of the first disco hits. Disco gained popularity in gay dance clubs where they used DJs instead of bands. Eventually, the music spread to mainstream clubs and made it's way onto radio stations and movies like Saturday Night Fever. Summer had many hits and became known as the "Queen of Disco," but before "Love To Love You Baby," she was more of a folk-pop artist, and before that, she performed in musicals and recorded show tunes. This was the song that set her on the path to disco divadom.
It was rumored that Summer sang her very convincing orgasmic-sounding vocals on the studio floor while simulating a sex act. The rumor was partly true - after trying to record her vocal the traditional way, her producer Giorgio Moroder had her sing on the studio floor while lying on her back with the lights out, since she didn't want the guys working on the album looking at her when she sang it. She explained that she was indeed touching herself during the vocal: she had her hand on her knee. Her boyfriend Peter served as her fantasy inspiration.
Donna Summer had had a Christian upbringing and was an unlikely writer of such a sexual song. She told Time magazine December 1975 that to write the lyrics, "I let go long enough to show all the things I've been told since childhood to keep secret." She added in an interview with the Telegraph Magazine: "I took on this character and eventually it just fitted me."
Donna had a hard time listening back to the song after she recorded it and was concerned about what the song did to her image, but she learned to embrace it and made it a centerpiece of her subsequent tour, putting on a stage show that Madonna would later crib, complete with dancers simulating sexual positions and Summer squatting over an array of guys.