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Because after watching tonight’s “Disco Explosion” pledge drive on PBS, I feel compelled to give the man his due. Because even those whose greatest achievements are accomplished behind the scenes instead of at the mic or before the camera are worthy of homage. Because his name is just so goddamn cool. If you spent time in the industrialized world anytime between 1975 and 1990, you know his work. Below is a partial discography:
Love to Love You Baby, I Feel Love, Hot Stuff, Last Dance, On the Radio, Bad Girls – Donna Summer
Call Me – Blondie
Flashdance (What A Feeling) – Irene Cara
The NeverEnding Story – Limahl
Take My Breath Away – Berlin
Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins
You can see even from the above list that Moroder had one foot in the world of the discotheque and the other in motion pictures. So even if you avoided the radio in the 1980s, you certainly would have heard some of the tunes that GM wrote, produced or both in big-ass movies of the day, like (duh) Flashdance and Top Gun. Of course, as busy a guy as he was, he was bound to get involved in some fiascos. So for every Oscar-winner like Midnight Express, there was a (cough) lesser work like Over the Top; for every classic like Scarface, an acquired taste like Electric Dreams. As an ethnic German born in the Italian Alps (his real first name is Hansjörg), he rocks an all-purpose Euro-identity which continues to be chic even today; however, his 1960s relocation to Munich, smack in the bosom of Hitlerland, might give one pause, especially considering some of his most Germanic projects: not only did he create a synth-pop score for Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent Metropolis, he composed the score for the final film of onetime Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. (For the record, it was a nature doc.) Well, I suppose keyboards know no politics.