At 75, disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder reemerges to once again produce some of the biggest icons of our time
By Chris Azzopardi
It’s been 35 years since Giorgio Moroder and Cher hooked up for a late-night session to produce “Bad Love,” the diva’s disco rave-up from the soundtrack of the 1980 coming-of-age drama, Foxes.
“We were supposed to start at 2 o’clock in the studio, and who comes in at 2 o’clock punctual? Cher,” Moroder recalls, tickled. “I said, ‘Shit, because with an artist like her — the big stars, you think, if it’s 2 o’clock, they come in at 5 o’clock, if you’re lucky. So she was there at 2 o’clock, and I said, ‘Cher, something is wrong — I was told you’re always late.’ And she said, ‘Yes, I’m always late… except the first time.’”
Decades have passed and music has changed and Cher has not. One other thing remains the same: Moroder still lights up at the mere thought of the ageless icon, how “I loved her” and “she was so funny.” Undoubtedly, Cher, to this day, can still smack you with a punchline. A star, an icon, the diva of all divas — her success is abiding.
Now, returning to the scene at age 75 with his first album in 30 years, Moroder can say the same for his own monumental success.
The Italy-born musical mastermind who unwittingly blazed a fruitful trail of radio hits is the father of such celebrated dance-floor relics as Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” and Blondie’s ubiquitous No. 1 hit “Call Me.” A cavernous catalog of ’70s-era paragons and Moroder’s unprecedented artistic vision became the catalyst for modern-age dance music. Between 1974 and 1984, Moroder’s creative force was a hot commodity, and everyone who was everyone — Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie — clamored for his heyday genius.
During Moroder’s most musically prolific era, the producer, composer and DJ could be found endlessly shacked up in a studio. There, he’d mix until the wee hours, never to succumb to his own burgeoning brand of sonic escapism that coaxed just about everyone but himself — the man behind those very beats — to the clubs.
“If I go back, I remember one year, ’85, when I did the [music for the] Top Gun movie,” he says. “The whole year I was doing several projects, of which most didn’t work out, but I think I had one weekend by myself. I would work like crazy.”
And even that’s an understatement. While producing for an army of iconic artists during the first wave of disco-dance, Moroder was also becoming a booming cinema presence.
He won his first Oscar for his music in 1978’s Midnight Express, and then two more for “Flashdance… What a Feeling” and Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away,” from Top Gun. In 1983, he intensified Scarface with his music (he produced the soundtrack), and also contributed to the 1984 children’s fantasy classic The NeverEnding Story, for which he produced the theme song.