Giorgio Moroder

Considered one of the first songwriters and producers to have brought disco music to the international stage, Giorgio Moroder paved the way for pop music’s contemporary focus on electronic production. Born in Italy in 1940, Moroder toured Europe as a teenaged guitarist in cover bands. He moved to Berlin in 1963 and began releasing a series of singles as Giorgio. He relocated to Munich, where he founded the Musicland studios and recorded the 1969 bubblegum hit, “Looky Looky.” He released his debut album, Son of My Father, in 1972 and in 1974 began a professional partnership with producer Pete Bellotte and singer Donna Summer. From Summer’s 1974 album Lady of the Night through the end of the disco era, the Moroder-Bellotte team became the genre’s most prolific and innovative. The seventeen-minute titular song from 1975’s Love to Love You Baby helped to establish the long-playing dance record format, and 1977’s “I Feel Love” introduced the hi-NRG disco subgenre.

In 1979, he won an Academy Award for Best Original Score for his contribution to the Midnight Express soundtrack. He continued to compose music for soundtracks through the 1980s and, following the nadir of disco, his contribution to the genre and its ability to be modernized into new dance and new wave established him as a pivotal figure in the trajectory of popular electronic music. He released his fourteenth studio album, Forever Dancing, in 1993 and subsequently took an extended hiatus that lasted until 2012. In 2004 he was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame and in 2011 was honored with the World Soundtrack Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Though he continued to work, and notably produced the soundtrack for German documentarian Leni Riefenstahl’s last film in 2002, Moroder returned to regular performance in 2012 and contributed to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories the following year. In 2013, he began a career as a DJ and toured the world as he played his classic songs and modern remixes. He released Déjà Vu in 2015, which featured contributions from a long list of major electronic-oriented pop artists, all of whom had been influenced by the career and impact of Moroder.