Dedicado a Miguel. "This world today is a mess" is a song by Donna Hightower and it is one of the first examples of disco music from Spain, despite the fact of the singer is from U.S.A.(Missouri), the music is from Danny Daniel and the arrangements of Rafael Ferro. This world today is a mess (originally titled Este Mundo Es Un Conflicto) recorded in 1971 (but released 1972 in some countries), sold 7 million copies in Europe.
Donna Hightower Vanoutrive was born in Cathersville, Missouri (the USA) the 28 of December 1926.
"Little" Donna Hightower had a dynamic, big voice and made some fine shouting records for Decca and RPM in the '50s. Unfortunately, she never landed any hits, but that wasn't due to any lack of skill. She not only had range and power, but was equally compelling doing sentimental, soft ballads. She was backed by the orchestras of Horace Henderson and Maxwell Davis on the Decca and RPM material, respectively.
Donna made a comeback in the early 70s in Europe. In 1959 she performed at The Stork Club in London, England, and liked it so much that she made Europe her home for the next 31 years. She moved to Switzerland in the second half of the 60s, and released at least one single in Germany (Casablanca b/w Liebe Macht Blind, Ariola, 1966). She then relocated to Madrid in the early 70s, forming a songwriting/production partnership with spanish writer and performer Danny Daniel AKA Daniel Candon De La Campa, the first fruits of their labour being the song Soy Feliz, an entry in the Spanish selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 1970. Although Donna and song wasn't selected, success was just around the corner with the major European hit The World Today Is A Mess (originally titled Este Mundo Es Un Conflicto) recorded in 1971(but released 1972 in some countries) over seven million copies were sold.
Donna also came second in the Malaga song festival of 1971 with Dreams Like Mine, which was featured on the B-side of The World Today... in most countries, and won the contest the year after with Si Tu Coges Mi Mano (which was a follow up hit to The World Today Is A Mess and an entry in the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo 1971, under the English title If You Hold My Hand). Naturally an album was released to capitalize on these first two hits, and Donna continued to eke out a pop career on the continent, at least until 1977, when disco versions in English of the traditional Spanish song Granada and the standard Besame Mucho (retitled Kiss Me). Here is a classic song by the unjustly underrated yet great jazz and R&B singer Donna Hightower. She toured the "chitlin circuit" with Louis Jordan and B.B. King at that time. The Missouri-born singer has made a pretty good living in Europe, where she went to sing for a week at a London jazz club in 1959 and stayed 31 years. Indeed Hightower's voice was discovered 55 years ago while she was doing two things she loved — cooking and singing — at a diner in Chicago. She was back in the kitchen one day when a customer asked that the radio be turned up. "That ain't no radio", the owner told Bob Tillman, a reporter for the Chicago Defender. "That's just Lil' Donna." Tillman took Hightower around and introduced her to club owners and she soon got regular bookings fronting bands at the Strand Hotel Lounge, the Crown Propellor and other South Side hotspots. She came to the attention of Decca Records, which signed her and suggested a name change. "They said it was too long and I said: 'Well, it's got the same number of letters as "Ella Fitzgerald" ', and they let it go." Hightower made a series of singles for Decca and RPM, and in 1958 she was working in New York. That's where the second phase of her career began. Producer Dave Cavenaugh had set up a session for Dakota Staton, but when the sassy jazz-blues singer canceled, Cavenaugh scrambled for a replacement. He remembered a voice he heard on a demo that Peggy Lee emulated on a million-seller. Eventually, Hightower was tracked down in Brooklyn. "My boss at the publishing company called one morning and asked if I wanted to make a record for Capitol and I said: 'You bet!' " Hightower recalled. "He said: 'Then get yourself to the studio by noon.' " After taking the quickest shower of her life, Hightower made it in time for the sessions, featuring sax giant Ben Webster, which resulted in the critically acclaimed "Take One!" LP. Six months later came "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You", which led to the continent-changing 1959 booking at the Stork Club in London. Donna Hightower is still performing in her eighties. She was recently in Austin, Texas and in July 2005, she was the guest of honor of the IV Festival Internacional de Jazz in Spain, featuring her former tourmate B.B. King and others.
Her idols are Bessie Smith, Mildred Bailey, Lee Wiley, Ella Fitzgerald, Maxine Sullivan and Sarah Vaughan...