By Kyle Anderson
Updated May 17, 2012 at 04:58 PM EDT
Credit: Fotos International/Getty Images

Has there ever been a musical genre more maligned than disco? Along with hair metal and that random swing-dance revival, disco is often used as shorthand for empty froth that inspired terrible fashion choices and aged poorer than warm Gruyere.

But the legacy of the late Donna Summer, who passed away today at the age of 63, makes a pretty spectacular case for the greatness of her particular blend of funk, soul, R&B, and dance music. She essentially created the genre with her 1975 hit “Love to Love You,” and only elevated it from there.

Over the course of her career, Summer recorded a handful of stone-cold classics that defined the late 1970s for millions, including the memorably “Last Dance,” the smash “Hot Stuff,” the iconic “Bad Girls,” and her whimsical chart-topping hit “MacArthur Park.”

Summer probably had the best 1979 of any recording artist of the era. In addition to “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls,” she put three more singles in the top five: The sweet “Heaven Knows,” the epic “Dim All The Lights,” and the Barbara Streisand duet “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough).”

All told, Summer put 14 singles in the top 10, including four number one hits. Her body of work — including plenty of hits that transcended disco — is impressive, and she was moving bodies all the way through her final album Crayons in 2008 (see the adrenaline-packed gem “Stamp Your Feet”).

Give the EW playlist below a spin, and enjoy the best days of disco.

What are your favorite Donna Summer songs? Crown your favorites in the comments.