Hey Donna

Album: Rythm Syndicate (1991)
Charted: 13

Songfacts®:

  • Rythm Syndicate are best known for their debut single "P.A.S.S.I.O.N.," which went to #2 in 1991. Well, that and for discovering Rihanna.

    The group was led by Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, who became regular visitors to Barbados after meeting the women they married there. On one trip in 2003, Rogers auditioned Rihanna as a favor to a friend; he and Sturken ended up recording her demo, bringing her to America, and helping get her a record deal with Jay-Z's label, Def Jam.

    The pair are best known as songwriter/producers, but in the '80s they threw their weight behind Rogers' solo career, which resulted in two albums that sold about 18 copies (combined). They made their mark with Donny Osmond's comeback album, which they wrote and produced in 1988. Osmond was toxically uncool, but Sturken and Rogers knew if they could land him a hit, their phones would start ringing. They did: "Soldier Of Love" went to #2 in 1989, and other artists came calling. But their efforts to replicate the song failed, so they formed Rythm Syndicate with four other guys and released their debut album in 1991. "Hey Donna" was the follow-up to "P.A.S.S.I.O.N." and did well, charting at #13. Their next single, "Blinded By Love," reached #76. When they released their next album in 1992 (with the band name amended to "Rhythm Syndicate"), "I Wanna Make Love To You" was released as a single and topped out at #73. The band folded, and Sturken and Rogers returned to their work with other artists, maintaining a hit streak that lasted decades and found them working with Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, 'N Sync and Shakira.
  • In this song, lead singer Evan Rogers is vexed by Donna, who won't fall for him no matter how hard he tries. "Hey Donna, why you wanna do me like that?" he sings.

    The song wasn't inspired by a specific relationship - the word "Donna," loaded with vowels, just sings well. Ritchie Valens and DeBarge both had "Donna" hits.
  • When this was on the charts, Rythm Syndicate toured with two other purveyors of early '90s dance-pop: C+C Music Factory and Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch.

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