40 years ago, the new album release schedule wasn't just about Donna Summer, but spring, autumn and winter too. As the Boston-born artist continued her popularity in the wake of her 'Love To Love You Baby' breakthrough, her fourth studio album Four Seasons Of Love was released on 11 October, 1976.
Her controversially sensuous debut hit of 1975 established the singer's working relationship with her co-producers and writing collaborators Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. The Love To Love You Baby album went gold, following its eponymous smash into the top ten, and was followed early in 1976 by the ambitious, conceptual A Love Trilogy.
That second album, like its predecessor, was created at the producers' Musicland Studios in Munich, soon after the first set. It was distinctly divided into three movements, with the whole of side one being taken up with the 17-minute 'Try Me, I Know We Can Make It.' The second side included Summer's version of Barry Manilow's 'Could It Be Magic,' which she turned into a disco and pop bestseller.
After a brief respite from recording, most of which the artist needed for promotion of her new-found stardom, the team returned to Muslcland in the middle part of 1976 to make Four Seasons Of Love. This time, the concept was the telling of a love story by the seasons, hence the titles 'Spring Affair,' 'Summer Fever,' 'Autumn Changes' and 'Winter Melody,' with a closing 'Spring Reprise.'
'Spring Affair,' the first single, faltered on the US pop chart, reaching only No. 58, and peaked at No. 24 on the R&B countdown. 'Winter Melody' was somewhat more successful, chiefly with the Adult Contemporary audience, on which chart it went top ten. It also gave Summer a new top 30 hit in the UK.
Four Seasons Of Love reached only No. 29 on the American album chart, but spent six months there. Like its two forerunners, it also went gold and further enhanced Donna's reputation as one of the most creative artists working in the burgeoning disco scene. The next time she returned, it would be with the song that defined that entire era, 'I Feel Love.'