First of May was but a minor hit in the late 1960s, then enjoyed renewed popularity in 1971 when it was featured in the soundtrack to Melody, a British motion picture about puppy love. The lyrics are largely symbolic, but there is no mistaking the melancholy of lost love. Like most Bee Gees recording prior to the Main Course album, the vocal styling fits easily within the genre of popular song, and the orchestral arrangement is top notch.
Although obviously not a USA-penned song, it nonetheless claims a place in the annals of American pop. The Bee Gees' later music that was so successful in the late 1970s was written while all were residents of Florida, where the surviving members continue to make their homes, so it is not at all a stretch to include this British/Australian/American family in this month's version of PopularSong.org.
One of the reasons we wanted to feature this song is to give USA fans exposure to a British video made shortly before Maurice Gibb's untimely death. It is an extremely touching duet by Maurice and first wife Lulu, known of course for the #1 To Sir, With Love. The affection between the two is obvious, despite what was a messy divorce 27 years earlier. Pay close attention to Lulu just before they begin, when she coyly asks Maurice if he "got the music I sent you? Did you learn it?" Their feelings and caring are unmistakable, and they then launch into the most sincere version of First of May you'll ever hear.
The incredible Lulu & Maurice version is above left, while a video of Robin singing a fantastic version with the vocal group G4 is found below...
The former Mr. and Mrs. Gibb with the ultimate performance of First of May
If you would like to read and listen to last month's forgotten gem, please click here.
If you don't have a proper assortment of Bee Gees records, this will do it for you. It's got First of May certainly, and of course a bunch of other classic -- and many better known -- hits. I've Gotta Get a Message to You, I Started A Joke, To Love Somebody, World, Holiday, Massachusetts, New York Mining Disaster 1941, and so on. If you don't have it, you need it. We don't even talk about the fantastic stuff from the 1970s; everything you need is right here.
The thing to keep in mind when you see these Amazon.com links is that they usually offer clean used or discounted copies as well...fully guaranteed.
Usually we recommend another offering from the same artist in this spot, but uh, here we don't have to. The record at left is the only one you need. But if you're a Bee Gees fan and you already have most of the greatest hits stuff, perhaps you're familiar with this album? No? Their last studio album? It is simply fantastic...easily their best since Too Much Heaven. Anyway, we recommend it even if you aren't necessarily a fan. It's just a great record.