First of May (Bee Gees song)
|"First of May"|
|Single by Bee Gees|
|from the album Odessa|
March 1969 (United States)
|Genre||Easy listening, folk|
Atco (United States/Canada)
|Writer(s)||Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb/Maurice Gibb|
|Producer(s)||Robert Stigwood, Bee Gees|
|Bee Gees singles chronology|
"First of May" is a song by the Bee Gees with lead vocals by Barry Gibb, released as a single from their 1969 double album Odessa. Its B-side was "Lamplight". On the 1996 reissue of this single, its flipside was "How Deep Is Your Love" as the song re-entered the charts in Japan reaching No. 25. It was used as a B-side of "Melody Fair" in 1971 on the Melody soundtrack as well as in 1976 and 1980 on RSO Records. Also in 1980, sometimes, it was chosen as the A-side with "Melody Fair" as the B-side only in Japan. It was the first Bee Gees single after guitarist Vince Melouney left.
It was first recorded in Atlantic Studios in New York and was continued in IBC Studios, London. Barry says in Tales from the Brothers Gibb that the title of the song came from the birthday of his dog, Barnaby. Maurice recalled the session in which that song came about. "Barry and I were sitting at the piano", he said, "And I started playing the chords, and Barry started singing, 'When I was small and Christmas trees were tall' and started singing along with it. We put a demo down with a vocal and we kept the piano track. Went back to England, and went into IBC Studios in London, added onto that piano track and Barry's vocal stayed on as well. We had a choir and an orchestra all on this one piano". This song was initially taped in demo form in New York City on 16 August 1968.
The orchestral arrangement from maestro Bill Shepherd was featured on the second chorus. The song starts with a piano on the first verse and chorus. Shepherd's orchestra was featured in second verse and second chorus. After singing the second chorus, the singer repeated the first verse. The music was stopped when he sings don't ask me why, but time has passed by, Someone else moved in from far away.
The flip side of a single was "Lamplight" on which Robin Gibb sang the lead. Robert Stigwood, the Bee Gees manager chose "First of May" for the A-side. No other singles were released from the Odessa album, as Robin Gibb already had left the group. The song was partially responsible for the departure of Robin Gibb from the Bee Gees. Robin had wanted his song, "Lamplight," to be the album's first single, while Barry preferred "First of May." In the end, Barry's judgment won, and Robin quit the band.
After its release, "First of May" enjoyed a resurgence several times. In 1971, the song was featured in the soundtrack to Melody, a British motion picture about puppy love. In 1996, the song was used as a theme of the Japanese drama Wakaba no Koro. The song reissued on CD climbed the country's chart again and gained moderate commercial success, selling more than 100,000 copies.
|Australia Kent Music Report||15|
|Germany Media Control Singles Chart||3|
|Ireland Singles Chart||4|
|Japan Oricon Singles Chart||80|
|The Netherlands Singles Chart||2|
|UK Singles Chart||6|
|US Cash Box Top 100||18|
|US Billboard Hot 100||37|
|Japan Oricon Singles Chart||25|
In 1988 and 2013, Hong Kong Actor and Singer Alan Tam and Tony Leung covered this song in Cantonese.
- Jose Feliciano (released on 10 To 23 by RCA in 1969)
- Agnaldo Timóteo (released on Comanda o Sucesso by Odeon in 1969 ref SecondhandSongs:)
- Cilla Black (released on her Images album in 1971).
- Tony Hadley (released as a single in 1998).
- In 2005, Robin re-recorded "First of May" with the British vocal troupe G4 for their album G4 & Friends.
- This song was also sung by Sarah Brightman in A Gala Christmas in Vienna, her One Night in Eden, La Luna and Symphony tours.
- The song was also covered by Irish ballad group The Wolfe Tones, on their album Let the People Sing.
- Also by the Scottish singer Lulu with Maurice Gibb - her ex-husband.
This song is the only song by the Bee Gees that exists in three different versions with each brother singing lead on one of the versions. Barry Gibb sings lead on the original version, Maurice Gibb sings the second verse on Lulu's version and Robin Gibb sings with G4 on their version.
- "BEE GEES - Discographie - Singles". Mcdustsucker.de. 2011-06-27. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- "Bee Gees - Melody Fair / First Of May". Discogs. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- p. 212: Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb by Melinda Bilyeu, Hector Cook, Andrew Môn Hughes, with Joseph Brennan and Mark Crohan. Omnibus Press, London, New York, New Revised Version, 2000.
- Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1968". Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "First of May". Popularsong.org. 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts". musicline.de. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- "Search results for "First of May"". Theofficialcharts.com. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- [dead link]
- "Jose Feliciano* - 10 To 23 (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. 2006-05-09. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- "Original versions of O dia que eu chegar by Agnaldo Timóteo". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- Fleming, John (11 July 1999). "Brightman delights the ears". St Petersburg Times. p. 2B.
- Hernández, Ricardo (10 November 2008). "Sarah Brightman captivates Mexican audiences". El Occidental (in Spanish).