Night Of The 4th Of May

Album: Orange (1972)
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Songfacts®:

  • Although Orange is not a concept album, like its predecessors it draws on personal experience, in particular the love of Al's life up until that point and for many years after, Mandi.

    "Night Of The 4th Of May" is the last track on the album but chronologically comes before the fourth track, "The News From Spain." The song begins happily enough with the two lovers sleeping together in his basement flat at number 10 Elvaston Place, which although not named in this song is the subject of a lachrymosal eponymous ballad which was released initially as the B Side of the aforementioned "The News From Spain."

    Read in conjunction with Neville Judd's official biography, the lyrics are not entirely accurate; though it is true as suggested here that Al and Mandi had an open relationship, this wasn't entirely to his liking, at least not at this point. On the date in question - May 4, 1969 - the couple went to a party at the Putney home of John Martyn, leaving separately, but when they met up at home, there was a bust up.

    Who slept with whom at or prior to the party is nobody's business but theirs - in spite of Al's confessional style! - but Al did not throw her out as claimed here, rather Mandi left for Cambridge and thence for Carvajal, at which point "The News From Spain" takes up the story.

    The one minor flaw with the song is the grammatical error in the third verse "The need to try and tear down" instead of "The need to try to tear down," a common error which appears in many songs including "Rocky Mountain High" and (most horribly) "Portrait Of My Love." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England

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