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A Warm Night in May

From the Album Silly Old Man

Look at the river, it’s starting to flow now
Where yesterday’s river was still
Winding its way down from mountain to sea
The sight of it gives such a thrill
Winter is passing, and spring has begun
The summer play has been cast
Soon there’ll be flowers that dance in the sun
And lovers that bathe in the grass

How well I remember the days of my youth
At this special time of the year
The sun and the laughter
The smile of a young girl
And the joy of holding her near
The journeys to places that I’d never been
A life full of time left to spend
The fun and the laughter just went on and on
I was sure it never would end

Now I’m alone at the end of my days
And every day passes the same
It all went so quickly, just slipped through my hands
And there’s only myself I can blame
Why can’t they see that inside I’m a child
That longs to go play in the sand
This passion inside me is still driving me wild
But there’s no who’ll take this old hand
My heart is still free, and my eyes still shine bright
But my body gets tireder each day
I’d give all I have for just one more night
To be young on a warm night in May


In 1971, I worked for two winter seasons at the Palace Hotel in the skiing village of Gstaad, Switzerland. It was literally like being picked up in London on a gloomy winter’s day and dropped in heaven. I was paid a lot of money, had all expenses paid, and there was a multitude of girls’ finishing schools whose clients (mainly American) were hypnotised by my “cute” English accent.
I was working for the jet-set bandleader Renato Sambo, who was one of the most charming men I ever met, which I suspect was the main reason for his success. I was nineteen when he told us one night it was his fortieth birthday. I was flabbergasted that anyone could be so old and still sing, let alone have so many women falling at his feet.
Fast forward twenty years and I was standing on a bridge in Southern Spain, looking down at a dry riverbed. The line “Look at the river, it’s starting to flow” came to me. OK, it was late summer, so it wasn’t actually flowing yet, but the rest of the song certainly did. I immediately thought of Renato and wondered if his life turned out like the man in the song.