There are many well-known and beautiful songs about April of which April Love, written in 1957 by Sammy Fain, is by no means the best, but I choose it today for two lesser merits.
The first one is simple nostalgia. Growing up in the ‘50’s, some of my earliest musical memories are of listening to Pat Boone on the radio. He was second only to Elvis in the number of hits for that decade so he was ubiquitous. Then too, my sister and mother thought he was cute so there may have been some of his 45’s around the house. A kind of Elvis antidote, Boone was the clean cut guy who made white buck shoes a rage. (I had a pair myself, and the little powder bag you cleaned them with. Together with my Bermuda shorts (also a new thing for American adults) and my Harry Belafonte calypso shirt, I may have reached my sartorial peak at the age of six or seven.)
Anyway I still remember a lot of Boone’s hits and much of their lyrics: Anastasia, Bernadine, When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano, Love Letters in the Sand etc. For the most part, these were pretty mediocre tunes with mediocre arrangements. Such was 1950’s pop music.. Whatever their quality, they are lodged in my brain and will no doubt outlive my general sentience.
The second reason I chose April Love is that I noticed when playing it that, for all of its simplicity, there are little nuggets in it that make it interesting. Specifically, there are two nifty little bass lines that suggest themselves, one in the phrase “Every star’s a wishing star that shines for you” and the other in “Rain to grow the flowers for her first bouquet”. The melody is pretty bland (though to his credit, Sammy Fain wrote some beautiful tunes including I’ll Be Seeing You and Love is a Many Splendored Thing), but the bass lines suggest some simple chord changes and these chords add a depth that you wouldn’t have expected. And nicely, these chords are not far out, in the manner that a jazz player might alter them; they just lay in there, enriching without shocking.
I’ve done just a four part arrangement here with strings but I doubled the bass line with a pizzicato bass so you can hear those two lines and the harmonies that go with them. They are the only reason – outside the month of April (and the aforementioned nostalgia) – that I play this tune. Click on the title in red to hear it. I include the lyrics which, embarrassingly, I know by heart. The quadratic equation, of course, is long gone…
April love is for the very young.
Every star’s a wishing star that shines for you.
April love is all the seven wonders.
One little kiss will tell you that it’s true.
Sometimes an April day will suddenly bring showers,
Rain to grow the flowers for her first bouquet.
But April love can slip right through your fingers
So if she’s the one don’t let her run away.