Day’s death was announced yesterday: the showbiz legend passed away at the age of 97 following a short illness.
Now, May has written articulately on Instagram about why he once named her his all-time favourite singer.
The musician revealed that he never met Day in person, praising her performance skill sand her “warmth”.
He wrote: “I had a lot to think about today. But this wonderful lady was in my mind all day, even when my thoughts were turbulent.
“I loved DORIS DAY. Never met her – so often dreamed about it – especially when I discovered her work in her animal sanctuary. But never did.
“Sadly? Yes, but in a way I’m glad I never bothered her.
“But I always held Doris in my heart as the perfect singer – all warmth, always smiling, yet smouldering beneath. That voice!!!
“Tender and soft and inviting, yet ready burst into joyous overdrive as she poured her heart into the big moments.”
He continued: “She wasn’t my generation, of course. She was of my parents’ generation, and a lot of people raised their eyebrows when I named her as my favourite singer when we were first asked this kind of question around 1970.
“‘Doris Day?! She’s not a rock singer!’ No – of course not. But listen to Secret Love – my all time favourite.
“Listen to the beauty of those tones, and feel the passion in that performance.
“And remember that in those days there was no ProTools. This would be a single take.
“Her accuracy is sensational – she must be one of the most perfectly-in-tune singers in history.
“But that’s only the beginning. She doesn’t mess with the melody, or decorate it to show off.
“She tells the story – sings it from the heart, and all kinds of tiny curves and variations portray the emotion she feels.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve eulogised about Doris, but this, of course, is a special time. So many people who loved her will miss her.
“But, for me, seeing her peacefully depart the world at the age of 97, having followed her heart all the way, I just rejoice in her beauty and splendour, and thank her. And send her love on her next journey. RIP Doris Day. Bri.”
Among other tributes to Day, Goldie Hawn said: “The great Doris Day left us and took a piece of the sun with her.
“She brighten our lives and lived out her life with dignity. May she rest peacefully.”
William Shatner tweeted: “Condolences to the family of Doris Day. She was the World’s Sweetheart and beloved by all. Que Será, Será!”
Day had a phenomenally successful career in film, music and television.
Although she retired from the public eye in her later years, she broke a record in 2011 when – at 89 – she became the oldest artist ever to score a UK Top 10 album with an album of previously unreleased material.