Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Bee Gees

Throughout their career, there was always talk of the “new” Beatles, whether a band that sounded like them or would take over the reigns. Some bands like the Dave Clark Five took that British invasion sound and ran with it, often being confused with the Fab Four. The Dave Clark Five actually dethroned the Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand” from the top spot with their hit, “Glad All Over. Other hits of the DC5 include “Because,” the rockin’ “Do You Love Me” and “Catch Us If You Can.But despite their popularity, they were not the next Beatles. Indeed the next Beatles was a thing throughout the sixties and into the 70s, indeed, bands like Badfinger and Klaatu we’re often mistaken for the Beatles. And in the 80s you couldn’t get more Beatle-sequel than Tears for Fears “The Seeds of Love” and artists like the Smashing Pumpkins. Today, Andrew McMahon and Death Cab For Cutie have an obvious Beatles influence. Death Cab’s name even comes from a song sung in a strip club in the Magical Mystery Tour film.

Of course, today, when we think of the Bee Gees, we think of “Stayin’ Alive” and “How Deep is Your Love,” the disco-centric Giorgio Moroder Bee Gees and not the ones who often could be confused for the Beatles.

The Bee Gees First came out in 1966 but was actually their third LP, the first two only released in Australia and New Zealand. The Bee Gees First had one of my all-time favorites, “Holiday” as well as “To Love Somebody.” it’s an LP that is often overlooked and shouldn’t be. On Horizontal, they folded up with Massachusetts and, recorded, during those sessions, the worldwide smash, “Words.” Idea would likewise have two stellar hits in “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” and “I Started a Joke.” By 1969, 50 years ago, the Bee Gees' popularity gave them the opportunity, like the Beatles, to flex their muscle in the studio.

Sgt. Pepper had ushered in the new rock era in which concepts and album-oriented rock would give record labels the confidence to allow The Bee Gees free range with their lavish concept LP, Odessa, as over the top it is, conceptually, orchestrally and even visually. The LP came wrapped in a red velvet gatefold with gold lettering. The lavish artwork was abandoned halfway through initial production because of the allergic reaction it was causing at the printing plant. Today, in mint condition, it’s a rare collectible. Pick one up if you can.  While a fun conceptual excursion aboard a lost ship in the 19th century, the recording session would essentially bring an end to the original band, Robin Gibbs and guitarist Vince Melouney would quit the Bee Gees when the recording sessions ended. The LP has been reconsidered in modern times and is among those 1000 LPs to hear before you die.

A newly revitalized Bee Gees would emerge a few years later and hits like “Run to Me,” “Lonely Days” and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” would serve as The Bee Gees round two. Round three, of course, would establish The Bee Gees as the guiding musical force of the disco era, with monster hits like “Stayin’ Alive,” “Nights on Broadway,” “Jive Talkin’” and “You Should Be Dancin’.” When all was said and done, The Bee Gees emerge as the most successful British Band behind the Beatles and Pink Floyd.

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