by Kristin Battestella
A year after Number Ones was released, Barry and Robin followed up with Love Songs, another compilation set from Universal. Oddly enough I received this album for Valentines Day from my honey. Not as heavily promoted as Number Ones, I was even confused about the release date. October? November? Love Songs’ packaging even has a rushed feel to it. The flowery artwork is dandy, but the credits inside leave much to the imagination. Universal should have given more love to Love Songs.
When I first bought Number Ones, the one song most notably absent to me was To Love Somebody. The 1967 hit from First is rectified here of course. I mean, we know it’s chronological order, but To Love Somebody is THE place to start if you want love songs.
Words is a repeat from Number Ones, but you can’t not have Barry’s sweet nothings here. It’s nice to hear the original again after a few remakes and updates. Classic.
I’m not exactly sure how First Of May found its way here. I thought it was about Barry’s dog? I hope May’s placement here wasn’t just a Barry versus Robin jab, since this is the Odessa song that killed the group briefly. But it is pretty!
Love Songs picks up the pace with Lonely Days. Not necessarily a traditional love song, I’m sure there are some woman out there who just can’t get enough of three men admitting how lost they’d be without their women. Besides, you need a song to sing a long to.
Also repeated from Number Ones, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart and How Deep is Your Love’s placement here is really un-arguable. Perhaps the number one and number two questions in the universe, and they are both posed by The Brothers Gibb.
My second beef with Number Ones was the exclusion of More Than A Woman, which we find here on Love Songs instead. As much as I love More Than a Woman, I do feel it should have been placed on Number Ones, not Love Songs. Many deserving Brothers Gibb love songs are not here because several other tracks from Number Ones are repeated. A Famous tune like Nights On Broadway, Fanny, or Love Me might have served Love better. I could just go on! I Can’t See Nobody, My World, Run to Me anyone?
The Bee Gees version of Our Love Don’t Throw it All Away was first released on the Greatest album, but the song is more famous via Andy’s rendition. This love lost song can be a tear jerker if you’re in the right mood. Barbra even did a soft and sappy version for Guilty Pleasures. Sweet stuff.
Sometimes you simply can’t go wrong, like with Emotion, for example. This rerecord by the boys showcases their songwriting solidity and yet also tips the hat to the song’s flexibility, like it’s original rendition by Samantha Sang.
Too Much Heaven is another baby soft monster of the Bee Gees catalogue that cannot be ignored. There’s nothing like harmony to melt a woman’s heart.
I’m so glad Heartbreaker and Islands In The Stream get their due here. Originally recorded by Dionne Warwick and Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, respectively, these Gibb updates showcase the Brothers’ songwriting talents and importance to the music industry. Oh yes, they were important, and the versions here are spiffy, too.
Juliet is here to represent Robin’s solo career, and I suspect to balance First of May. This high pitched eighties diddy hails from How Old Are You, Robin’s 82 solo venture that’s full of quirky loves songs. Juliet is the best of that lot.
My one beef with Secret Love has always been that it’s on the short side. One of the few bright spots from High Civilization, the boys present a naughty motownesque tune that gets you thinking happy thoughts. Although one could argue The Only Love also belongs here, but I think we should just make a Love Songs Part Two or such for all the excluded Gibby Love tunes.
I think I’m wrong but wasn’t For Whom The Bell Tolls a European number one? In that case it’s on the wrong album, but I digress. This power ballad from Size Isn’t Everything is lucky it found its way here. This later day gem proves my theory that age and time have no effect on the boys musically. I do also believe that Size’s Heart Like Mine was on European releases of Love Songs.
I’ve never really thought of Closer Than Close as a love song, but Maurice’s kinky track from Still Waters deserves a spot here, in honor of Mo if nothing else. I Could Not Love You More is the real power ballad from Still Waters but both represent the modern ballad style of the boys, and I love it!
Love Songs closes fittingly with Wedding Day. Barry and Robin debated over releasing this song as the second single off This Is Where I Came In, but nothing became of it. The best Bee Gees song of the new century, Wedding Day shows how far the brothers have come as songwriters and men. Gone are the sappy woe is my love diddys. Wedding Day represents that kind of love you just know.
An oddity called Lovers and Friends also appeared on foreign releases of Love Songs, but it is Ronan Keating singing lead. Boo. I haven‘t heard the tune, since I don‘t care much for Ronan Keating, whoever he is.Although I would have liked more variety on the track list, Love Songs still showcases the mojo of The Brothers Gibb and is the perfect gift for anyone special to you. Oh baby!