Comforting Bee Gees Songs from Their Early Era
by Kristin Battestella
Often in tough times I turn to one of my most favorite of favorites all time ever, The Bee Gees! The Brothers Gibb catalog keeps on giving with superb harmonies, catchy hooks, and memorable melodies. Here, in chronological order rather than preferential listing as if I could possibly choose, are some soothing and moving songs from Barry, Robin, and Maurice's sixties start and early seventies incarnation.
To Love Somebody – Simply put, this is THEE most excellent place to start. Although live versions are a close second, the original 1967 First rendition is best, instantly recognizable with classic Summer of Love lyrics and a belting, emotional finale. It is impossible to dislike this song, and the budding musical genius is evident here.
I Can't See Nobody – Hearing Robin's range and vocals on this one the first time blew my mind. The sound here is quiet different, switching styles with unique ups and downs amid telling lyrics and heartbreak. When falling in or out of a relationship, the other person is everything, and the relatable hook will get stuck in your head thanks to rhythms echoing the in love heights. Wow.
And the Sun Will Shine – The mellow sounds begin slow as if Robin were here whispering in your ear, but the chills up your spine finish goes over the top amid lyrical trees, skies, love, and life. The impeccable, quivering delivery and nonsensical words ring true with universal ideas such as, “Love to me is life, and I live you.” The One Night Only live rendition may even top the original, with a strong, almost orgasmic intensity. I said what I said!
Massachusetts – The Bee Gees first number one hit is one of the few upbeat rather than psychedelic sounds on Horizontal, and it remains a delightful against type song. Today, the effortless melodic is even more pleasing with talk of home comforts, and this one is my father’s favorite.
I've Gotta Get a Message to You – This execution ode, however, is my favorite! Somehow, the moody downbeats and haunting story make me giddy every time I hear them. Another deftly woven mix of swaying music belying the layered melancholy with big notes to hit the finale home.
Let There Be Love – This single from Idea has a very orchestral musical and vocal arrangement, stirring with Barry’s crescendos before Robin's entry raises the, well, rousing. Even if you think this starts off slow, in the end, you too are down with the titular proclamation. Yes. Why not?
I Started a Joke – Today, Robin's quirky, enigmatic, relatable in what it doesn't say signature song would probably never top the charts. It's brooding, personal, and will sends shivers up your spine.
Words – I cried the first time I heard Barry's classic sweet nothings on Bee Gees Gold. Anyone who has ever been tongue tied or said the wrong words can never tire of Barry in his element.
My World – This single from Best of Volume 2 again plays with harmony and lyrical juxtaposition. The words are seemingly simple with few refrains. Yours, mine, ours – what else is there? However the vocal overlays and three-part complexity remain surprisingly serious in their build.
Lamplight – It's tough to pick one track from the Odessa concept album, and my mother thinks Robin's shipwreck creaking is like nails on a chalkboard. o_O Fortunately, the old fashioned story, strong chorus, and harmonious woe perfectly capture the album tone with pretty echoes and yearning thoughts.
Lonely Days – Enough with the pathos! When you need a little pick me up, nothing does it like this dual rocker. Again, the slow start and nonchalant lyrics suggest something else before the raw, toe tapping uptick. This is one of those songs people may have heard but don't know it is The Bee Gees, and the ode remains a symbolic turning point that's also awesome live.
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart – The Brothers themselves defined their early career as “Broken Heart Bee Gees” and this reunion ditty from Trafalgar is steadfast and quintessential. Barry and Robin poured their feelings into a soothing, harmonious song asking one of life’s biggest questions.
Birth to Brilliance – Even The Bee Gees were kids once! This compilation set is one of many gathering the Brothers' early Australian tracks – silly fifties romps, cover songs, and teenage originals. Some are laughably charming with their pip squeaks and simple rhymes while others are impressive odes of what was to come.
I've always been quite adamant about this era of the group, as when I was growing up, everyone – including myself – was over the disco everywhere fallout. So it was fascinating to rediscover the early Gibb sounds later as a teenager. Some of my earliest reviews were glowing Bee Gees critiques, and while those writings are probably very dated now, the music remains good for the soul.
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