Musical Monday: The Bee Gees

The past year or so I’ve been mining the list of artists I’ve seen more than once but now I’m going to turn to those artists I wish I’d seen live. Sadly most are no longer with us. 

Today I’m regretting not having seen the Bee Gees who’ve previously featured in Song Lyric Sunday. They were a singing trio of brothers—Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. Born on the Isle of Man to English parents, they were raised in Brisbane, Australia, where they began their musical careers, achieving worldwide fame after they returned to England and began working with producer Robert Stigwood in 1967.

The multiple award-winning group was successful for most of its 40 years of recording music, but it had two distinct periods of exceptional success: As a harmonic “soft rock” act in the late 1960s and early 70s, and as the foremost stars of the disco era in the late 70s.Their album, Saturday Night Fever, is the best selling soundtrack album of all time.

During this era, Barry also wrote the title song to the movie version of the Broadway musical Grease for Frankie Valli, which went to number one. At one time, five songs written by the brothers Gibb were in the US top ten at the same time. It was the first time this kind of chart dominance had been seen since the Beatles had all five of the top five American singles slots.

Around this time, the Bee Gees’ younger brother Andy followed his older siblings into a music career and enjoyed considerable success. Produced by Barry, Andy Gibb’s first three singles all topped the U.S. charts.

In 1978, Barry Gibb became the only songwriter to have four straight number one hits in the U.S., breaking the John Lennon and Paul McCartney 1964 record.

The Bee Gees’ follow-up to Saturday Night Fever was the Spirits Having Flown album. It yielded three more number one hits: This gave the act six consecutive number one singles in America within a year and a half, a record surpassed only by Whitney Houston.

The Bee Gees’ overwhelming success rose and fell with the disco bubble. By the end of 1979, disco was rapidly declining in popularity, and the backlash against disco put the Bee Gees’ American career in a tailspin. Following their remarkable run from 1975–79, the act would have only one more top ten single in the US.The group’s international popularity sustained somewhat less damage.

The Bee Gees’s name was retired after Maurice died in January 2003. They were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, when they were honored with a citation which stated: “Only Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees.”

The Bee Gees have been incredibly successful, selling in excess of 220 million records and singles worldwide. How Deep Is Your Love is their most popular composition, with over 400 versions by other artists in existence.

Songs written by the Bee Gees, but better known through versions by other artists include the following titles: “Immortality” by Celine Dion, “If I Can’t Have You” by Yvonne Elliman, “Chain Reaction” by Diana Ross, “Spicks and Specks” by Status Quo, “Emotion” by Samantha Sang and by Destiny’s Child, “Come On Over” by Olivia Newton-John, “Warm Ride” by Graham Bonnet and by Rare Earth, “Guilty” and “Woman in Love” by Barbra Streisand, “Heartbreaker” by Dionne Warwick, “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, “Grease” by Frankie Valli, and “Only One Woman” by The Marbles.


16 Comments on “Musical Monday: The Bee Gees

  1. The BeeGees, the band who was right by my side through my teenage years. I still smile when I listen to their music. The harmonies, the melodies …all of it is part of me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Musical Monday: The Bee Gees – MobsterTiger

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