Few musical performers have had the good fortune to accomplish so, much less twice. But the Bee Gees managed to reinvent themselves by shifting to disco and advancing a completely new genre, in addition to cementing their status as folk/rock/pop sensations.
Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, brothers, are responsible for some of modern music’s most instantly identifiable voices because of their incredibly precise, three-part harmonies. While many people would link the Bee Gees with a certain time period, the greatest of their extensive catalog features a variety of elements, including captivating narrative, upbeat funkiness, eerie harmonies, and more. Here are 10 Bee Gees tracks that showcase their diverse musical style and worldview.
10. Bee Gees – “Too Much Heaven”
Too Much Heaven has a faint resemblance to the ultra-soft soul of the Chi-Lites and the Stylistics. The effects are astounding, despite the fact that it was a rather uncool influence to flaunt in 1978 as that sound had long since lost its commercial cachet. While the brother band’s R&B influences were more apparent on “Too Much Heaven,” the song is also noteworthy because the group pledged to give all proceeds from it to UNICEF, also known as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. The band was acknowledged by then-President Jimmy Carter and helped raise more than $7 million for charity thanks to the calming song.
9. Bee Gees – “Massachusetts”
The lyrics, albeit simple and laid-back by Bee Gees song standards, dealt with a hippy who tried to hitch to San Francisco but only made it as far as New England.
The Bee Gees’ song “Massachusetts” expressed the hippy generation’s disapproval of California as their intended final destination. Here, the song’s protagonist had traveled to San Francisco after joining the flower-power movement, but despite the fact that “the lights all went down in Massachusetts,” she yearned to go back to the East Coast.
8. Bee Gees – “Night Fever”
The words of Night Fever’s verses, which are almost unintelligible on record, are excellent and wonderfully capture the feeling of anticipation before a night out. The music is mesmerizing, with dramatic, pleading lyrics and a happy chorus. A work of art. The band believed the title was bad and changed it to reflect the concept of their song “Night Fever.” It was originally titled Saturday Night. With the aid of this Hot 100 No. 1 song, string synthesizers with orchestral influences turned into a disco period mainstay.
7. Bee Gees – “New York Mining Disaster 1941”
The Bee Gees’ first UK success, according to a malicious rumor, was covertly created by the Beatles. The richness of the music and the northern accents make it clear why. But the Beatles never made a song this depressing, which was inspired by both the Aberfan tragedy and a power outage that prevented the Gibb brothers from harmonizing in the light. Since “New York Mining Disaster 1941” was one of the Bee Gees’ first international successes in 1967, it served as many Americans’ first exposure to the group. The brothers’ talent for vivid, multidimensional storytelling was highlighted by the song’s tendency to grow slower as it progresses, possibly signifying that the miners talking to one another in the title disaster have less and less hope (or oxygen) available to them. The sound was heavily influenced by The Beatles, leading many radio listeners to mistake it for The Beatles.
6. Bee Gees – “How Deep Is Your Love”
Popular Bee Gee classic has been covered by a number of artists over the years, including Luther Vandross, Sia, Michael Bublé, Kelly Rowland, PJ Morton, and Take That. Nearly two decades after its initial release, Take That’s version of the song reached No. 1 in the UK. It’s not surprising why: Its melodies and swaying vibe stood out strongly in contrast to the disco and dance music on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Even Barry Gibb admitted to Billboard that his favorite Bee Gees song is “How Deep Is Your Love,” ranking it first.
5. Bee Gees – “Words”
More than 150 copies of Words’ timeless song have been produced, including renditions by Boyzone, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Terry Wogan, and Terry Wogan—but not all of them together. Words’ song is bulletproof, and Barry’s incredible singing is alternately fragile and tortured. The band’s early, moving hit from the late 1960s showcases their preference for lyrically relevant, poetic material.
4. Bee Gees – “Tragedy”
This Bee Gees song used unexpected, unusual vocal and production elements and still managed to become a Hot 100 No. 1 hit. Examples include the slightly psychedelic sound, Barry’s elongated belts, and a lightning crack that was famously created by the band’s lead singer cupping his hands over the microphone and simulating thunder. The men were undeniably hitmakers, even when they were at their most inventive.
3. Bee Gees – “Stayin Alive”
“Stayin’ Alive” is an empowering song as well as a disco standard because to its upbeat funky vibe. “Stayin’ Alive,” which was written for Saturday Night Fever, is one of the all-time greatest modern movie songs and a song to commemorate overcoming adversity.
The bore’s version of events, which claims that the Bee Gees were arriviste opportunists who destroyed disco by their ubiquity, misses how extraordinarily gifted the Gibbs were at creating disco; the songs they made for Saturday Night Fever novelty recordings are by no means among their best work.
The opening riff of Stayin’ Alive, as described by Barry, is perfect. The relentless looped drum track, the lyrics about “desperation,” which hide a stew of toxic, damaged machismo and urban blight beneath the hooks, and the lyrics themselves are all perfect. It is utterly contemporary while also being ageless.
2. Bee Gees – “I’ve Got to Get a Message to You”
This 1968 song is the greatest representation of the Bee Gees’ outstanding narrative technique. narrating a tale about a guy on death row who is ready to meet his end and begs someone (his executioner? his security guard? his lawyer?) to send a letter to his beloved before he passes away. Even though it may seem depressing, the brothers’ harmonies transform the song’s dark subject matter into something sweet and eerily uplifting.
1. Bee Gees – “You Should Be Dancing”
Every type of music enthusiast will enjoy the masterpiece that gave The Bee Gees their big break into disco. “You Should Be Dancing” has an irresistible rhythm at its heart that has remained current over the years. However, this Bee Gees song stands out for incorporating aspects of the band’s earlier sounds while taking them in an intriguing new way. This song is a timeless classic that survived Saturday Night Fever, the whole disco period, and still thrives in music history today. It has ominous and echoing harmonies, bursts of strong electric guitar chords, energetic horn blasts, and that unmistakable chorus.