Is there a group that has a stronger love/hate relationship than the Bee Gees? One of the top 10 biggest selling artists, they had 9 number 1 hits and it rises to 12 if you count the 3 that Barry Gibb wrote for brother Andy. I happen to love the group and I am including the Andy songs here, as I feel like they are of the same world.
1. Nights on Broadway– This song rocks, while being funky too. It has different tonal shifts and gives a clue into the disco future that will be the band’s greatest commercial success.
2. Jive Talkin’- Another tasty, funk number from their Main Course record. As good as any Philly soul record, this was the first single to show the change from the Beatles-like pop group they had been.
3. How Deep Is Your Love- Perfect 70’s balladry. Listen to this song’s harmonies and you will hear why Brian Wilson inducted the 3 brothers into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
4. I Want to Be Your Everything (Andy Gibb)- Written by brother Barry, this song set a Billboard record for weeks staying in the Top 10. It was the number 2 record of 1977.
5. Stayin’ Alive- Like it or not…this is where Disco exploded. Hard to hear this song and not visualize John Travolta walking the streets to the crusher bass/drum beat.
6. Fanny (Be Tender)- Like some Jackie Wilson on helium, the song continues to build steam until it’s reaching operatic impact.
7. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart- This song would be higher on the list, but after you hear Al Green sing it, the song loses some of it’s power by the original authors.
8. Lonely Days- This 1970 release came from the same album as Broken Heart above. For those that only know the Bee Gees as a disco band, listen to this one and see the George Martin like production and the John Lennon-influence.
9. (Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away (Andy Gibb)- The truth be told is that Andy had the best range of any of the Bee Gee brothers. Very underrated song.
10. This is Where I Come In- From their last album in 2000, it shows the band back to it’s a folk-rock roots from the 60’s, but with modern production. A real gem.
11. Boogie Child- Never understood why this wasn’t a hit. Funky in a Hot Chocolate meets Wild Cherry style.
12. Time is Time (Andy Gibb)- This is another I don’t understand wasn’t a smash hit. Best Gibb brother harmonies on any song of the 70’s, as the call and response it is hypnotic.
13. Love You Inside Out- Ok the Falsettos are a bit too much at moments, but the slow groove is sexy and the lyrics are as boastful as Prince.
14. To Love Somebody- 60’s Bee Gees, as the group finds itself as the Australian Righteous Brothers.
15. Massachusetts- Another 60’s release that uses their trademark harmonies and strings to make for a near perfect pop song.
16. Love is Thicker than Water (Andy Gibb) The most 70’s rock sounding of any of the Gibb songs, as it could be on an America record. Another Number 1 song right out of the gate for Andy.
17. Shadow Dancing (Andy Gibb)- The funkiest Andy song. The chorus is pure Bee Gees. I like a lot of the Andy songs better, as his older brothers got so much into disco fever I don’t think the music holds up as well.
18. Love So Right- Gospel flavored ballad, as the falsetto is higher than even Eddie Kendricks. This one is oft-forgotten classic of the groups.
19. One- The lone 80’s hit and it demonstrates that their great harmonies can fit any decade.
20. An Everlasting Love (Andy Gibb)- Schmaltzy lyrics, but damn if the song isn’t catchy as an ocean breeze. (Not sure that metaphor works, but it is what my fingers pounded out.)
Postnote: Night Fever/You Should Be Dancing/More than a Woman- You might have noticed that I don’t have their pure disco songs rated very highly. Saturday Night Fever was a phenomenon, but at the age of 11 they were a non-stop headache to me after just a few weeks. Besides Stayin Alive, I thought the Trammps and Taveras songs were superior to these. They are hooky as hell…as in they are hooky and probably are played on a non-stop loop in hell.