Musicians store

Barry Gibb: 13 Essential Tracks (Rolling Stone magazine response)

This list is a response to the rolling stones article here

Barry Gibb is one of the greatest songwriters in pop music compared only to Lennon/McCartney. I find the Rolling Stones list interesting even though it has many unconventional picks. Here is mine which is different.

I tried to avoid songs that Barry and Robbin shared the vocals so that's why you dont see songs like how can you mend a broken heart or alone.




1) Words (1968) : Words is a beautiful ballad with a feel of melancholy written as his brother Robin recalls after an argument Barry had with someone.  A very manageable ballad that makes a great live number. It isnt a coincidence that it's the only bee gee song that Elvis Presley covered.


2) Jive Talkin' (1975) : That's when the bee gees moved into their disco era, their music became more funky more grooving and what distincted them from the other bands. The song's rhythm was modeled after the sound their car made crossing the Julia Tuttle Causeway each day from Biscayne Bay to Criteria Studios in Miami . You can hear the  rhythm that inspired the rest of the song  from the very beginning of it ,Barry starts strumming his guitar to the rhythm while muting his guitar strings. This scratchy guitar intro by Barry followed by the funky bass line provided byMaurice Gibb sets you on a grooving mood.




3) You Should Be Dancing (1976) : You should be dancing is the opening track from the Bee Gees 'children of the world' album. It's probably the first song where Barry used his trademark falsetto in that extent. Who can forgets John Travolta setting fire on the dance floor in this classic scene from the Saturday Night Fever movie, a movie which turned him into a pop idol in the late 70's and led a whole generation to the dance floors.


4) More Than a Woman (1977) : Even though the bee gees did not release this song as a single (though in Italy it peaked at No. 4 in September 1978), yet it has remained a staple on radio and one of their best known songs. The song can be taken as a ballad and as a dance song which is kind of unique, a disco ballad i'd call it. The song can be found in the Saturday Night movie soundtrack which includes 2 versions of the songs, one by the Bee Gees and one by Tavares.


5) I Just Want to Be Your Everything (1977) : Barry gave this song to his brother Andy and he perfectly sang it making  it a number 1 hit. The song enjoyed one of the longest Top 40 runs in the Billboard Hot 100 to that time, its 23-week run spanned from the end of May through the end of October. Just one of the many great songs he has written for him.



 6) How Deep Is Your Love (1977) : How deep is your love is another song written by Barry and still remains the most covered bee gees song. It's one of the greatest love songs ever written. Barry himself said that it's one of the  songs he is most proud of writing it and a personal favorite.



7) Stayin' Alive (1977) : What to say for this song everybody knows it, it epitomized the disco era, even though it's so overplayered it still manage to excites you. I am sure that thousands of people when they first listened it thought  they were some black women on the vocals, well obviously they were not it's Barry on falsetto and when the song goes from the high pitch voice to the regular manly voice it's again Barry. Also the lyrics are usually overlooked but it's surely something it's worth noticing it too.


8) Too Much Heaven (1978) : Another popular song that must be on the list of Barry's essential tracks. The single "Too Much Heaven" was released in the late autumn of 1978 and the bee gees decided to let all the publishing royalties  go into UNICEF. The song earned over $7 million in publishing royalties. Then-United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim heralded the move as "an outstanding and generous initiative."  Barry Gibb noted that the group wanted to "move in an R&B direction, still maintaining their lyric power, and their melody power as well. Truly a very beautiful song.


9) Tragedy (1979) : Tragedy was featured in the multi million ''spirits having flown'' album. A really powerful song  sang in falsetto by Barry. It captures you not only by it's haunting sound but for it's poetic lyrics too. Before the chorus you can hear a sound of explosion and then Barry goes singing TRAGEDY.... In 1979, NBC aired The Bee Gees Special showed how the sound effect for the explosion was created. Barry cupped his hands over a microphone and made an exploding sound. Several of these sounds were then mixed together creating one large boom heard on the record. Here you can see the Bee Gees in the process of making it .



10) Guilty (1980) : Guilty is the opening track from Barbara's Streisand album with the same name. Barbara Streisand one of the most sold female singers of all time had her best selling album fully produced by Barry, in the song guilty they do a memorable duet together. Other popular songs from the album are woman in love and what kind of fool.


 11) Islands in the Stream (1983) : Islands in the stream was voted as the best country song duet, and no wonder why, Bee gees released their version later too which is as great as this. A great offer from Barry and his brothers.



12) Chain Reaction (1985) : Chain reaction  was a number 1 hit for Dianna and it was featured in her album ''Eaten Alive''  an album that was primarily produced by Barry, this tune stands-out and it proves one more time that Barry is really a lady's man. Funny thing is that they didnt think that Diana would accept to sing this since the song reminded so much the 'Supremes'.


13) You Win Again (1987) : ''You Win Again'' is one of my absolute favorites songs by the Bee Gees. Even if the song was ignored in the USA as many American DJs were still reluctant to play any Bee Gees music due to the disco backlash of the early 1980s and reached only at 75 in the charts it went great in Europe and topped number 1 in many countries. Brian May of the ''Queen''  praised the song as one of the greatest songs of the 80s. One of the greatest things about this song is the drum rhythm.

No comments:

Post a Comment