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It’s awful to hear the news that Robin Gibb, one of the founding members of the Bee Gees, has died. Robin’s vocals were a key part of the group, which produced some of the most beautiful harmonies ever committed to record. The group’s influence on the world of music was immense. We all know their disco work, but they had been around for over a decade before “Jive Talkin’” ever hit the airwaves.
Here’s a list of their major songs and a few personal favorites. As with any list, if you ask me tomorrow, this will probably be very different. You can let us know your favorite songs in the comments section.
10. “This Is Where I Came In” - This Is Where I Came In, 2001
This Is Where I Came In was the group’s last album, recorded shortly before Maurice, Robin’s twin brother, died in 2003. The title track was also released as a single and features a fantastic groove that harkens back to their great mid-’60s records. Robin’s vocals here prove that he never lost his power to give an emotional performance.
9. “Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)” - Main Course, 1975
It’s really insane to think that a group of English-born, Australian-raised musicians charged the course of music history by making disco mainstream. Their three disco records, plus the songs on Saturday Night Fever, is one of the most stunning streaks of success in music history. “Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)” is just one of the three hits on Main Course, but is a favorite of mine. It’s a wonderful track, with that perfect blend of voices that was so unique to the group.
8. “Spicks and Specks” - Spicks and Specks, 1966
By the time they released Bee Gees’ 1st worldwide, the group already recorded two albums in Australia. “Spicks and Specks” was the single that gained international notice. It’s primarily a Barry-driven track, with the oldest brother taking lead vocals and is very primitive compared to their later work, but it’s still a great slice of pop.
7. “Massachusetts” - Horizontal, 1967
“Massachusetts” was the group’s first UK No. 1 single and is still one of the best-selling singles in the UK of all time. If this is the track that acted as an introduction to the group for some, they couldn’t have asked for a better intro. Robin’s vocal is perfect. I love it when they sing “And the lights, all went down in Massachusetts/The day I left her standing on her own.”
6. “Too Much Heaven” - Spirits Having Flown, 1979
Spirits Having Flown is such a fantastic record from top to bottom - especially from the top. The album’s first three tracks all reached No. 1 on Billboard. “Too Much Heaven” was written for UNICEF and was released a few months before the rest of the album. Still, it features the group’s massive overdubbing addiction (is that a thing?), which makes the three members of the group sound like a choir.
5. “Melody Fair” - Odessa, 1969
Odessa is the Bee Gees’ White Album, a double LP filled with tracks that cover so many genres it makes the mind boggle. It wasn’t as successful as the Beatles’ seminal album, but it features some fantastic tracks, including “Melody Fair.”
4. “Jive Talkin’” - Main Course, 1975
To me, “Jive Talkin’” is the Bee Gees telling the world, “Hey, we’re still here and we still write songs better than anyone else!” The track, which kicks off with that deep beat, was released after years of flops and suddenly made the group relevant again. It proved so popular that it was included on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack...even though it is never heard in the film!
3. “You Should Be Dancing” - Children of the World, 1976
“You Should Be Dancing” was in Saturday Night Fever after it was issued as a single and acted as the lead-off track to Children of the World. It features stunning vocals and amazing production. It’s hard not to want to get up and dance every time you hear it.
2. “Stayin’ Alive” - Saturday Night Fever, 1977
It’s not my favorite Bee Gees song, but people love it and it continues to get airtime decades since disco fell out of popularity. The video of the group walking to the song remains immortal. (The video I’ve included here has been viewed over 14 million times since the group’s label posted it in 2009.) It seems to encapsulate an entire genre in one song.
1. “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” - Trafalgar, 1971
Four minutes of perfection. It just doesn’t get any better than this. My favorite song by the group is either this or “To Love Somebody,” but I’ll pick this one for Robin’s amazing vocal on the first verse. The track slowly builds - it feels more like a march than a traditional song - with all three brothers coming together for the final verse.
“Saved By The Bell” - Robin’s Reign, 1970
Robin actually left the group in 1969, leaving Barry and Maurice to record an album by themselves. This track was the single from Robin’s album.