THE MEANING OF SONGSCollaborator: Stephan Koenig
|ALONE (1997) BARRY GIBB: What the song's really about is that little child inside. It's that abstract feeling we all have that no matter how close or how many relatives we have or how many people around us we love, we still feel alone. There's an aloneness about all of us. That "How do I, why is it always end up alone?" Well, I'm not alone, but I might feel alone, that no one really thinks the way I do. I guess that's because everybody's unique in their own way. We all do feel the same way about most things, but why is it that nobody feels the same way I do about everything? So you're alone. You have that feeling sometimes.|
|BARKER OF THE UFO (1967) |
MAURICE GIBB: Always with experimentation in mind, this was a fun time. The memories of this session will always be remembered. I loved the tuba and reverse cymbal effect.
|BLUE ISLAND (1993) |
BARRY GIBB: The other side, what we call heaven, in fact is blue and it's an island. And from there we are processed before we move on to our next reality. Good or bad, this is where we all end up. So we wrote 'Blue Island' and dedicated it for the children of Yugoslavia, because even though they may not survive, the hope is that they, as well as us, are all going to this beautiful place.
|BOOGIE CHILD (1976) |
MAURICE GIBB: From the CHILDREN OF THE WORLD album, recorded at Criteria Studios in North Miami. The days when we were discovering probably one of the finest studios in America. Thanks Mack
|CHARADE (1974) |
MAURICE GIBB: THE song for making love.
|COUNTRY WOMAN (1971) |
MAURICE GIBB: My country, or swamp music period. Really a warm up to much better songs. Johnny Cash, you have nothing to worry about.
|EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE (1976) |
BARRY GIBB: A humorous flight of fancy about an alien and his pet dog. Baffling really.
|ELISA (1972) |
MAURICE GIBB: One of the rare tracks recorded in L.A., CA that was briefly available as a B-side
|FANNY (BE TENDER WITH MY LOVE) (1975) |
MAURICE GIBB: Without a doubt one of the best best R&B songs we ever wrote. I love Arif Mardin's production and his understanding from three brothers who love Rhythm 'n'Blues. This one's for you Arif
|FIRST OF MAY (1969) |
BARRY GIBB: 'First of May,' that was my dog's birthday. When Linda and I first moved into an apartment near St Paul's Cathedral, we got ourselves a Pyranian mountain dog and named him Barnaby. The idea came from then. Sad to say, Barnaby's gone but the song lives on.
|HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART (1971) |
BARRY GIBB: Fifteen months after we broke up, Robin dropped into my place in Kensington. It was a cold, wet day and this song was born. We finished it with Mo, and the Bee Gees were reborn.
|HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE (1977) |
ROBIN GIBB: Personalities are examined in this tune, but female or male aren't even mentioned. It has universal connotations and it clicks with everyone. Before we cut the song we knew we could fuse some of our own personalities into the track. Love is the anchor, it's a foundation.
|I STARTED A JOKE (1968) |
ROBIN GIBB: The idea for the song came when I was sitting on a plane over Germany, and I heard a melody in the droning of the engine. As soon as I got on the ground that night I completed the song with Barry and Maurice. To me, that was a very spiritual song, about faith and survival in life. It wasn't a love song, it was one of the first songs we wrote about struggling to survive emotionally alone in the world.
You can read an interpretation of this song at Pat Wong's site.
|IF I CAN'T HAVE YOU (1977) |
MAURICE GIBB: Would you believe originally written for ABBA (Sweden's famous group) on the steps of the Chateau d'Herouville Studios in France.
|I'M WEEPING (1970) |
ROBIN GIBB: This is a song of mine I wrote on holiday in Madeira and as normal in my songs (I stick to a rule book!) I don’t mention the title I was thinking about my past.
|IMMORTALITY (1998) |
BARRY GIBB: It's about making your mark in life and doing something meaningful.
|I.O.I.O. (1969) |
MAURICE GIBB: Barry's African jaunt brought this song about; we finished it together in a small studio off Marble Arch in London. Fun times
|IRRESISTIBLE FORCE (1997) |
BARRY GIBB: An irresistible force meeting an immovable object. That is life, isn't it? That is really a way of saying that life just never really is a good, clear, luck-filled path. There's an obstacle at every turn. It's a like a fantastic video game. And there's always going to be an immovable object.
|I'VE GOTTA GET A MESSAGE TO YOU (1968) |
BARRY GIBB: It's about a person who is about to die. He's going to his death because he has committed a murder.
ROBIN GIBB: He is talking to a preacher and he wants to get a message to his girlfriend or wife that he is sorry and wants to apologise. He's killed a man who's been carrying on with his wife, and he wants to get a message to her before he dies.
|I WILL (1997) |
BARRY GIBB: This is a three-person song. A triangle is also a lot of fun to write about. If this person doesn't stand by you, then I will. I'll be there. And you can reject me, and that's okay. And I'll go away, but I'll come back because I don't believe the guy you love is really the right person for you. I believe am, and I'll come back if he disappears. I can take it. You can have a two-person song, three or four personalities which maybe you don't want to write about.
|JULIET (1983) |
ROBIN GIBB: The story is about a man really having his fantasies. It's a love fantasy and she doesn't really exist in the song.
ROBIN GIBB: This song went through quite a few changes before arriving at Juliet, one of them being HOUSE OF SHAME which is, in fact, the name of a new song featured on ONE. Juliet was an enormous hit all over Europe, and particularly in Germany, a country that has always given the Bee Gees massive support. If we do have a guardian angel, he's probably German.
|JUMBO (1968) |
BARRY GIBB: Mo playing the Beatles mellotron, a very experimental period. I think it's about a child's fantasy elephant, but when I listen again there are some very phallic overtones.
|LONELY DAYS (1970) |
MAURICE GIBB: I started playing the piano and the three of us began to create out first number one in America. The same night we recorded HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART, our second number one-thank you America.
|MASSACHUSETTS (1967) |
BARRY GIBB: It's basically antiflower power... Don't go to San Francisco, come home... We wanted to write the opposite of what it's like to lose somebody who went to San Francisco. The lights all went out in Massachusetts because everybody went to San Francisco, because they left.
ROBIN GIBB: It is not talking about people going back to Massachusetts. It represents all the people who want to go back to somewhere or something. It is all about people who want to escape.
|MELODY FAIR (1971) |
MAURICE GIBB: From the Motion Picture MELODY, or S.W.A.L.K., David Putnam's first film. He used a lot of our early singles. A lovely movie based on kids falling in love for the first time. This is, I think, one of our best productions in simplicity and warmth.
|MORE THAN A WOMAN (1977) |
MAURICE GIBB: This is a song we wrote with unimaginable results. Tavares had a big hit with it. One of the songs that made SNF such a success, and when the whole world was dancing.
|MY THING (1969) |
A song dedicated to Maurice's Pyrenean mountain dog Aston.
|NEW YORK MINING DISASTER 1941 (1967) |
BARRY GIBB: It's about some people trapped in a mine. The song itself was really about the Aberfan mining disaster in Wales, killing over two hundred children. Quite sad really.
ROBIN GIBB: It was written at Polydor Records on a staircase.
BARRY GIBB: We couldn't see each other. We were just sitting in the dark and that's where the idea sprang from. What would it be like trapped in a mine and you can't see each other.
|ON TIME (1971) |
MAURICE GIBB: A song I wrote in '71 in Maryland, US during my Swamp period, also used in a film score I did called A BREED APART
|ORDINARY LIVES (1989) |
BARRY GIBB: It's a reflection about ourselves before we became famous –our way of saying we're just ordinary people. The lines 'Say goodbye cruel world / No pity no gain tonight / Whatever the cost all is lost' is also a reflection on Andy... that's what he did.
ROBIN GIBB: Even if unintentionally.
MAURICE GIBB: He was just an ordinary guy, really.
BARRY GIBB: Losing a member of the family who was that close changes you spiritually. A lot of the album [One] results from this new insight. You can find sentences here and there throughout the album that apply to Andy. 'Goodbye cruel world,' again, can mean how cruel the world can be when you're not doing well, especially in this business. You go two years without a hit, and they can treat you like you never had one to begin with. No one wanted to talk about Orbison for ten years before his induction into the Hall of Fame and the Wilburys. Of course, the thing's happened to us -- three times.
|PAYING THE PRICE OF LOVE (1993) |
BARRY GIBB: It's about a wonderful relationship that's gone wrong, and the person singing the song is, as always, paying the price... the person who's most in love.
|PORTRAIT OF LOUISE (1970) |
BARRY GIBB: I wrote this one. It’s simply a song about love, but the title doesn’t come into the words at all. The idea of the words is that if you fall in love with a woman, you’re not interested in what she’s been. Musically it’s a slight tribute to the Searchers, not a take off, just a tribute. They had some beautiful sounds.
|RAILROAD (1969) |
MAURICE GIBB: My first and last attempt at going solo. Without my brothers, ANTICLIMATIC.
|SAVED BY THE BELL (1969) |
ROBIN GIBB: It was a song about sacrifice, about really giving yourself to somebody, almost completely. The relationship was about to come to an end and he was rescued by his own awareness on whether the relationship is working, or by the other person, and you hear that line, 'Saved by the bell'
|SINCERE RELATION (1970) |
ROBIN GIBB: This song includes harpsichord, and is my tribute to my late father in law George Hullis, who was 60 when he died unexpectedly a while ago. He spent the last three days of his life in my house, and he told me he was going to die.
|SINKING SHIPS (1968)|
MAURICE GIBB: Bill Shepherd (our arranger and master of the orchestra in the late '60s and early '70s) once said to me "Let's build it beautifully", and he did. Bill, we will never forget you.
|SIR GEOFFREY SAVED THE WORLD (1967) |
MAURICE GIBB: One of my favourite bass lines and obvious Beatles influences here; but, what the hell, they were great songwriters and we loved what they did.
|SMOKE AND MIRRORS (1995) |
BARRY GIBB: I think this is a really important statement. The world of illusion, the idea that none of us are really what we seem to be. All of these songs are not just songs as such. There's a lot of examination of yourself in these songs. We write from life observation. So, we'll go away and just observe the culture. And just for me, the one phrase that epitomizes the whole of last year  is 'Smoke & Mirrors.' The way we sort of sit and around and talk about, 'What do we do about starvation in Zaire?' We all sit down and talk. And you see all these people around big tables talking about starvation in Zaire instead of actually doing something. And meanwhile, thousands more children have died within the last hour, and no one really gives it that kind of level of thought. To me, that's the way this last year has been on a world level. You observe the culture, you take it in and things ferment and ideas come from that. And I kept hearing this phrase all year, and that is really how life is today, it's all smoke and mirrors. That's what the song is.
|STAYIN' ALIVE (1977) |
BARRY GIBB: Everybody struggles against the world, fighting all the bullshit and things that can drag you down. And it really is a victory just to survive.
ROBIN GIBB: The lyrics state the scenario of survival in the city.
|THE FIRST MISTAKE I MADE (1970) |
BARRY GIBB: This is one I wrote and sung. It features a hook a lot of people play on, but it’s a natural commercial hook. It’s the story of somebody who’s gone through life and never knew his mother and father ... and how everything he did in his life was the first mistake he made.
|THIS IS WHERE I CAME IN (2001) |
BARRY GIBB: The title is a sardonic remark about ourselves. It's our way of saying that nothing ever really changes. It's very honest and it reflects our feelings about everything that's happened to us in the past 30 years.
MAURICE GIBB: It's just the simplicity of it that I love. The guitars were used on it are very old guitars - two of the guitars I used belonged to The Beatles. It just came out that way.
|TOMORROW TOMORROW (1969) |
MAURICE GIBB: As always thinking ahead, this was the first track that Barry and I recorded as a duet. Another great arrangement by Bill Shepherd
|TOO MUCH HEAVEN (1978) |
ROBIN GIBB: The starving children of the world was the genesis of this song. 1979, early in the evolution of music charity efforts, we donated this one to Unicef and its worldwide work which we felt strongly about.
'I can see a new tomorrow' does demonstrate a positive aspect about moving forward, even though bad things do happen.
|TRAFALGAR (1971) |
MAURICE GIBB: It's a song about a very lonely guy who lives in London and spends a lot of his time feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
|WEDDING DAY (2001) |
BARRY GIBB: That was one of our titles, and we thought, let's write a song about people getting married... Nobody really does that anymore, and I thought it would be nice to have a nice song on the album so that everyone may sing it or any couple may dance to it on their wedding day.
|WISH YOU WERE HERE (1988) |
BARRY GIBB: A song written for Andy, unconciously, a week after he died.
ROBIN GIBB: It happened naturally. We didn't want anything artificial with a title like 'Andy's Song'.
MAURICE GIBB: It's something that everybody can identify with. We came up with the title at a hotel, sort of like a belated postcard 'wishing you were here.' We realized we were writing about Andy without having thought about it.
|WITH MY EYES CLOSED (1997) |
BARRY GIBB: The song is basically about love at great distance. When you can't be with the person you love. And you want to tell them, and you want to send a message. When I was a kid, I would lie in bed at night, and I had a crush on this girl, and I would talk to her going to sleep. I would always make believe that she could hear what I was saying. And she used to say the same thing to me. So that little thing, that little relationship that I had when I was fourteen years old has always sort of stuck with me. I guess we all did that, you know, the first time you fall in love. But to me, that's what the song means. I can touch you. You don't have to be bad. Sex isn't just it. There's all kinds of feelings. [reciting the lyrics] 'I can touch you with my eyes closed. I can feel you when you're near me. I can see you with my eyes closed. I can touch you with my hands tied' And all of those feelings are really what goes through your head when you're really in love, and the person you love is very far away.
|WORLD (1967) |
BARRY GIBB: It goes 'Now I've found that the world is round and of course it rains everyday.' What we are saying is that you can't live in your own little world, because somewhere there's trouble -rain- and you must face up to it. It may be sun, flowers and beauty in England today, but it's rain and misery somewhere else. It's always raining somewhere in the world for somebody.
MAURICE GIBB: A song we recorded in '67. Vivid memories of Robin's great performance on the organ, and me playing a very compressed piano (which we also used on WORDS). A big thank you to Mike Clayton, our engineer, for helping us in the making of this epic
|WORDS (1968) |
ROBIN GIBB: It reflects a mood. It was written after an argument. Barry had been arguing with someone, I had been arguing with someone and happened to be in the same mood. The arguments were about absolutely nothing. They were just words. That is what the song is all about, words can make you happy or words can make you sad.
|YOU SHOULD BE DANCING (1976) |
BARRY GIBB: You can't take songs like this too seriously. It was actually a very exhilarating time, settling in Miami. We had a great band and this song came from that feeling.