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Bee Gees Album: Bee Gees’ 1st Year

Artist: Bee Gees Album: Bee Gees’ 1st Year: 1967 by Joe Jamnitzky November 2012

Anytime the Bee Gees are brought up, the first thing that comes to the mind of the general public is disco. Considering their arguably greatest dose of superstardom came as a result of one of the most hated music genres in recent history, people tend to cringe just at hearing their name.

This is a bit unfortunate, though, because what a lot of people tend to forget is that he Bee Gees had been around since the mid-60’s, had a number of hits during that time period, and were actually a full band that focused on rock, pop, soul, and psychedelia. “Bee Gees’ 1st” (actually their 3rd album, but the first one to be released internationally) demonstrates that perfectly.

For one thing, the group was an actual band at this time. While the brothers still did all the singing (their harmonies here are one of the few things that make it obvious who they are), they also did quite a bit of the guitar, bass, organ, harpsichord and mellotron playing. Along with them were Colin Petersen on drums and Vince Melouney on guitar. These two were not just sidemen, but were actual members of the group, making the band a 5 piece. The other thing is the music itself. This is definitely 60’s music, no two ways about it, which means you get differing styles of music rubbing shoulders with each other through the album’s 14 tracks.

This allows the blue-eyed soul of “To Love Somebody” (one of their earliest and best known hits) to occupy the same album as the rather bizarre “Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You”, and the brooding, minimal sounds of “Holiday” to sit comfortably alongside the extremely Beatles-esque “In My Own Time” (and I do mean extremely; listen to the song on youtube).

Even the album’s cover is pure 60’s. While I normally wouldn’t draw attention to an album cover unless it was an obvious standout, this is a bit of an exception. The cover, simply depicting the band standing behind a bunch of psychedelic grass and flowers (albeit with eyeballs in the ground), with the album title in the center, was actually designed by Klaus Voormann, who previously was responsible for The Beatles’ “Revolver” cover, as well as their later “Anthology” series (he also would go on to be the bass player in John Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band”)

. When all of this is put together, we get an album that is a definite standout from the 60’s, and one which any artist would be proud of. I’ll admit to being in shock when I first heard it; I only knew one or two songs, and like many others who are more familiar with their later 70’s music, I was shocked by how different this album was. I can safely say this became one of my favorite albums, and if you like 60’s music, you’ll probably enjoy this just as much as I do.


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