1965


1965 was a turning point for the Bee Gees. Their singles had not sold well and the future looked bad for them as a recording act. The boys were well known for their appearances on television and in package shows, but they seemed like a variety act, comedy and song, trying to appeal to all audiences, just the sort of thing rebellious teens would rebel against. They were saved by a new producer, Bill Shepherd. Bill perceived that Barry’s songwriting, the brothers’ harmonies, and their growing abilities as instrumentalists all could fit perfectly into the current Beatles-dominated pop music world. With his encouragement they finally got a top twenty single, and an album.

Barry continued to write far more songs in far more styles than the Bee Gees could record. This year he even had two new songs released on records in the United States, a rare coup for an Australian writer. No massive hits resulted, but his ability to crank out good pop songs was well recognized in the Australian music business.

None of this meant much financially. The Gibb family still had very little money coming in. The brothers worked at a car wash part of this year.


songs


THAT’S WHAT I’LL GIVE TO YOU
Barry Gibb
US copyright March 1965. A side by Jimmy Boyd, August 1965

BABY I’M LOSING YOU
Barry Gibb
A side by Noeleen Batley, March 1965

YOU WOULDN’T KNOW
Barry Gibb
B side by Bee Gees, March 1965

LITTLE MISS RHYTHM AND BLUES
Barry Gibb
A side by Trevor Gordon, April 1965

HERE I AM
Barry Gibb
B side by Trevor Gordon, April 1965

I SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN BED
Barry Gibb
A side by Bryan Davies, April 1965

I WILL LOVE YOU
Barry Gibb
A side by Tony Brady, June 1965

I WANNA TELL THE WORLD
Barry Gibb
A side by Michelle Rae, June 1965

EVERYBODY’S TALKIN’
Barry Gibb
B side by Michelle Rae, June 1965

MY LONELY PLACE
Barry Gibb
Australian copyright June 1965. no record

MY LOVE WON’T TAKE THE TIME
Barry Gibb
Australian copyright June 1965. no record

WHO’S BEEN WRITING ON THE WALL AGAIN
Barry Gibb
A side by Jenny Bradley, June 1965

CHUBBY
Barry Gibb
B side by Jenny Bradley, June 1965

WINE AND WOMEN
Barry Gibb
A side by Bee Gees, September 1965

FOLLOW THE WIND
Barry Gibb
B side by Bee Gees, September 1965

MORNING OF MY LIFE
[ IN THE MORNING ]
Barry Gibb
B side by Ronnie Burns, June 1967; A side by Esther and Abi Ofarim, August 1967

BAD GIRL
Barry Gibb
A side by Dennis and the Delawares, October 1965

THEY SAY
Barry Gibb
B side by Dennis and the Delawares, October 1965

WATCHING THE HOURS GO BY
Barry Gibb
B side by Noeleen Batley, October 1965

I WAS A LOVER, A LEADER OF MEN
Barry Gibb
A side by Bee Gees, November 1965

AND THE CHILDREN LAUGHING
Barry Gibb
B side by Bee Gees, November 1965

I DON’T THINK IT’S FUNNY
Barry Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, November 1965

HOW LOVE WAS TRUE
Barry Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, November 1965

TO BE OR NOT TO BE
Barry Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, November 1965

YOU DO YOUR LOVING WITH ME
Barry Gibb
A side by Lynne Fletcher, December 1965

Another two dozen songs. This time the Bee Gees recorded eight of them, a new high.

Members of a group called the Rajahs recall that one time when they were looking for new songs, around 1965, they were sent to Barry, who asked them what style they wanted, or what popular song they wanted it to sound like. He was ready to write any kind of song to order. He just needed a concept to start with. Unfortunately the Rajahs couldn’t think of anything!

Barry wrote but did not record ‘Morning of My Life’ this year. Taking off from Donovan’s ‘Colours’ (released May 1965 in Britain), Barry wrote his first classic song, one that would be recorded by many other artists for years to come. The Bee Gees recorded it in 1966, and re-recorded it for release in 1970.


recording sessions


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal
Maurice Gibb — vocal, organ, guitar
others — drums, bass
engineer: ?
producer: ?
probably February 1965, Festival Studio, Sydney

EVERY DAY I HAVE TO CRY
Arthur Alexander (1962)
model by Steve Alaimo
mono 2:05, lead vocal Barry Gibb
A side, March 1965

YOU WOULDN’T KNOW
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 2:06, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
B side, March 1965

The American rhythm and blues singer Arthur Alexander’s 1962 song ‘Every Day I Have to Cry’ was a minor hit for Steve Alaimo and the Bee Gees’ official biography refers to that as the model. As a singer, Alexander was a favorite of John Lennon, who did his record ‘Anna’ on the Beatles’ first album and his composition ‘A Shot of Rhythm and Blues’ in early stage appearances. Whether the Bee Gees knew this is uncertain.

After the debacle of the previous single, the Bee Gees at least got to play on this one, and Barry got a good song on the B side. They sound as if they are having fun during the long fadeout on ‘You Wouldn’t Know’. This was Robin’s first lead vocal on disk.


Trevor Gordon

Trevor Gordon — vocal
Robin Gibb — vocal
others — guitar, bass, drums, organ
engineer: ?
producer: ?
probably March 1965, Festival Studio, Sydney

LITTLE MISS RHYTHM AND BLUES
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 2:14, lead vocal Trevor Gordon
A side, April 1965

HERE I AM
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 1:57, lead vocal Trevor Gordon
B side, April 1965

Barry provided two more songs for a second Trevor Gordon single. The A side ‘Little Miss Rhythm and Blues’ is a rocker in Chuck Berry style, and the B side is once again a quieter number. Robin is certainly present on the A side. There’s a chance either he or Maurice plays the organ.

A somewhat rewritten version of ‘Little Miss Rhythm and Blues’ was recorded in 1966 by Steve and the Board.


Michelle Rae

Michelle Rae — vocal
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb — vocal
others
engineer: ?
producer: ?
probably May 1965, Festival Studio, Sydney

I WANNA TELL THE WORLD
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 2:13, lead vocal Michelle Rae
A side, June 1965

EVERYBODY’S TALKIN’
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 2:00, lead vocal Michelle Rae
B side, June 1965

The Bee Gees sing backup on ‘Everybody’s Talkin’.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal, possibly organ
Maurice Gibb — vocal, guitar
others — drums
engineer: ?
producer: Bill Shepherd
probably August 1965, Festival Studio, Sydney

WINE AND WOMEN
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 2:52, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
A side, September 1965

FOLLOW THE WIND
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 2:07, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
B side, September 1965

Bill Shepherd, an Englishman who worked in Australia for about a year, was an experienced musician and arranger by the time he met the Bee Gees in the middle of 1965, at age 38.

After time in the RAF and work as a journalist, Bill decided to become a professional singer, first at Butlin’s English resorts and then as a member of George Mitchell’s singers. In 1953 he formed a vocal group of three men and two women called the Coronets (named for the Coronation that year) who became well known through work on radio and television. The Coronets sang backup on recordings and had a few of their own on Columbia. Bill left the group about 1955, after which another singer in the group, Mike Sammes, turned them into an institution as the Mike Sammes Singers, recording a large share of the backing vocals on all British pop records through the 1970s. Bill moved from singing into doing instrumental and vocal arrangements of all types from light classical to country, a skill that served him well later with the varied music of the Bee Gees.

The Bill Shepherd Chorus was credited on the front of the sleeve on two albums by Ray Martin’s Orchestra, High Barbaree! 12 Famous Sea Shanties (Columbia, 1957) and Olives, Almonds and Raisins (Columbia, 1958). His first album as session leader was Shepherd and His Flock Swing on Roulette in 1958 (besides the obvious pun the title is a play on the jazz instrumental ‘Swingin’ Shepherd Blues’ that was a pop hit that year). He signed with Pye, and a Bill Shepherd Orchestra instrumental single in 1958, ‘Big Guitar’, scored a French number 1 in France for its B side, a version of ‘Tequila’ (a US number 1 that year by the Champs). Bill continued to arrange and conduct for other artists and for radio and television. Hit songs bearing the credit ‘Accompaniment directed by Bill Shepherd’ included ‘Love Me Again’ and ‘Devotion’ by Petula Clark (with Bill’s orchestra, 1958), ‘Trudie’ by Joe Henderson (piano instrumental with Bill’s chorus, 1958), ‘The Story of My Life’ by Gary Miller (with Bill’s orchestra and chorus, 1958, produced by Joe Meek), and ‘I’ve Waited So Long’ by Anthony Newley (with Bill’s orchestra, 1959, UK number 3). The Bill Shepherd Orchestra is credited on the front cover of an album by English singer Lita Roza, Me on a Carousel (1959), and the Bill Shepherd Orchestra and Chorus on an album by Michael O’Duffy, Homespun from Ireland (Pye, 1959). These are just sample credits. Bill’s own disks on Pye included Shepherd’s Pie (LP, possibly 1961), and Swingin’ and Marchin’ (EP). The Pye contract seems to have ended in 1962, but Bill continued to arrange for other artists’ recordings and for radio and television. About this time he even had his own radio program on the BBC called Evergreen, for which he wrote the theme music. A few Bill Shepherd genre EPs were released on the Rainbow label in 1962, on colored vinyl: Hit Themes from TV, Western Songs, and the Sing-Along Party Record, twelve songs on a 7-inch disk.

Bill and his friend Jimmy Fraser perpetrated two beat group cash-in albums in 1963-1964 as Billy Pepper and the Pepperpots. Titled Merseymania and More Merseymania, they contained a few Lennon-McCartney songs, but mostly Bill Shepherd compositions, sung by Bill and Jimmy and played by a Beatles-like rock band of hired musicians. (The first of these albums appeared in the USA as Beats!!!! The Merseyside Sound.) Possibly Bill’s last album before emigrating was Bill Shepherd Plays Evergreens, released on Parlophone around June 1964. He wrote for the sleeve notes that ‘my main ambition is to compose, especially modern pops’ and ‘do a lot more lyric writing’, but adds that ‘with the new big band, the current radio, TV and session work, there isn’t a great deal of free time’. But for some reason, less than a year later, he was on the other side of the world recording songs by three teenage boys!

Bill thought the Bee Gees had a lot of potential and gave them as much help as he could, which shows here, the first Bee Gees recording he produced. The story is that Festival was close to dropping the group, and that Bill recorded this pair of songs and then talked Festival into releasing a single since it had already been recorded.

The arrangement of ‘Wine and Women’ was designed to showcase all three brothers. Robin sings parts of the lead vocal for the first time, and if television miming is any guide, Maurice plays the brief lead guitar break. Barry’s distinctive guitar strumming is mixed forward and he sings most of the vocal lead. The song plods along, especially in the needless repeated section toward the end, but it has the authenticity of a beat group playing their own song, something Bee Gees records had lacked.

The B side is even better. ‘Follow the Wind’ is a beautiful folk-pop ballad worthy of being an A side— and in fact a folk group called the Flanagans quickly put out a version of it as an A side by the end of the year. Robin and Barry each take a verse, and Maurice gets another guitar solo. Robin may be playing organ.


Noeleen Batley

Noeleen Batley — vocal
Barry Gibb — guitar
Maurice Gibb — organ
others — drums, bass
engineer: ?
producer: Barry Gibb
probably September 1965, Festival Studio, Sydney

WATCHING THE HOURS GO BY
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 2:34, lead vocal Noeleen Batley
B side, October 1965

This does not have the fine arrangement of Noeleen's previous Barry Gibb songs, but on the other hand it has the Bee Gees themselves, and Noeleen has said it is her favorite. She recalls Maurice playing organ, not Robin, which would give Robin nothing to do here. Barry gets his first credit as producer. The arrangement is similar to ‘Wine and Women’ and ‘I Was a Lover, a Leader of Men’.

(The A side of the single, ‘Padre’, was recorded separately on July 23 with Leon Isackson on drums.)


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal, organ
Maurice Gibb — vocal, guitar
others — drums, piano
engineer: ?
producer: Bill Shepherd
probably October 1965, Festival Studio, Sydney

I WAS A LOVER, A LEADER OF MEN
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 3:35, lead vocal Barry Gibb
A side, November 1965; Sing and Play, 1965

AND THE CHILDREN LAUGHING
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 3:20, lead vocal Barry Gibb
B side, November 1965; Sing and Play, 1965

I DON’T THINK IT’S FUNNY
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 2:52, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Sing and Play, 1965

HOW LOVE WAS TRUE
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 2:12, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Sing and Play, 1965

TO BE OR NOT TO BE
Barry Gibb (1965)
mono 2:10, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Sing and Play, 1965

The moderate success of ‘Wine and Women’ together with Bill Shepherd’s influence finally got Festival to approve release of an album, but without paying the full expense of recording one. Barry could have supplied fourteen new songs. Instead just five new songs were recorded, two of them issued also on a single, and the rest of the LP was filled with existing Bee Gees recordings.

The single ‘I Was a Lover, a Leader of Men’ was built around a strong rhythm guitar sound, like ‘Wine and women’. The B side ‘And the Children Laughing’ is a somewhat awkward attempt at a Dylan-like protest song featuring a mostly solo vocal by Barry. ‘I Don’t Think It’s Funny’ has Robin’s first solo vocal and a beautiful melody line marred by weak lyrics. With ‘To Be or Not To Be’ the Bee Gees finally do one of the rock and roll numbers Barry kept giving to other artists. ‘How Love Was True’ is a fine harmony number with Robin again on the solos.

Instrumentally, Barry of course plays rhythm guitar, and Maurice probably plays the other guitars, like the leads in ‘I Was a Lover, a Leader of Men’ and ‘How Love Was True’. Whether Maurice managed to play the acoustic lead guitar in ‘I Don’t Think It’s Funny’ or the fast piano in ‘To Be or Not To Be’ is less certain. The organ on ‘I Was a Lover, a Leader of Men’ and ‘And the Children Laughing’ is either Robin or Maurice.

Unfortunately Bill Shepherd left Festival early in 1966 after taking the Bee Gees this far. He got back together with them when they went to England and was their musical director from 1967 to 1972.


selected record releases


Trevor Gordon and the Bee Gees : single
Australia: Leedon, January 1965.

A HOUSE WITHOUT WINDOWS
B AND I’LL BE HAPPY

The sixth Bee Gees single, more or less. Trevor Gordon was well known from television and previous singles, and could have had a hit with this disk.

CD: Both on Assault the Vaults, Festival. (Australia)


Bryan Davies : single
Australia: HMV, February 1965.

A WATCH WHAT YOU SAY
B I’M GOING TO MAKE YOU CRY

Bryan used his third Barry song as the A side of his next single, and like the first two songs it also appeared also on his LP Together by Myself in 1965.

CD: ‘Watch What You Say’ on Assault the Vaults, Festival (Australia).


Noeleen Batley : single
Australia: Festival, March 1965.

A BABY I’M LOSING YOU
B HIS LIPS GET IN THE WAY

Noeleen Batley (see 1963) recorded two Barry Gibb songs in 1965. This one showcased both her voice and a fine ballad by Barry, indicating how good Barry’s songs sounded when sung and recorded well, unlike the cheap job being done with the Bee Gees’ own sessions. Barry’s lyric is unusually good in shifting the meaning of the title line, sung sadly the first time but with determination by the end.

CD: Noeleen Batley : Festival Files, Festival (Australia).


Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees : single
Australia: Leedon, March 1965.

A EVERY DAY I HAVE TO CRY
A YOU WOULDN’T KNOW

Another single ignored by the Australian public. The A side has the more obvious melodic hook, but the B was more in touch with current music and is more fun to listen to.

CD: Both on Brilliant from Birth, Festival (Australia), but ‘You Wouldn’t Know’ is faded 7 seconds early at 1:59, losing some of the ad lib shouting and laughing.


Trevor Gordon : single
Australia: Leedon, April 1965.

A LITTLE MISS RHYTHM AND BLUES
B HERE I AM

Robin on backing vocal and possibly organ, and the artist is just ‘Trevor Gordon’ this time without mentioning the Bee Gees. Clean-cut Trevor is perhaps not convincing singing a number like ‘Little Miss Rhythm and Blues’ although it is a good song. Robin’s cries in the background help.

The same two songs were cut in New Zealand by Judge Wayne around the same time and released as his first solo single on the Viking label. Wayne Harrison’s nickname came from his band Judge Wayne and the Convicts, who had released a single and an EP in New Zealand in 1964.

CD: Both on Assault the Vaults, Festival (Australia).


Bryan Davies : single
Australia: HMV, April 1965.

A I SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN BED
B SKINNY MINNIE

Barry contributed a fourth song to Bryan Davies who rocks out with it. The Bee Gees themselves always had a softer sound than this, but it wasn’t because of any limitation in Barry’s ability to write rock and roll.

CD: ‘I Should Have Stayed in Bed’ on Assault the Vaults, Festival (Australia).


Wayne Newton : Red Roses for a Blue Lady
US: Capitol, April 1965

  THEY’LL NEVER KNOW

Wayne Newton, known today as the biggest act in Las Vegas, sings this boyish ballad in the higher voice he was then known for. Barry’s publisher Belinda, working hard to get his songs recorded by American artists, contacted manager Terry Melcher while Newton was on tour in Australia and offered him some Barry Gibb songs. Wayne recorded ‘They’ll Never Know’ in November 1964. It was a big deal to get an American to record an Australian composition.

CD: entire album, Capitol (US).


Tony Brady : single
Australia: Parlophone, June 1965.

A I WILL LOVE YOU
B I’M GONNA BUY ME MOTHER-IN-LAW A BLOCK OF LAND ON MARS

Tony recorded one single for a new label, Parlophone. True to form both sides were Australian compositions, the B side written by Nat Kipner, who would later be very important to the Bee Gees. Barry was not present at the recording of either song.


Michelle Rae : single
Australia: Leedon, June 1965.

A I WANNA TELL THE WORLD
B EVERYBODY’S TALKIN’

This sounds like an old country 78. Nothing is known of this artist.

CD: Both on Assault the Vaults, Festival (Australia).


Jenny Bradley : single
Australia: Leedon, June 1965.

A WHO’S BEEN WRITING ON THE WALL AGAIN
B CHUBBY

‘Who’s Been Writing on the Wall Again’ is a wonderful song for a child singer. Jenny Bradley was 10 or 11 years old. Like the Gibb brothers she first appeared on television and then was signed to Leedon. This seems to be her third single in about one year. The song was recorded again in 1966 by Lori Balmer. Barry’s flip side is just as appropriate.

CD: Both on Assault the Vaults, Festival (Australia).


Jimmy Boyd : single
US: Vee Jay, about August 1965.

A THAT’S WHAT I’LL GIVE TO YOU
B MY HOMETOWN

Country singer Jimmy Boyd was managed by Terry Melcher, so this is very likely another one of the Barry Gibb songs offered him during Wayne Newton’s tour of Australia. Jimmy Boyd is best known for his hit record of ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ in 1952 when he was only 12 years old. Terry Melcher wrote the B side of this single.


Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees : single
Australia: Leedon, September 1965.

A WINE AND WOMEN
B FOLLOW THE WIND

Finally, the Bee Gees had a Top Twenty single, and with a Barry Gibb song and vocal and instrumental work by the three brothers. They were becoming a band. Producer Bill Shepherd saw something there and had brought it out of them. The brothers also admitted in their official biography that they sent fans out to buy copies at the right shops to break into the charts— but the single took itself beyond that.

CD: Both on Brilliant from Birth, Festival (Australia).


Dennis and the Delawares : single
Australia: HMV, October 1965.

A BAD GIRL
B THEY SAY

Dennis Williams and the Delaware play a pair of lively rock numbers. The Bee Gees are not on this recording, but Barry was present making suggestions during band rehearsals earlier. Dennis Williams was the singer and the tight rock and roll band were the same as on the Bee Gees single ‘Claustrophobia’. They must have sounded great live. HMV used Festival Studio to record their artists.


Noeleen Batley : single
Australia: Festival, October 1965.

A PADRE
B WATCHING THE HOURS GO BY

‘Watching the Hours Go By’ was a Bee Gees record with a guest vocalist— the first of many such recordings.

CD: Noeleen Batley : Festival Files, Festival (Australia).


Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees : single
Australia: Leedon, November 1965.

A I WAS A LOVER, A LEADER OF MEN
B AND THE CHILDREN LAUGHING

On the strength of ‘Wine and Women’ the Bee Gees and Bill Shepherd were permitted to continue. ‘I Was a Lover, a Leader of Men’ was similar in style and although it was not a hit it did win Barry a songwriting award. The two songs were also on the first Bee Gees album, released about the same time.

CD: Both on Brilliant from Birth, Festival (Australia).


Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees :
The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs

Australia: Leedon, November 1965 (mono).

A 1 I WAS A LOVER, A LEADER OF MEN
A 2 I DON’T THINK IT’S FUNNY
A 3 HOW LOVE WAS TRUE
A 4 TO BE OR NOT TO BE
A 5 TIMBER! (1963)
A 6 CLAUSTROPHOBIA (1964)
A 7 COULD IT BE (1964)

B 1 AND THE CHILDREN LAUGHING
B 2 WINE AND WOMEN (1965)
B 3 DON’T SAY GOODBYE (1964)
B 4 PEACE OF MIND (1964)
B 5 TAKE HOLD OF THAT STAR (1963)
B 6 YOU WOULDN’T KNOW (1965)
B 7 FOLLOW THE WIND (1965)

The Bee Gees’s first album was put together from five new songs and nine previously released Barry-written songs going back to their second single in 1963. Of the new songs, two were out on the new single and three were available only on this LP.

Barry had more than enough unrecorded songs for an all-new LP, but this was still a reasonable concept for an album, since surely very few people had all these singles that had not been hits. Bill Shepherd (probably) put the songs into a satisfying playing order that shows the group’s work to good advantage.

The name of the album has been hotly debated. The sleeve has in large letters BARRY GIBB & THE BEE GEE’S and then in much smaller letters THE BEE GEE’s SING & PLAY 14 BARRY GIBB SONGS. Is that just an honest description of the contents, or is it a title? Discographers dislike untitled albums. Both the artist and the conventional title are shown above, but Festival’s imaginative use of the apostrophe will not be repeated here in large letters.

The original issue of this LP on Leedon is extremely rare. Even the reissue in 1967 on the Calendar label is rarely seen outside Australia. This album package was not issued elsewhere. It was released on CD for the first time in 2013, in Australia. However all of the songs have been reissued many times over and are not rare at all.

CD: All on The Bee Gees Sing and Play..., and Brilliant from Birth, Festival (Australia).


Lynne Fletcher : single
Australia: HMV, December 1965.

A YOU DO YOUR LOVING WITH ME
B IN MY BOOK

‘You do your loving with me’ has the same rising vocal as ‘Watching the Hours Go By’. The other song ‘In my book’ was from the Easybeats, so both sides were related to Australian vocal groups. The disk was produced in Sydney by David Mackay who produced Barry’s Bunburys records twenty years later.

Lynne Fletcher began her professional career at age 16 as a singer on television, and this appears to be her second single, perhaps a year or so later. Her biggest seller was ‘Losing You’ in late 1966.