1968


The Bee Gees continued the frantic pace of 1967 by recording two more albums in 1968. By the end of the year what Barry has called ‘first fame’ was taking its toll and the group were at odds with each other. Vince Melouney left on good terms near the end of the year after completing contractual obligations for tours. It was clear by then that the Bee Gees were heading in a direction where there would be minimal need for lead guitar. More seriously, Barry and Robin were now vying for influence in determining the musical direction of the group, creating tension in the studio and on stage. Robert Stigwood tended to favor Barry as the leader of the group and the handsome target of fan adoration.

Stigwood had left NEMS in December 1967, taking with him the acts he managed, among them the Bee Gees and Cream. Their management was now his new company, the Robert Stigwood Organisation, RSO. But this was business detail. Robert continued his close ties to the Bee Gees in particular and watched over every aspect of their work.


songs


THE SINGER SANG HIS SONG
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
B side by Bee Gees, March 1968

DOWN TO EARTH
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1968

GENA’S THEME
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

JUMBO
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
A side by Bee Gees, March 1968

BRIDGES CROSSING RIVERS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 2006

SHE IS RUSSIA
probably Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

IN THE SUMMER OF HIS YEARS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1968

I’VE DECIDED TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1968

THINGS GO BETTER WITH COKE (‘SITTING IN THE MEADOW’)
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
commercial, 1968. album cut by Bee Gees, 2006

THINGS GO BETTER WITH COKE (‘ANOTHER COLD AND WINDY DAY’)
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
commercial, 1968. album cut by Bee Gees, 2006

BY THE LIGHT OF THE BURNING CANDLE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
B side by the Marbles, August 1968

LET YOUR HEART OUT
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
US copyright April 1968. no record

SMILE FOR ME
Barry Gibb
(or Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb)
US copyright April 1968. A side by the Tigers, 1969

YOU
Barry Gibb
US copyright April 1968. album cut by the Sounds of Modification, 1968

TURNING TIDE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
(or Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb)
US copyright April 1968. album cut by Bee Gees, 1970

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GRASS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
US copyright April 1968. no record

MILLIONS OF MILLIONS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
US copyright April 1968. no record

THE SQUARE CUP
Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
(or Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb)
US copyright May 1968. A side by Orchester Max Greger, 1969

ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY
probably Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
unknown date within 1967-1972. no record

KITTY CAN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1968

I O I O
Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
A side by Bee Gees, March 1970; album cut by Bee Gees, 1970

LET THERE BE LOVE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1968

STEPPING OUT
probably Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

THE BAND WILL MEET MR JUSTICE
Robin Gibb
album cut by Robin Gibb, 2015

THE PEOPLE’S PUBLIC POKE SONG
Robin Gibb
album cut by Robin Gibb, 2015

INDIAN GIN AND WHISKY DRY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1968

THE GIRL TO SHARE EACH DAY
possibly Robin Gibb
album cut by Robin Gibb, 2015

MY LOVE LIFE
Robin Gibb
no record

HEAVEN IN MY HANDS
Robin Gibb
album cut by Robin Gibb, 2015

KILBURN TOWERS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
B side by Bee Gees, July 1968; album cut by Bee Gees, 1968

WHEN THE SWALLOWS FLY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1968

IDEA
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1968

COME SOME CHRISTMAS EVE OR HALLOWEEN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 2006

MAN OF MAN
probably Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

I STARTED A JOKE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1968

MAYPOLE MEWS
Barry Gibb
(or Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb)
A side by David Garrick, February 1969

EVERYTHING THAT CAME FROM MOTHER GOOSE
Colin Petersen, Maurice Gibb
no record

I’VE GOTTA GET A MESSAGE TO YOU
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
A side by Bee Gees, July 1968

I LAUGH IN YOUR FACE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

ONLY ONE WOMAN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
A side by the Marbles, August 1968

I CAN LIFT A MOUNTAIN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

TREACLE BROWN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
A side by Lori Balmer, November 1968

FOUR FACES WEST
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
B side by Lori Balmer, November 1968

WHISPER WHISPER
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

MARLEY PURT DRIVE
[ MARLEY PURT DRIVE (AREA CODE 213) ]
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

FIRST OF MAY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
A side by Bee Gees, January 1969; album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

PITY
probably Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 2009

SEVEN SEAS SYMPHONY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

GIVE YOUR BEST
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

SOUND OF LOVE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

EDISON
[ BARBARA CAME TO STAY ]
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

BLACK DIAMOND
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

NOBODY’S SOMEONE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Andrew, 1997; album cut by Bee Gees, 2009

LAMPLIGHT
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
B side by Bee Gees, January 1969; album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

MELODY FAIR
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

ODESSA (CITY ON THE BLACK SEA)
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

SUDDENLY
[ HOW CAN YOU TELL ]
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

YOU’LL NEVER SEE MY FACE AGAIN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

WITH ALL NATIONS (INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM)
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

THE BRITISH OPERA
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1969

PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY MAN AWAY
Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record


recording sessions


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal, possibly organ
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano, organ, mellotron
Vince Melouney — guitar
Colin Petersen — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: Mike Claydon, Philip Wade, Damon Lyon-Shaw
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
January and February 1968, IBC Studios, London

THE SINGER SANG HIS SONG
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
8, 9 1968
mono 3:07, lead vocal Robin Gibb
B side, March 1968
stereo (mixed in 1990) 3:19, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Tales from the Brothers Gibb, 1990

CHOCOLATE SYMPHONY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1967)
8, 9 January 1968
mono, lead vocal Barry Gibb
unreleased
stereo (mixed in 2006) 2:42, lead vocal Barry Gibb
The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006

DOWN TO EARTH
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
8,9 January 1968
mono 2:28, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Idea, 1968
stereo 2:32, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Idea, 1968

January 1968 saw the last work done on ‘Sinking Ships’ and a re-make of ‘Chocolate Symphony’. The latter song was called ‘Choc Syth’ on all the tape boxes, and in 2006 Barry thought it might have been done for the Pippi Longstocking film project (see next comment section).

‘The Singer Sang His Song’ is a production number with a Robin lead vocal that was issued as a single, and not an album cut, so by standard practice it was not mixed to stereo at the time. Its elaborate setting with orchestra and backing vocals is somewhat overwhelming in mono.

‘Down to Earth’, another Robin lead vocal, appeared later on the Idea album. The stereo mix was probably made months later when the album was prepared.

I CAN LIFT A MOUNTAIN
probably Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono (demo), lead vocal Robin Gibb
unreleased

The Bee Gees were asked to write songs for a Swedish television series based on the Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren. An acetate has preserved a demo of Robin in character saying ‘I am just a girl, but...’ and on into the start of ‘I Can Lift a Mountain’. The date of this demo is not known, but it seems to be from around the same time as ‘Chocolate Symphony’. Robin revised the song in 1970 as ‘We Can Lift a Mountain’. Rumor is that the two songs recorded by Lori Balmer later this year, ‘Treacle Brown’ and ‘Four Faces West’, also date from this project.

(Without any Bee Gees involvement, the television series version of Pippi Långstrump was filmed in Sweden in 1968 and 1969, starring Inger Nilsson. Four feature films would be created from 1969 to 1973 by editing together scenes from the series, and given wider worldwide distribution.)

GENA’S THEME
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
10 January, 25 June 1968
mono 1:30, instrumental
Eine Runde Polydor, 1968 mono 3:35, instrumental
Rarities, 1983 mono 3:19, instrumental
The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006

‘Gena’s Theme’ appeared on a German LP called Eine Runde Polydor containing tracks by various artists. It is a rare instrumental by the Bee Gees. Colin and Maurice on bass and drums, Barry on rhythm, Vince on lead, and even Robin on organ, all overlaid with an orchestral section arranged by Bill Shepherd. The first version released on Eine Runde Polydor is edited to only a minute and a half. The second and longest edit was included on a German LP called Rarities that was part of a 17-disk Bee Gees box set. A new edit was released on The Studio Albums 1967-1968. The purpose of the track is unknown.

JUMBO
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
10 January 1968
mono 2:07, lead vocal Barry Gibb
A side, March 1968
stereo (mixed in 1990) 2:08, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Tales from the Brothers Gibb, 1990

BRIDGES CROSSING RIVERS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
10 January 1968
mono, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
stereo (mixed in 2006) 2:07, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006

SHE IS RUSSIA
probably Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
15 January 1968
mono, lead vocal not recorded
unreleased

‘Jumbo’ would be the other side of the single with ‘The Singer Sang His Song’ and like it was mixed only to mono at this time. It’s a peppy guitar-heavy number with two tracks of guitar laid down by Vince, and Barry singing so fast at the end that it is hard to make out the words.

‘Bridges Crossing Rivers’ was released for the first time on The Studio Albums 1967-1968 in 2006. ‘She Is Russia’ was never finished.

IN THE SUMMER OF HIS YEARS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
14, 21 February 1968
mono 3:05, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Idea, 1968
stereo 3:11, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Idea, 1968

I’VE DECIDED TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
15, 21 February 1968
mono 2:06, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
Idea, 1968
stereo 2:11, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
Idea, 1968

‘In the Summer of His Years’ featuring a Robin lead vocal was written in memory of Brian Epstein. It floats along over Bill Shepherd’s strings and multiple vocal tracks by Robin. The other song ‘I’ve Decided to Join the Air Force’ is a more dissonant number sung all the way through by all three brothers, Robin’s voice being a little more prominent. Both these tracks went to the Idea album, together with ‘Swan Song’ from late 1967 and ‘Down to Earth’. After these sessions the Bee Gees took a break from recording for four months because of touring commitments and time off.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano
Vince Melouney — guitar
Colin Petersen — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: ?
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
unknown dates and studio, London

THINGS GO BETTER WITH COKE (‘SITTING IN THE MEADOW’)
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb (1968)
undated 1967 or 1968
mono 1:30, lead vocal Robin Gibb
commercial
mono 1:00, lead vocal Robin Gibb
commercial; The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006

THINGS GO BETTER WITH COKE (‘ANOTHER COLD AND WINDY DAY’)
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb (1968)
undated 1967 or 1968
mono 1:30, lead vocal Robin Gibb
commercial
mono 1:00, lead vocal Robin Gibb
commercial; The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006

At some date in 1967 or 1968, the Bee Gees were among dozens of other major artists in creating commercials for Coca Cola that combined original new music with the ‘Things Go Better with Coke’ jingle by Bill Backer. The Bee Gees’ two songs were written by the Gibb brothers and recorded with the full band and Bill Shepherd orchestration. Both were mixed or edited into sixty-second and ninety-second versions that end with an announcer plugging the soft drink. The artists were given a lot of leeway in crafting their ads. In the lyric of ‘Another Cold and Windy Day’ it sounds as if having a Coke has convinced a despondent Robin to ‘stay here for a while’— very strange. The writer credits, given for the first time in 2006 on The Studio Albums 1967-1968, show only Barry and Robin.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal
Maurice Gibb — vocal, guitar
engineer: ?
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
unknown dates and studio, London

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GRASS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono (demo), lead vocal Barry Gibb
unreleased

LET YOUR HEART OUT
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono (demo) 2:35, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
unreleased

TURNING TIDE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono (demo) 2:35, lead vocal Barry Gibb
unreleased

THE SQUARE CUP
Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono (demo), scat vocal
unreleased

These demo recordings are undocumented, but acetates exist. They are probably from different dates.

The first three songs were copyright in the US in April 1968, and ‘The Square Cup’ in May 1968, which seems to mark them as being from earlier the same year, but another song also copyright in April 1968 was ‘End of My Song’, which is definitely from 1967. ‘Let Your Heart Out’ breaks down in laughter before it finishes. ‘The Square Cup’ is an instrumental, but the brothers vocalize the melody on the demo. A real recording of it was made by Max Greger and his orchestra. ‘Turning Tide’ is complete and has Robin harmony in the bridge.

‘Turning Tide’ and ‘End of My Song’ were recorded by Barry and Maurice as the Bee Gees in 1969, around the time they filmed the Cucumber Castle project. The Bee Gees were already talking about that in the later months of 1967, but whether the songs were intended for it is speculative. The writer credit on ‘Turning Tide’ is wrong either on the copyright or on the album: the copyright says Barry and Robin wrote it.


The Marbles

Graham Bonnet — vocal
Trevor Gordon — vocal
Steve Hardy — vocal
Barry Gibb — guitar
Maurice Gibb — bass, piano
Colin Petersen — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: ?
producer: Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
March 1968, IBC Studios, London

BY THE LIGHT OF THE BURNING CANDLE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
22 March 1968
mono 2:16, lead vocal Graham Bonnet
B side by the Marbles, August 1968

Robert Stigwood signed Graham Bonnet and his cousin Trevor Gordon Grunnill as a duo early in 1968. Trevor had worked with the Bee Gees in Australia (see 1964 and 1965). He returned to England in 1966 and recorded one single as Trev Gordon, then returned to Australia, and returned to England again in 1967 to join Graham’s band the Graham Bonnet Set. Graham had remained in England and formed a band called the Blue Sect in 1965. Blue Sect drummer Steve Hardy also joined the Graham Bonnet Set when it was formed in 1967. Although Stigwood signed only Graham and Trevor, Hardy continued to work with them. For about six months Graham and Trevor were assigned to record demos for the Bee Gees and other RSO acts.

‘By the Light of the Burning Candle’ appears to be one of those demo recordings, somewhat re-done and remixed later on. Trevor originally sang lead on it, replaced by Graham probably in July, but a high harmony by Steve Hardy remains on the finished track. The instrumental work is the Bee Gees band of Barry, Maurice, Colin, with Bill Shepherd adding orchestration. There is only a mono mix.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal, possibly organ
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano, organ, mellotron
Vince Melouney — guitar
Colin Petersen — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: John Pantry, Philip Wade, Damon Lyon-Shaw
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
June and July 1968, IBC Studios, London

KITTY CAN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
12 June 1968
mono 2:31, lead vocal Maurice Gibb, Barry Gibb
Idea, 1968
stereo 2:38, lead vocal Maurice Gibb, Barry Gibb
Idea, 1968
mono (with orchestra), lead vocal Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
unreleased
stereo (with orchestra) 2:36, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006

I O I O
Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
12 June 1968, 8 October 1969
mono, lead vocal Barry Gibb
unreleased

LET THERE BE LOVE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
12 June, possibly 21 June 1968
mono (early state) 3:34, lead vocal Barry Gibb
The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006
mono 3:28, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Idea, 1968
stereo 3:32, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Idea, 1968

STEPPING OUT
probably Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
12 June 1968
mono (jam session), lead vocal not recorded
unreleased

The Bee Gees returned to IBC on June 12. Eight-track recording equipment had been installed in their absence, improving the sound and offering greater opportunity to overdub. From this point forward, it is not possible to document every date involved in every bit of sound on each song. The eight-track equipment was built in the USA for standard American voltage, so IBC had to supply power to it through an intermediate device that proved somewhat unstable. The mono and stereo mixes ended up at more or less different speeds, and the notion of finding the ‘correct’ speed is challenged by the idea that the instrumental and vocal layers were themselves not recorded at a consistent speed.

On the first day the group started out with an instrumental notated as ‘jam session’ and ended with another notated as ‘no name’ that starts out as ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ but changes into something else with in fact no name. Two other titled items, ‘I O I O’ and ‘Stepping Out’ are not much more structure. The former was recorded again in 1969 in a complete version by Barry and Maurice as the Bee Gees.

The acoustic guitar and Everly Brothers harmony by Barry and Maurice on ‘Kitty Can’ makes a nice contrast to their more elaborate productions. However a Bill Shepherd orchestral arrangement for it was recorded, released for the first time on The Studio Albums 1967-1968.

Finally there was the more complex ‘Let There Be Love’. It has the same dual rhythm guitars serving as percussion but there is quite a bit of additional recording compared to the previous two songs. The soft and high voices, the trebly sound of the guitars and piano, and and Bill Shepherd’s arrangement with harps and violins made it sound a little more precious than usual, and as the opening track it set a tone for Idea that was quite a bit more lightweight than Horizontal. The Studio Albums 1967-1968 has a mono mix of an earlier state of the recording, with a different lead vocal sung entirely by Barry and some instrumental differences.


Robin Gibb

Robin Gibb — vocal, guitar
engineer:
producer: ?
June 1968, IBC Studios, London

THE BAND WILL MEET MR JUSTICE
Robin Gibb (1968)
13 June 1968
mono (demo), lead vocal Robin Gibb
Saved by the Bell, 2015

THE PEOPLE’S PUBLIC POKE SONG
Robin Gibb (1968)
13 June 1968
mono (demo), lead vocal Robin Gibb
Saved by the Bell, 2015

INDIAN GIN AND WHISKY DRY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
13 June 1968
mono (demo), lead vocal Robin Gibb
Saved by the Bell, 2015

THE GIRL TO SHARE EACH DAY
probably Robin Gibb (1968)
13 June 1968
mono (demo), lead vocal Robin Gibb
Saved by the Bell, 2015

COME SOME HALLOWEEN OR CHRISTMAS DAY
probably Robin Gibb (1968)
13 June 1968
mono (demo), lead vocal Robin Gibb
Saved by the Bell, 2015

MY LOVE LIFE EXPIRED
probably Robin Gibb (1968)
13 June 1968
mono (demo), lead vocal Robin Gibb
unreleased

HEAVEN IN MY HANDS
probably Robin Gibb (1968)
13 June 1968
mono (demo), lead vocal Robin Gibb
Saved by the Bell, 2015

A mono tape— not an eight-track— dated June 13 is credited to Robin Gibb, not the Bee Gees. All are demos with Robin on guitar and vocal. One song, ‘Indian Gin and Whisky Dry’, was recorded for Idea, and another, called ‘Come Some Christmas Eve or Halloween’ as further developed, was also recorded for Idea but not used. All but one of these appeared on Saved by the Bell in 2015. Robin made a second demo of ‘Heaven in My Hands’ in 1969.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal, organ
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano, organ, mellotron
Vince Melouney — guitar, harminica and vocal (‘Such a Shame’)
Colin Petersen — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: Philip Wade, Damon Lyon-Shaw
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
June 1968, IBC Studios, London

COMPLETELY UNORIGINAL
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated June 1968
mono, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
unreleased
stereo (mixed in 2006) 3:36, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006

KILBURN TOWERS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
14 June 1968
mono 2:14, lead vocal Barry Gibb
B side, July 1968; Idea, 1968
stereo 2:17, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Idea, 1968

SUCH A SHAME
Vince Melouney (1968)
14 June 1968
mono 2:28, lead vocal Vince Melouney
Idea, 1968
stereo 2:28, lead vocal Vince Melouney
Idea, 1968

Probably on June 12 or 14 the Bee Gees did a comedy song called ‘Completely Unoriginal’, featuring Barry speaking and Robin singing. It contains four lines of another tune that might be called ‘Cottage in the Glen’.

Barry contributes a breathy vocal and strumming guitar to ‘Kilburn Towers’, and the orchestral instrumental break gives it some of the same feel as ‘In the Summer of His Years’. The flute sound throughout is an exceptional performance by Maurice on mellotron.

Vince Melouney wrote a very nice number called ‘Such a Shame’ that was recorded just by him, Maurice, and Colin. Oddly it does not feature much lead guitar, but he takes lead vocal with Maurice singing along. The song has more energy than most of what the Bee Gees had been accumulating for the new album. This would be the only Bee Gees song ever written entirely by a non-Gibb band member.

INDIAN GIN AND WHISKY DRY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
17 June 1968
mono 1:55, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Idea, 1968
stereo 2:01, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Idea, 1968

WHEN THE SWALLOWS FLY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
18 June 1968
mono 2:22, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Idea, 1968
stereo 2:29, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Idea, 1968

A Robin song and a Barry song— so these seem despite the official credit. ‘Indian Gin and Whisky Dry’ shows that Robin was not always slow and serious, and Maurice adds a great wah-wah bass that is a little hard to hear in the stereo mix. Barry’s ‘When the Swallows Fly’ takes off from the title of Wordsworth’s ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’. This date they also worked again on ‘No Name’.

IDEA
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
20, 25 June 1968
mono 2:51, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Idea, 1968
stereo 2:50, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Idea, 1968
mono (alternate mix) 2:48, lead vocal Barry Gibb
The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006

COME SOME CHRISTMAS EVE OR HALLOWEEN
probably Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
20, 25 June 1968
mono 3:57, lead vocal Robin Gibb
unreleased
stereo 3:30, lead vocal Robin Gibb
The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006

Possibly sensing the need for an uptempo number, the group came up with what would be the title song of the new album, ‘Idea’. Barry sings full voice to a very lively backing, Maurice banging away at a piano riff throughout the song. Vince takes what would be his last electric guitar solo in the middle. The mono and stereo mixes used on Idea sound very different. In the intro, as the opening guitar note decays, the mono mix has whistling and other noises completely lacking in stereo. Most noticeably, after the guitar break the mono mix cuts over to a different guitar and vocal track after the break. An alternate mono mix released for the first time on The Studio Albums 1967-1968 uses that different vocal straight through.

The second number that day, ‘Come Some Christmas Eve or Halloween’, is a quintessential Robin song lyrically and musically, recorded by him and Maurice: Robin vocals and organ, Maurice guitar and mellotron. The Studio Albums 1967-1968 ends with a section of high Robin vocals. An older mono mix has a slow organ solo before the end vocals.

I STARTED A JOKE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
20 June 1968
mono 3:03, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Idea, 1968
stereo 3:07, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Idea, 1968

The last song for the Idea album was one of its highlights. ‘I Started a Joke’ became one of the Bee Gees’ classics with its enigmatic and thought-provoking lyrics. It must have been newly composed since Robin did not even include it on his demos of two weeks earlier.

MAYPOLE MEWS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
21 June 1968
mono, lead vocal not recorded
unreleased

MEN OF MEN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
21 June 1968
mono, lead vocal Barry Gibb
unreleased

‘Maypole Mews’ seems to follow the previous day’s work by opening with the line ‘I started a song’, but it pales by comparison. It was not finished, and it would later be recorded by David Garrick. The second number ‘Men of Men’ was a production with keyboards, orchestra, and spoken word, but it was not approved afterwards even for the 2006 reissue.


The Marbles

Graham Bonnet — vocal
Trevor Gordon — vocal
Barry Gibb — guitar
Maurice Gibb — bass, piano
Colin Petersen — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: ?
producer: Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robert Stigwood
June 1968, IBC Studios, London

ONLY ONE WOMAN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
unknown
mono 2:43, lead vocal Graham Bonnet
A side, August 1968

The first single by the Marbles, Graham Bonnet and Trevor Gordon, was recorded with the Bee Gees at about this time. It was mixed on June 26, in a week when songs for Idea were mixed, so it was probably recorded amidst the Bee Gees sessions just noted. Colin plays the same percussion effect as on ‘I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You’. There is only a mono mix.

For the B side they reworked ‘By the Light of the Burning Candle’ from March, possibly here on the same date.


Bee Gees

Colin Petersen — vocal, guitar, drums
Maurice Gibb — possibly bass, guitar, piano
engineer:
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
unknown date and studio, London

EVERYTHING THAT CAME FROM MOTHER GOOSE
Colin Petersen, Maurice Gibb (1968)
unknown, 1968
mono, lead vocal Colin Petersen
unreleased

Colin mentioned this song in an interview in September 1968, and a tape of it was listed as in the RSO vaults, a mono mix from an eight-track not noted as in the collection. From his description it would be Dylanesque lyrics by Colin and music by Maurice. It may be only a demo. Colin had co-written a few songs in 1966 when he was with Steve and the Board. He called this one the best of a few he wrote with Maurice— the others are unknown.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano
Vince Melouney — guitar
Colin Petersen — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer:
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
July 1968, IBC Studios, London

I’VE GOTTA GET A MESSAGE TO YOU
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
12 July 1968
mono (single mix) 2:59 [3:01], lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
A side, July 1968
mono (album mix) 2:50, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
The Studio Albums 1967-1968, 2006
stereo (album mix) 2:55 [2:50], lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
Idea, 1968
stereo (mixed in 1990) 3:05, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
Tales from the Brothers Gibb, 1990
stereo (mixed in 2001) 2:50, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
The Record, 2001

I LAUGH IN YOUR FACE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
12 July 1968
mono 3:59, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009
mono 4:09, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 4:09, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Odessa, 1969

Following completion of the Idea album the Bee Gees recorded two more songs before going out on tour. ‘I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You’ became their next single only weeks later, their third in a row not to be on an LP.

The second song, ‘I Laugh in Your Face’ would appear on the next album, Odessa, which was otherwise started a month later. The mono mix made at this time, when it was a potential B side, was not released until 2009 on the Sketches for Odessa CD in the Odessa reissue box. As usual with Idea songs, it plays a little fast in mono.

‘I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You’ has appeared in five versions all made from the same recording, but heard at three different speeds, faded out at three different points, and with different elements mixed forward. As to the speed, Bill Inglot said in 1999 that the mix he made for the Tales from the Brothers Gibb box in 1990 is at the correct real tape speed— by some definition of correct. This speed is intermediate between the mono and stereo mixes released in 1968. To correct the speed, play the mono single mix at 98.8% and the LP stereo mix at 103.0%, which brings them to the timings shown above in square brackets.

The first mix to appear was the mono mix for the single, followed closely by a stereo mix that appeared on North American copies of the Idea album. The two sound very different. For most of the song the album mix has percussion effects and string overdubs not heard (or barely heard) in the single mix. In the ending, most of the second pass through the chorus (2:28-2:37 at the correct speed) has lead vocal in the album mix but only wordless backing vocal in the single mix, until at ‘hold on’ they resume the same vocal tracks. The slower album mix is shorter because it fades out much sooner, 4 seconds sooner at the speed given, or 11 seconds sooner at corrected speed. At 2:45 (correct speed) fans hear a spoken ‘save your voice’ in the stereo album mix, and also less distinctly in the Tales from the Brothers Gibb mix.

The purpose of the 1990 Tales from the Brothers Gibb remix was to recreate the sound of the single mix but in stereo. It also fades a few seconds longer than any other mix. This fine job by Bill Inglot was not used again. The Record has either a new mix or a clean copy of the 1968 stereo mix, but if it is the latter it has had a speed correction to match the same speed as the Tales mix. The The Studio Albums 1967-1968 does not have the 1990 mix either, but it does have a 1968 mono mix that mimics the 1968 stereo mix. Since the North American Idea LP was released only in stereo, this companion mono mix was never released. Like the other mono mixes it plates faster the the stereo mix.


Lori Balmer

Lori Balmer — vocal
Barry Gibb — guitar
Maurice Gibb — bass, piano
Colin Petersen — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: ?
producer: Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
July 1968, IBC Studios, London

TREACLE BROWN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
23 July 1968
mono 2:52, lead vocal Lori Balmer
A side, November 1968

FOUR FACES WEST
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
23 July 1968
mono 1:49, lead vocal Lori Balmer
B side, November 1968

Lori Balmer, who recorded a single with the Bee Gees in 1966, moved with her family to England around the start of 1968, and now recorded her second and last single in one session. Both songs were played by the Bee Gees with Bill Shepherd orchestration. They have intriguingly strange lyrics very characteristic of the Bee Gees at this time.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano, guitar
Vince Melouney — guitar
Colin Petersen — drums
Bill Keith — banjo (‘Marley Purt Drive’, ‘Give Your Best’)
Tex Logan — fiddle (‘Give Your Best’)
engineer: Adrian Barber
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
August 1968, Atlantic Recording Studios, New York

A cancelled American tour resulted in the Bee Gees spending a week recording at Atlantic in New York. Robin, not feeling well, missed the New York sessions, but Barry, Maurice, Vince, and Colin put away instrumental tracks and demos for a fine group of songs for the next album, Odessa. These were the last Bee Gees tracks Vince appeared on. Adrian Barber recalls the oddity that Barry liked to start recording with his guitar and a metronome, upon which they built up the track.

For the songs that were released, finished vocal tracks and orchestra sections were added later in England.

WHISPER WHISPER
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
13, 14 August 1968
(part 2) stereo 1:07, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009
13, 14 August 1968, undated November 1968
mono 3:24, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 3:24, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969

As completed ‘Whisper Whisper’ is a composite of three sections recorded at the start of the sessions. An alternate take of part 2 with a New York vocal appears on Sketches from Odessa, in the box set reissue, 2009. The Odessa album has an edit of the three sections with vocals and orchestra recorded in England.

MARLEY PURT DRIVE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
15 August 1968
mono 4:31, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009
15 August 1968, undated November 1968
mono 4:26, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 4:26, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969

‘Marley Purt Drive’ is a rocking country number owing something to The Band’s ‘The Weight’, released earlier this year. Barry and Vince on guitars are joined by bluegrass musician Bill Keith on banjo, and someone on steel guitar. A mix with the original New York vocal appears on Sketches from Odessa. A different vocal (with the same lyrics) and a bit of orchestration at the end were recorded in England to form the finished version heard on Odessa.

FIRST OF MAY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
16 August 1968
mono (demo) 1:43, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

This was only a demo of an unfinished song. It was completely re-recorded in England. ‘First of May’ and ‘Sound of Love’ (see below) were both built around Maurice’s economical piano playing.

PITY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
19 August 1968
stereo 3:46, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

‘Pity’ was a complete song, but no more work was done on it after the New York sessions. It finally appeared on Sketches for Odessa.

SEVEN SEAS SYMPHONY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
19 August 1968
mono (reference track) 2:13, instrumental
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

Like ‘First of May’, this piece was definitely not finished, and this version was labelled ‘reference track’ on the box. As heard on Sketches for Odessa, this take is just Maurice playing part of the eventual melody on piano.

GIVE YOUR BEST
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
20 August 1968
stereo 3:34, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009
20 August 1968, undated November 1968
mono 3:26, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 3:26, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969

A second country number, ‘Give Your Best’ again featured Bill Keith (and someone else?) on banjo, and Tex Logan on fiddle, and it was completed in one take. Only new vocals were added in England. The original vocal, with variant lyrics, appears on Sketches for Odessa.

SOUND OF LOVE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
20 August 1968, undated November 1968
stereo 3:37, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009
mono 3:27, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 3:27, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969

A second piano ballad, ‘Sound of Love’, was finished in England with the addition of a new vocal and orchestration. A mix with the orchestra but the original vocal appears on Sketches for Odessa.

EDISON
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
21 August 1968
stereo 3:05, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009
21 August 1968, undated November 1968
mono 3:07, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 3:07, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 3:14, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

The last song the Bee Gees did at Atlantic was ‘Barbara Came to Stay’, a song that would change quite a bit back in England. The basic New York instrumental track remained, but Barry’s rhythm guitar was mixed out, and an organ was added. Most significantly the lyrics were completely rewritten, resulting in a change of title to ‘Edison’. The new lyrics were sung alternately by Barry and Robin. Sketches offers one version with all the original New York tracks and an another from England with a different vocal take.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal, piano, Mellotron
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano, guitar, Mellotron
Colin Petersen — drums
Paul Buckmaster — cello (‘Odessa’)
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: Phillip Wade, Andy Knight, E S
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
October 1968, Trident and IBC Studios, London

Many of the remaining Odessa tapes are undated, but because of extensive touring the number of possible recording dates is limited. They began at IBC, with a break from October 5 to 16 for touring.

BLACK DIAMOND
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono (demo) 4:00, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

NOBODY’S SOMEONE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
3 October 1968
stereo 3:13, lead vocal Barry Gibb
unreleased
stereo 3:13, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

BLACK DIAMOND
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
3 October 1968
mono 3:27, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 3:27, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Odessa, 1969

An undated reel has demos of ‘Black Diamond’ performed mainly by Robin, one of which appeared in edited form on Sketches. A second reel dated October 3 has ‘Nobody’s Someone’ (not heard on Odessa) and the finished version of ‘Black Diamond’. The stereo mix of ‘Nobody’s Someone’ on Sketches has a prominent glockenspiel not heard on another mix that has circulated among fans. Both songs have Barry and Maurice on acoustic guitars in a style similar to some songs on Idea.

YOU’LL NEVER SEE MY FACE AGAIN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
17 October, December 1968
mono 4:08, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009
mono 4:16, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 4:16, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969

SUDDENLY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
17 October, December 1968
mono 2:17, lead vocal Maurice Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009
mono 2:29, lead vocal Maurice Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 2:29, lead vocal Maurice Gibb
Odessa, 1969

WITH ALL NATIONS (INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM)
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
17 October 1968
mono 1:15, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

ODESSA (CITY ON THE WHITE SEA)
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
17 October 1968
mono 6:40, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

Barry takes the lead vocal on ‘You’ll Never See My Face Again’, played with two acoustic guitars by him and Maurice. ‘Suddenly’, identified on all tape boxes as ‘How Can You Tell’, is a solo by Maurice with his first full-length lead vocal in England, with only Colin and Bill Shepherd’s orchestra. For both of these Sketches has versions with a different lead vocal, Mellotron, and no orchestra, the state as of October. Further additions in December created the finished versions. ‘With All Nations’ and ‘Odessa’ would be completely re-done in December, but these versions are on Sketches.

LAMPLIGHT
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
25 October 1968
stereo (demo) 4:46, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

MELODY FAIR
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
25 October 1968
stereo (demo) 3:05, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

Two demos recorded at Trident are dated October 25 on the tape box. Both songs progressed to masters and rough mono mixes by October 27, along with ‘Suddenly’, ‘You’ll Never See My Face Again’, and in addition ‘Never Say Never Again’ and ‘Odessa’ are on some of same master tapes, putting all these songs around the same few very productive days of work.

Both these demos appear on Sketches, and both hint at starts with guitar and metronome as Adrian Barber recalled them doing at Atlantic, although the mixes on Sketches have real drumming on top. The great ballad ‘Lamplight’ is almost complete except for the French words at the beginning; ‘Melody Fair’ a little less so.

MELODY FAIR
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
26, 27 October 1968
mono 3:43, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009
mono 3:48, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 3:48, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb
Odessa, 1969

The group finished ‘Melody Fair’ during the next two days. A mix of the state on October 27, showing the Mellotron that was mixed out later, appears on Sketches. Maurice sings part lead vocal (‘comb your hair’).

LAMPLIGHT
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono 5:02, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

‘Lamplight’ was also completed, but this version was scrapped in November, when an all new recording was made. This one appears on Sketches.

Some tapes with the previous two songs also contain ‘Never Say Never Again’ and ‘Odessa’, but those were probably appended later. The Bee Gees had to leave off recording because they were away from October 31 to November 23.

Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal
Maurice Gibb — vocal, piano, bass, organ, guitar
Colin Petersen — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer:
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
November and December 1968, IBC Studios, London

FIRST OF MAY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
24 November 1968
mono 2:43, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009
mono 2:50, lead vocal Barry Gibb
A side, January 1969; Odessa, 1969
stereo 2:50, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969

The Bee Gees were away on tour from October 30 until at least November 20. A reel of mono mixes dated November 24 has the first version of ‘Odessa’ (October 17), ‘Melody Fair’, and the new song ‘First of May’, and called ‘rough mix with orchestra’. Therefore about as soon as they returned, they were in the studio with Bill Shepherd arranging and conducting orchestral tracks to complete the album. The rough mix of ‘First of May’ is on Sketches.

ODESSA (CITY ON THE BLACK SEA)
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono 7:33, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 7:33, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Odessa, 1969

LAMPLIGHT
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono 4:47, lead vocal Robin Gibb
B side, January 1969; Odessa, 1969
stereo 4:47, lead vocal Robin Gibb
Odessa, 1969

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono 3:28, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969
stereo 3:28, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Odessa, 1969 mono 3:50, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Sketches for Odessa, 2009

The final versions of two important songs, along with one new one, were made on an unknown date most likely between November 24 and December 7, when they appear on a dated tape of mixes.

‘Odessa’ was a major work and it is not surprising that it took a few sessions to get a take they liked. At heart it is two long verses and choruses, but those are surrounded by other vocal and instrumental sections. The instrumental track is led by the unusual combination of a flamenco guitar by Maurice and a cello by Paul Buckmaster. The song was called ‘Odessa on the White Sea’ in this early version, and Barry identifies the ship in a spoken intro as a Dutch ship called Onstrauss and the date as February 14, 1866. This first version from October is heard on Sketches, with Maurice or Robin on Mellotron and an orchestral section that is less full than the finished take.

The geography of ‘Odessa’ must not be taken too literally, although a man sailing in the Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea is as far from the port of Odessa as he seems to feel in the lyrics. One possible inspiration is the Spinners’ song ‘Ellan Vannin Tragedy’, about a packet ship that sank in the Irish Sea on its way between the Isle of Man and Liverpool. What pair of ports could be closer to the Bee Gees’ hearts than their childhood home and the Beatles’ city? According to the Spinners the little ship sank on ‘the third day of the month December, the terrible storm in nineteen-nine’. The romantic date of February 14 replaced this and stayed, while the year changed to 1866 and back to 1899.

Also done somewhere around here are the final vocals for the New York songs and the added organ part for ‘Edison’. Barry sang in a strong voice for ‘First of May’, ‘Sound of Love’, ‘Marley Purt Drive’, and ‘Give Your Best’, a bit less so on ‘Whisper Whisper’ and ‘Edison’, the latter with also some lead vocal by Robin.

SEVEN SEAS SYMPHONY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono 4:09, instrumental
Odessa, 1969
stereo 4:09, instrumental
Odessa, 1969

WITH ALL NATIONS (INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM)
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono 1:46, instrumental
Odessa, 1969
stereo 1:46, instrumental
Odessa, 1969

THE BRITISH OPERA
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1968)
undated 1968
mono 3:17, instrumental
Odessa, 1969
stereo 3:17, instrumental
Odessa, 1969

The three instrumentals on Odessa are the last new items to be recorded, along with final vocal tracks and Bill Shepherd orchestral parts. ‘Seven Seas Symphony’, now more developed than on the New York demo, was performed by Maurice and the orchestra playing together live. ‘With All Nations’ was recorded again in a version without the vocals, and it and ‘The British Opera’, feature solely Bill Shepherd’s orchestra and chorus with no singing or playing by the Bee Gees.


selected record releases


Bee Gees : single
UK: Polydor, January 1968; US: Atco, January 1968.

A WORDS
B SINKING SHIPS

Both sides of this single were not on the upcoming Horizontal album. The label states that ‘Words’ is ‘from the film The Mini Mob’. The song is in the film, but the Bee Gees’ version of it is not— it appears as sung by Georgie Fame and as an instrumental, both versions arranged by Bill Shepherd, who of course arranged the Bee Gees version as well.

‘Words’, now considered one of the Bee Gees’ classic songs, made top ten in Britain and top twenty in America. In Germany it was their third number 1 record.

CD: This mono mix of ‘Words’ on The Studio Albums 1967-1968, and a stereo mix on Tales from the Brothers Gibb. Stereo mix of ‘Sinking Ships’ on Tales from the Brothers Gibb and The Studio Albums 1967-1968.


The Majority : single
UK: Decca, January 1968.

A ALL OUR CHRISTMASES CAME AT ONCE
B PEOPLE

The label states that ‘All Our Christmases Came at Once’ is ‘from the film The Mini Mob’. The Majority appear in the film performing a shortened version of the song. The film director Robert Amram recalls that Robert Stigwood asked him to include the Majority in the film as part of the deal that got him a Bee Gees song (‘Words’). This was the last single by the Majority, a band from Hull who had been active since 1965. The Bee Gees are not on the recording.


Bee Gees : Horizontal
Mono— UK: Polydor, February 1968; US: Atco, February 1968.
Stereo— UK: Polydor, February 1968; US: Atco, February 1968.

A 1 WORLD
A 2 AND THE SUN WILL SHINE
A 3 LEMONS NEVER FORGET
A 4 REALLY AND SINCERELY
A 5 BIRDIE TOLD ME
A 6 WITH THE SUN IN MY EYES

B 1 MASSACHUSETTS
B 2 HARRY BRAFF
B 3 DAY TIME GIRL
B 4 THE EARNEST OF BEING GEORGE
B 5 THE CHANGE IS MADE
B 6 HORIZONTAL

The Bee Gees’ second album in England. It included the A sides of the last two 1967 singles plus ten new songs. Critics continued to be impressed, and sales were strong.

CD: Stereo mixes on Horizontal. Mono and stereo on the reissue, 2006 (also in The Studio Albums 1967-1968 box).


Bee Gees : single
UK: Polydor, March 1968; US: Atco, March 1968.

A JUMBO
B THE SINGER SANG HIS SONG

The decision on which song would be the A side came so late that many (or all?) British singles have ‘The Singer Sang His Song’ marked as the A side, But ‘Jumbo’ was promoted as such. This single broke the series of Bee Gees hits, and fell into obscurity as neither side was on the next album nor was ‘Jumbo’ on Best of Bee Gees in 1969. However ‘The Singer Sang His Song’ appeared on the World Star Festival charity LP for UNICEF, issued worldwide in the first quarter of 1969.

CD: Stereo mixes on Tales from the Brothers Gibb and The Studio Albums 1967-1968.


Bee Gees : Rare Precious and Beautiful
Stereo (mock stereo)— UK: Polydor, April 1968; US: Atco, November 1968.

A 1 WHERE ARE YOU (1966)
A 2 SPICKS AND SPECKS (1966)
A 3 PLAY DOWN (1966)
A 4 BIG CHANCE (1966)
A 5 GLASS HOUSE (1966)
A 6 HOW MANY BIRDS (1966)

B 1 SECOND HAND PEOPLE (1966)
B 2 I DON’T KNOW WHY I BOTHER WITH MYSELF (1966)
B 3 MONDAY’S RAIN (1966)
B 4 JINGLE JANGLE (1966)
B 5 TINT OF BLUE (1966)
B 6 BORN A MAN (1966)

This is the content of the 1966 Australian LP Spicks and Specks, but in a different running order, and ‘electronically rechanneled to simulate stereo’. It was released under the terms of Polydor’s agreement with Festival, not as part of the deal with The Robert Stigwood Organisation for new recordings. Stigwood objected to the release of old tracks, arguing that they might damage the Bee Gees’ current image, and telling Polydor’s Ronald Rennie that the boys were rare, precious, and beautiful— inadvertently providing him with a title. The 35 Australian recordings were issued in a uniform series of three albums with a cover image of a butterfly with different colored backgrounds.

CD: All on Brilliant from Birth, Festival (Australia), in mono.


Georgie Fame
UK: Lyn (promo only), 1968.

A Georgie Fame : WORDS
B The Mini Mob : THE MINI MOB

Never released on disk, the original version of ‘Words’ sung by Georgie Fame appears in the film The Mini Mob, and on a rare promo single backed by the non-Gibb title song performed by an anonymous group. The Bee Gees are not on it.

The film The Mini Mob was written and directed by Robert Amram, from an idea by the producer Richard Herland. On the strength of his popular Swinging London documentary short Dolly Story, Amram put together his first feature film, and optimistically approached Robert Stigwood for a Beatles song to feature in it. A Bee Gees song was promised instead. The song, ‘Words’, was provided so late that Georgie had to record it one day and mime to it for the film scene the next. Since the outdoor scene is clearly in the summer, it cannot be later than August. The Bee Gees’ own version was recorded at least a month later.

Bill Shepherd did the score. Although there is a vanity credit of ‘Music by the Bee Gees’, most of the score is inventive variations on the title song, ‘The Mini Mob’ by Alan Blaikley and Ken Howard. A concert sequence contains the Gibb-written ‘All Our Christmases Came at Once’ performed by the Majority (see above) and an unidentified song possibly called ‘Arrangements’ performed by Georgie Fame as his character Georgie. Two full renditions of ‘Words’ are used, an instrumental and Georgie Fame’s vocal. In one scene, a radio is playing the Bee Gees’ record of ‘Jumbo’ (1968), but only half of it is heard.

The film was retitled The Mini Affair at the last minute, either to avoid confusion with another film called The Mini Skirt Mob or to drop the association with organized crime. In the film, three young women, with the help of a slightly older couple who seem experienced at this sort of thing, kidnap the men of their dreams: the Minister of Pop Culture, a pop singer (Georgie Fame), and a pirate radio DJ. It’s a comedy caper, and it comes out all right in the end. The three women are called the mini mob in the dialogue and in the theme song.

The US premiere was in Albany NY in May 1968, but no other showings have been confirmed. It has never been released on home video or DVD. It was shown for the first time since 1968 at the Mods and Rockers film festival in Los Angeles in July 2002, where the crowd enjoyed it greatly. (Thank you to Robert Amram for information.)


Robert Stigwood Orchestra : Bee Gees’ Hits
Mono— UK: Polydor, about April 1968; US: Atlantic, August 1968.
Stereo— UK: Polydor, about April 1968; US: Atlantic, August 1968.

A 1 MASSACHUSETTS
A 2 BIRDIE TOLD ME
A 3 WORDS
A 4 TO LOVE SOMEBODY
A 5 SINKING SHIPS

B 1 NEW YORK MINING DISASTER 1941
B 2 I CAN’T SEE NOBODY
B 3 HOLIDAY
B 4 WORLD
B 5 SWAN SONG

Robert Stigwood Orchestra : single
US: Atlantic, about August 1968.

A MASSACHUSETTS
B BIRDIE TOLD ME

The Robert Stigwood Orchestra was, as stated on the back cover, an ad hoc group of musicians assembled to make this album. Bill Shepherd arranged, conducted, and produced it, taking just three days to record, December 5, 8, and 13, 1967. Robin wrote in his sleeve notes that ‘a life-long ambition has been fulfilled to hear our music played by a full orchestra’. Some of the songs had not been released yet when Bill recorded these versions, and this was the first version of ‘Swan Song’ to be released.

The Bee Gees do not sing or play on the sessions. This album is listed here because of Bill Shepherd’s close association with them. The session tapes are labelled ‘Bee Gees’.

A promo copy of the single on Atlantic is confirmed. The A side, like the Bee Gees single on Atco, is titled ‘(The Lights Went Out in) Massachusetts’.


Sounds of Modification
US: Jubilee, 1968; UK: Stateside, 1968.

  YOU

Producer and arranger Bob Gallo wrote all the songs on Sounds of Modification’s only album except ‘You’. The album was recorded at Select Sound Studios, New York, and the band were: Joe Cavalea (vocal, horns), Frank Porcelli (guitar, vocal), Bob Dorsa (bass, vocal), Pete Maletta (organ, piano), and Mike ‘Butch’ Cavouto (drums), with string arrangements by Irv Spice. How this American band happened to be the first to record this Gibb song is unknown. The album is classed by dealers now as ‘pop psychedelic’ although it has a clean professional sound, not garage band.


Bee Gees : single
UK: Polydor, July 1968; US: Atco, July 1968.

A I’VE GOTTA GET A MESSAGE TO YOU
B KITTY CAN

The Bee Gees’ second number 1 in Britain, and their first Top Ten in America. It was an odd song, about a condemned murderer walking his last mile and wanting to get a message to the girl he loves.

They must have considered using ‘I Laugh in Your Face’ as the B side, because the two songs were sent to Atlantic together in July.

CD: These mono mixes on The Studio Albums 1967-1968.


The Marbles : single
UK: Polydor, August 1968; US: Cotillion, August 1968.

A ONLY ONE WOMAN
B BY THE LIGHT OF THE BURNING CANDLE

Instrumental work by Barry, Maurice, and Colin, with orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd. Top Five in Britain.

Following the release of this single Graham Bonnet made some remark about the song being too simple, which put the Marbles on the outs with the Gibb brothers for the next few months. This was to be the biggest hit they had in their short-lived career.

CD: Both on The Marbles, Repertoire (UK).


Bee Gees : Idea
Mono— UK: Polydor, September 1968.
Stereo— UK: Polydor, September 1968.

A 1 LET THERE BE LOVE
A 2 KITTY CAN
A 3 IN THE SUMMER OF HIS YEARS
A 4 INDIAN GIN AND WHISKY DRY
A 5 DOWN TO EARTH
A 6 SUCH A SHAME

B 1 IDEA
B 2 WHEN THE SWALLOWS FLY
B 3 I’VE DECIDED TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE
B 4 I STARTED A JOKE
B 5 KILBURN TOWERS
B 6 SWAN SONG

Bee Gees : Idea
Stereo— US: Atco, September 1968.

A 1 LET THERE BE LOVE
A 2 KITTY CAN
A 3 IN THE SUMMER OF HIS YEARS
A 4 INDIAN GIN AND WHISKY DRY
A 5 DOWN TO EARTH
A 6 I’VE GOTTA GET A MESSAGE TO YOU

B 1 IDEA
B 2 WHEN THE SWALLOWS FLY
B 3 I’VE DECIDED TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE
B 4 I STARTED A JOKE
B 5 KILBURN TOWERS
B 6 SWAN SONG

As shown the Polydor and Atco versions of Idea differed at the end of side A, where Atco substituted the odd stereo mix (see above) of the current single ‘I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You’ for Vince’s song ‘Such a Shame’. This is the only Bee Gees album for which the Polydor and Atco versions differ in content. They also had totally different sleeve art. The Polydor front cover had a lightbulb on a dark blue ground, while Atco had a composite head by Klaus Voormann, the artist who did the Bee Gees’ First art.

Atco released Idea only in stereo, because mono LPs had by now been discontinued in America. The mono mixes, used only in Britain, had still been given the most attention and the sound balance is better, especially at the bottom end.

The CD combines the two versions of the album. It uses the Voormann art on the front of the booklet, and a version of the lightbulb art inside. ‘Such a Shame’ is included (its first release in the US) followed by the 1968 stereo mix of ‘I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You’. The LP sleeve credited ‘vocals by’ under each song title as follows:

Let There Be Love— Barry, Robin & Maurice
Kitty Can— Maurice & Barry
In the Summer of His Years— Robin
Indian Gin & Whisky Dry— Robin
Down to Earth— Robin & Maurice
Such a Shame— Vince & Maurice
Idea— Barry, Robin & Maurice
When the Swallows Fly— Barry
I’ve Decided to Join the Air Force— Robin, Barry & Maurice
I Started a Joke— Robin
Kilburn Towers— Barry
Swan Song— Barry

CD: Stereo mixes on Idea. Mono and stereo on the reissue, 2006 (also in The Studio Albums 1967-1968 box).


Bill Shepherd Singers : Aurora
Stereo— UK: Polydor, 1968; US: Atco, November 1968.

A 1 MASSACHUSETTS
A 2 TURN OF THE CENTURY
A 3 WORDS
A 4 RED CHAIR, FADE AWAY
A 5 BIRDIE TOLD ME
A 6 SWAN SONG

B 1 NEW YORK MINING DISASTER 1941
B 2 WORLD
B 3 DAY TIME GIRL
B 4 THE SINGER SANG HIS SONG
B 5 HOLIDAY
B 6 AND THE SUN WILL SHINE

Bill Shepherd recorded a second album of Bee Gees songs, this time with a chorus and light orchestra as the Bill Shepherd Singers. Once again he needed only three days, February 26 and April 8 and 29, the dates scattered by his touring commitments with the Bee Gees. The first session pre-dates the release of the Robert Stigwood Orchestra album. Nothing from Idea was included except, once again, ‘Swan Song’.

The Bee Gees do not sing or play on the sessions. This album is listed here because of Bill Shepherd’s close association with them. The session tapes are labelled ‘Bee Gees’.


Lori Balmer : single
UK: Polydor, November 1968.

A TREACLE BROWN
B FOUR FACES WEST

Instrumental work by Barry, Maurice, and Colin, with orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd. Lori Balmer’s interesting single did not make a dent in the charts. It is very rare today.


Bee Gees : Rare Precious and Beautiful, volume 2
Stereo (mock stereo)— UK: Polydor, November 1968; US: Atco, February 1970.

A 1 I WAS A LOVER, A LEADER OF MEN (1965)
A 2 FOLLOW THE WIND (1965)
A 3 CLAUSTROPHOBIA (1964)
A 4 THEME FROM ‘THE TRAVELS OF JAIMIE MCPHEETERS’ (1964)
A 5 EVERY DAY I HAVE TO CRY (1965)
A 6 TAKE HOLD OF THAT STAR (1963)

B 1 COULD IT BE (1964)
B 2 TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1965)
B 3 THE THREE KISSES OF LOVE (1963)
B 4 CHERRY RED (1966)
B 5 ALL OF MY LIFE (1966)
B 6 DON’T SAY GOODBYE (1964)

The second and third volumes of Rare Precious and Beautiful make no attempt at being a review of the Bee Gees’ Australian career, but simply present songs in a totally scrambled running order that left fans the world over wondering what they were listening to.

CD: All on Brilliant from Birth, Festival (Australia), in mono.


Bee Gees : single
US: Atco, December 1968.

A I STARTED A JOKE
B KILBURN TOWERS

Atco released an extra single off Idea, a good choice because ‘I Started a Joke’ became their highest ranking single yet (Billboard number 6). It was also a single in much of Europe. The Atco single used mono reductions of the stereo mix, rather than the mono mix.


Johnny Ashcroft : single
Australia: Columbia, December 1968.

A DON’T FORGET ME IDA
B THINK PINK

First recording of a late 1966 song. Johnny Ashcroft was a country singer who had an Australian number 1 in 1960 with ‘Little Boy Lost’. Although he had met Barry once in Australia, he said years later that this song simply turned up among some demos his manager was given, and that they chose it because it was a good song.

The novelty song B side turned out to be the hit.


Eine Runde Polydor
Germany: Polydor, 1968.

  GENA’S THEME

The release date is unknown. Subtitled ‘Einmalige Jubiläums-Ausgabe’, it appears to be a Jubilee celebration for Polydor, but the label’s fiftieth anniversary would be 1974.

The LP had two long medley tracks on each side containing in all contributions from thirty Polydor artists. ‘Gena’s Theme’ was the fourth part of the fourth track.


The Brigade : single
Australia: Astor, 1968.

A ALL BY MYSELF
B JOAN

Date unknown. First released version of the Maurice Gibb composition from 1966.