1972


By 1972 the Bee Gees were viewed by some of the public and critics as a veteran act from the late sixties. The brothers were of course not satisfied with this, and during this year they took steps to move on to new things.

Barry had remained a constant creative force as always, and he had now set aside the idea of a parallel solo career and was ready to devote full attention to the Bee Gees. Robin recovered from his slump of 1971 and was also ready. Maurice was still working on outside productions for Jimmy Stevens and Norman Hitchcock, and played bass on two other albums, but his extensive songwriting with Billy Lawrie came to an end.

The first album of 1972, To Whom It May Concern, was a farewell to the old Bee Gees. It was their last album recorded at IBC Studios, London, and their last work with Bill Shepherd who had guided them since 1967, and their last under their first contract with Robert Stigwood. Even some of the songs were old ones finished up or rewritten for the occasion. They said later that they did not like the album, but for many fans it is an unusually authentic Bee Gees collection, closer in spirit to what the brothers found interesting to do than what they thought they owed the public.

For the other two albums the brothers shook off the old by relocating to Los Angeles to record in a studio they had never used with people they had never worked with. The songs from these sessions are dominated by acoustic guitars and piano. The songs themselves are of mixed quality but the freshness of the sound and consistency of style hold the work together as a whole. At the end of 1972 both albums were ready for release to kick off the new RSO vanity label.


songs


PAPER MACHE, CABBAGES AND KINGS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1972

PASSPORT
any of Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

NEVER BEEN ALONE
Robin Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1972

IT’S ALL WRONG
any of Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

RUN TO ME
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
A side by Bee Gees, July 1972; album cut by Bee Gees, 1972

BAD BAD DREAMS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1972

PLEASE DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1972

I HELD A PARTY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1972

SEA OF SMILING FACES
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1972

SWEET SONG OF SUMMER
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1972

ROAD TO ALASKA
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
B side by Bee Gees, July 1972; album cut by Bee Gees, 1972

LAY DOWN AND SLEEP
any of Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE
any of Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

CRYSTAL BAY
Maurice Gibb, Billy Lawrie
A side by Steve Hodson, March 1973

SAW A NEW MORNING
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
A side by Bee Gees, January 1973; album cut by Bee Gees, 1973

I DON’T WANNA BE THE ONE
Barry Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1973

SOUTH DAKOTA MORNING
Barry Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1973

LIVING IN CHICAGO
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1973

WHILE I PLAY
Barry Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1973

MY LIFE HAS BEEN A SONG
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
B side by Bee Gees, January 1973; album cut by Bee Gees, 1973

COME HOME JOHNNY BRIDE
Barry Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1973

METHOD TO MY MADNESS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Bee Gees, 1973

ELISA
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
B side by Bee Gees, June 1973

WOULDN’T I BE SOMEONE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
A side by Bee Gees, June 1973

A LONELY VIOLIN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
album cut by Percy Sledge, 1997

LOSERS AND LOVERS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

HOME AGAIN RIVERS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

HARRY’S GATE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

ROCKY L A
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

CASTLES IN THE AIR
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
B side by Graham Bonnet, 1973

WHERE IS YOUR SISTER?
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
no record

IT DOESN’T MATTER MUCH TO ME
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
B side by Bee Gees, March 1974


recording sessions


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano, organ, mandolin
Alan Kendall — guitar
Geoff Bridgeford — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: Mike Claydon, Damion Lyon-Shaw, Richard Manwaring, Andy Knight
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
January 1972, IBC Studios, London

PAPER MACHE, CABBAGES AND KINGS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1971)
3 January 1972
stereo 4:59, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
To Whom It May Concern, 1972

PASSPORT
any of Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1971)
3 January 1972
stereo, lead vocal unknown
unreleased

Before setting out on tour the Bee Gees laid down two songs, one of which would make the album, ‘Paper Mache, Cabbages and Kings’. This is a quintessential Bee Gees number, with three-part lead vocal, solo vocal spots for Barry and Robin, Maurice all over the place instrumentally, wonderfully strange lyrics, and even their backing vocals left in place where Bill Shepherd might have arranged more orchestral parts than he does. ‘Jimmy had a bomb’ is Jimmy Stevens (see below).

This was the last Bee Gees session with Geoff Bridgeford. He left the group before their tour of East Asia, and was replaced on tour by Chris Karan.


Norman Hitchcock

Norman Hitchcock — vocal
Alan Kendall — guitar
Maurice Gibb — bass, vocal
Billy Lawrie — vocal
Geoff Bridgeford — drums
orchestra arranged by Gerry Shury
engineer: ?
producer: Maurice Gibb, Billy Lawrie
January 1972, IBC Studios, London

BABY COME ON HOME
Norman Hitchcock (1972)
17 January 1972
stereo 2:43, lead vocal Norman Hitchcock
A side, 1972

(HAVE YOU SEEN MY) ANGELINA
Norman Hitchcock, Billy Lawrie (1972)
17 January 1972
stereo 2:32, lead vocal Norman Hitchcock
B side, 1972

A second session for Norman Hitchcock. Personnel were probably the same as the first.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano, guitar, harpsichord, organ, mandolin, mellotron, Moog synthesizer
Alan Kendall — guitar
Clem Cattini — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
synthesizer engineer (‘Sweet Song of Summer’): Mike Vickers
engineer: Mike Claydon, Damon Lyon-Shaw, Richard Manwaring, Andy Knight
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
April 1972, IBC Studios, London

NEVER BEEN ALONE
Robin Gibb (1972)
10 April 1972
stereo 3:11, lead vocal Robin Gibb
To Whom It May Concern, 1972

I CAN BRING LOVE
Barry Gibb (1971)
10 April 1972
stereo 2:06, lead vocal Barry Gibb
To Whom It May Concern, 1972

IT’S ALL WRONG
any of Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
10 April 1972
stereo, lead vocal unknown
unreleased

After touring the Bee Gees now worked quickly to complete another album. They started with a song by Robin (his last solo composition until 1999!), and then one of the songs Barry did on his fan club recording from 1971. The last song is unknown.

The drummer on the April sessions was a veteran session player, Clem Cattini, who has appeared on many top recordings going back to 1960. Current tour drummer Chris Karan did not make any recordings with the Bee Gees.

RUN TO ME
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
12 April 1972
stereo 3:05, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
A side, July 1972; To Whom It May Concern, 1972

BAD BAD DREAMS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
12 April 1972
stereo 3:47, lead vocal Barry Gibb
To Whom It May Concern, 1972

PLEASE DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
12 April 1972
stereo 1:59, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
To Whom It May Concern, 1972

A good day’s work added three more songs to the album. The first one, ‘Run to Me’, was very much in the mold of the last two successful singles, a straight verse-chorus number with vocal by both Barry and Robin. For ‘Bad Bad Dreams’ they let Alan Kendall go on a loud rock number somewhat in Maurice’s style but with Barry’s strong lead vocal. Last was a short item with Barry and Robin weaving in and out of lead vocal over an instrumental backing largely by Maurice. These three songs were all credited to B R & M Gibb. The three were working tightly together again.

I HELD A PARTY
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
17 April 1972
stereo 2:35, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
To Whom It May Concern, 1972

SEA OF SMILING FACES
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
17 April 1972
stereo 3:07, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
To Whom It May Concern, 1972

SWEET SONG OF SUMMER
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
17 April 1972
stereo 5:04, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
To Whom It May Concern, 1972

Once again, the next week, three songs started and all three used. ‘Sea of Smiling Faces’ was one last conventional ballad in the style of the recent singles, this time with a nostalgic feel to it. ‘I Held a Party’ is a cheerful song about disappointment with evident contributions from all three. The last piece ‘Sweet Song of Summer’ is primarily a vehicle for Maurice to go wild on a Moog synthesizer, abetted by bizarre vocals by Barry and Robin, all built out of a relatively short song. The song, and the album to come, fades out on Maurice’s bass guitar riff.

ROAD TO ALASKA
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
21 April 1972
stereo 2:38, lead vocal Robin Gibb
B side, July 1972; To Whom It May Concern, 1972

LAY DOWN AND SLEEP
any of Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
21 April 1972
stereo, lead vocal unknown
unreleased

This session completed songs for To Whom It May Concern. ‘Road to Alaska’ was the last of Maurice’s swamp rock series, this time sung by Robin. It almost had to be a B side as usual, but it also made it onto the album. The other song is unknown.

Bill Shepherd did not work with the Bee Gees after 1972. For the next few years he continued to work as an arranger and producer in London, often at IBC, with Mike Claydon as engineer. Among the clients were well-established French singers recording in England. Bill’s work with Michel Delpech in 1972 and 1973 quickly got him a French number 1 single ‘Les Divorcés’. Bill was known especially for fine string arrangements, and other French singers came to record with him, such as Julien Clerc in 1973. He arranged the music for the French animated film Les Trois Mousquetaires and the accompanying soundtrack album by Michel Polnareff in 1974. He was musical director for a Marianne Faithfull session at IBC in September 1975, when she recorded ‘Dreamin’ My Dreams’ and ‘Lady Madeleine’ (released November 1975 on NEMS, UK). In the late 1970s Bill spent a few years working in Germany, and then moved to southern California by about 1980. Nat Kipner, also relocated to the area, saw him sometimes and recalls his love of cigars and liquor. In L A Bill did arrangements for film and television productions. He died in 1988. The Bee Gees owed him a lot.


Jimmy Stevens

Jimmy Stevens — vocal, piano
Alan Kendall — guitar
Heydon Jones — drums (‘Tears (Behind My Eyes)’, ‘When You Grow Up’, ‘High Heel Blues’, ‘Tailpieces’)
John Bonham as ‘Gemini’— drums (‘Don’t Freak Me Out’, ‘Is It Me Babe’)
Maurice Gibb — bass, organ
Billy Lawrie — vocal (‘High Heel Blues’)
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: Robin Black, Paul Tregurtha
producer: Maurice Gibb
April 1972, Morgan Studio, London

TEARS (BEHIND MY EYES)
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 2:46, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972

WHEN YOU GROW UP
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 3:36, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972

HIGH HEEL BLUES
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 3:21, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
A side, 1972; Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972

TAILPIECES
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 3:02, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
B side, 1972

DON’T FREAK ME OUT
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 4:00, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972

IS IT ME BABE
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 3:28, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972

SWEET CHILD OF MINE
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 3:02, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972

Jimmy Stevens recalls that his entire album was done in two sessions. For this first one he was to be accompanied by Alan Kendall and Maurice’s friend John Bonham from Led Zeppelin. Bonham was busy elsewhere at the start of the session and a drummer called Heydon Jones was hired quickly to fill in. The songs were recorded with Jimmy singing and playing piano at the same time, Alan playing acoustic guitar, and Heydon or John on drums. Jimmy and the engineer were very happy with the results. In particular John Bonham’s powerful drumming touched off a impassioned performance by Jimmy on ‘Don’t Freak Me Out’, which would be the English title song to the album. Jimmy and the engineer were very happy with the sound of these tracks.

Maurice was there supervising the session, but he did not play together with them. Later he added bass to all but ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ (which is just Jimmy with orchestra), organ on ‘Don’t Freak Me Out’, keyboard on ‘When You Grow Up’, and Bill Shepherd orchestration to three songs. Alan’s acoustic guitar was just about mixed out, but he or Maurice added electric rhythm guitar to ‘High Heel Blues’. All this tinkering changed the raw feel of the basic tracks.


Jimmy Stevens

Jimmy Stevens — vocal, piano
Peter Frampton — guitar
Mike Kellie as ‘Kellie’— drums
Maurice Gibb — bass, vocal
Julian Gaillard — violin (‘You’re the One I Want to Grow Old With’)
Chris Hughes — sax (‘You Are There’)
orchestra arranged by Gerry Shury
engineer: Robin Black, Paul Tregurtha
producer: Maurice Gibb
May 1972, Morgan Studios, London

PAID MY DUES
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 4:46, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972

GIRL FROM DENVER
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 4:07, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972

YOU ARE THERE
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 4:38, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972

YOU’RE THE LADY I WANT TO GROW OLD WITH
Jimmy Stevens (1971)
undated 1972
stereo 4:00, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972

BYE BYE, LOVE
Felice Bryant, Boudleaux Bryant (1957)
undated 1972
stereo 3:56, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
Don’t Freak Me Out, 1972
stereo (long version) 4:59, lead vocal Jimmy Stevens
unreleased

The second session for Jimmy Stevens was conducted the same way as the first but with different musicians. Jimmy sang and played accompanied now by Peter Frampton on acoustic guitar and Mike Kellie on drums. Peter played electric guitar instead on the rocking ‘Bye Bye Love’ and added electric guitar to two others. Peter, late of Humble Pie, recorded his first solo album Wind of Change around this time, and Mike Kellie, late of Spooky Tooth, was the drummer on it (and the Bee Gees’ tour drummer Chris Karan played percussion).

Maurice again added bass afterwards. Orchestration was this time by Gerry Shury, his last documented work with Maurice, with credited sax and violin for two songs. This completed Jimmy’s album.


Mike Berry
Bob Saker

Mike Berry — vocal
Bob Saker — vocal
Mike Morgan — guitar
Laurie Steel — guitar
Terry Drummond — guitar
Pete Willsher — steel guitar
Fiachra Trench — keyboards
Brian Dee — keyboards
Maurice Gibb — bass
Mike Thorn — bass
Harold Fisher — drums
George Jeffrey — drums
Robin Jones — percussion
Tony Uter — percussion
Peter Ransome — vocal
engineer: Adrian Ibertson, Eric Holland
producer: Jack Winsley
1972, England

TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS
William Danoff, Taffy Nivert, John Denver (1971)
undated
stereo 3:09, lead vocal Mike Berry
Drift Away, 1973

YANKEE LADY
Jesse Winchester (1970)
undated
stereo 4:06, lead vocal Mike Berry
Drift Away, 1973

ON TIME
Maurice Gibb (1971)
undated
stereo 3:01, lead vocal Mike Berry
Drift Away, 1973

FAMILY SUNDAY MORNING
Bob Saker (1972)
undated
stereo 2:52, lead vocal Bob Saker
B side, June 1973; They’ve Taken Back My Number, 1973

SPIGGY BOOKER BACK DOOR JACK AND ME
Bob Saker (1972)
undated
stereo 3:08, lead vocal Bob Saker
A side, September 1972; They’ve Taken Back My Number, 1973

LATER WITH YOU (BIG TIME MAN)
Bob Saker, Jack Winsley (1972)
undated
stereo 3:47, lead vocal Bob Saker
B side, September 1972; They’ve Taken Back My Number, 1973

DO YOU REMEMBER JOHNNY
Bob Saker (1972)
undated
stereo 3:53, lead vocal Bob Saker
They’ve Taken Back My Number, 1973

LONG WAY WE GOTTA GO
Bob Saker (1972)
undated
stereo 3:22, lead vocal Bob Saker
They’ve Taken Back My Number, 1973

The independent label York Records released two albums the same day in June 1973, one by Mike Berry and the other by Bob Saker. Both albums featured exactly the same lineup of musicians, and each featured artist sang backup vocals on the other’s album. The multiple credits per instrument suggested that at least two sets of sessions had been involved. Maurice played bass on some of the songs— but which ones? The credits do not say. The songs shown above have bass playing very much in Maurice’s style, but he may have played on additional songs.

‘On Time’ was the only Gibb-written song on the two albums. Mike Berry’s version is in the style of the Bee Gees version, with a little more guitar and no strings. Mike started his recording career in 1961 with producer Joe Meek, doing rock and roll songs. In the 1970s he began working as an actor in addition to intermittent work recording and performing music. Drift Away was his first album, after eighteen singles. He sings in a strong baritone, country with a rock and roll edge to it.

Bob Saker wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on his album. One of them, ‘509’, is on both albums but in different arrangements. Bob’s songs are in a more mainstream pop style somewhat like the Bee Gees. Maurice had worked with Bob occasionally since 1971, and that friendship was probably how he became involved in these sessions.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano
Alan Kendall — guitar
unknown — drums
orchestra arranged by Bill Shepherd
engineer: ?
producer: Robert Stigwood and the Bee Gees
July 1972, IBC Studios, London

THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
10 July 1972
stereo, lead vocal unknown
unreleased

The To Whom It May Concern album was compiled into final form just days earlier than this on July 7, so the Bee Gees must have intended this unknown song for some other purpose. A note in a fan magazine suggests it was for a proposed film that the Gibb brothers would appear in.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — vocal, guitar
Robin Gibb — vocal
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano, keyboard, guitar
Alan Kendall — guitar
Jim Keltner — drums
Sneeky Pete Kleinow — steel guitar (‘South Dakota Morning’, ‘Come Home Johnnie Bride’)
Tommy Morgan — harmonica (‘South Dakota Morning’, ‘My Life Has Been a Song’)
Jerome Richardson — flute (‘Living in Chicago’)
Rik Grech — violin, bass (‘While I Play’)
Jane Getz — piano (‘Come Home Johnny Bride’)
orchestra arranged by Johnny Pate
engineer: Mike Stone, Chuck Leary
producer: Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
September 1972, The Record Plant, Los Angeles

SAW A NEW MORNING
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 4:24, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
A side, January 1973; Life in a Tin Can, 1973

I DON’T WANNA BE THE ONE
Barry Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 4:05, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
Life in a Tin Can, 1973

SOUTH DAKOTA MORNING
Barry Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 2:25, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Life in a Tin Can, 1973

LIVING IN CHICAGO
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 5:39, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Life in a Tin Can, 1973

WHILE I PLAY
Barry Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 4:28, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Life in a Tin Can, 1973

MY LIFE HAS BEEN A SONG
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 4:21, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
B side, January 1973; Life in a Tin Can, 1973

COME HOME JOHNNY BRIDE
Barry Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 3:50, lead vocal Barry Gibb
Life in a Tin Can, 1973

METHOD TO MY MADNESS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 3:10, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Life in a Tin Can, 1973

This was the Life in a Tin Can album.

No recording dates are available for these sessions, so the songs are listed above in the order they appeared on the album. The best clue to the approximate date is that Robin had to leave the sessions suddenly when his son was born a month early. That date was September 21. Atlantic Records’ log dates the whole album as September 22, as if they had called off work when Robin left, but this is not necessarily true. Robin returned to Los Angeles a week or so later to continue on into the next album, so they may have added more to this one. The stereo master of the album is dated November 22, and tape reels with the 16-track masters of each side are, strangely, dated November 28.

Arranger Johnny Pate is a well-respected jazz musician and arranger whose professional career dates to 1946. He was originally a bass player, and worked for Duke Ellington for a time, but by the late 1950s he was in more demand as an arranger and producer. During the 1960s he worked on rhythm and blues records, producing a few albums for B B King. In 1972 he had recently relocated to Los Angeles to break into film music. The Bee Gees session may have been a routine assignment, or perhaps not, since there are signs of him giving more to it than that. He must have spent some time on the arrangement and dynamics of ‘Saw a New Morning’, even though on other songs the strings are just sweetening. Johnny may have been the one who recruited two jazz and pop musicians, Jane Getz and Jerome Richardson.

Jim Keltner is a top session drummer who has been on many recordings since the 1960s, including John Lennon’s Imagine album in 1971. Sneeky or Sneaky Pete Kleinow played steel guitar on many albums made in Los Angeles, and was later a member of the Flying Burrito Brothers. Tommy Morgan was a legendary harmonica player who started recording in 1950. Rik Grech, who plays both bass and violin on ‘While I Play’ (Maurice plays a dirty electric guitar part instead of bass), had been in the RSO group Blind Faith, and was now in Los Angeles recording with Gram Parsons.

The standout here is ‘Saw a New Morning’, which has just hints of the old Bee Gees inside a new sound for them. The alternating soft and loud sections sounded even better live than as slightly compressed for LP. Maurice plays the bass part on electric piano, with Jim’s drums providing a good thump. The solo lines by Barry and Robin are well used, and all three give it a loud chorus. Alan plays some fine guitar along with Barry and possibly Maurice.

On the rest of the album, at too many points the Bee Gees seem to lose their direction, with Tin Pan Alley pathetic lyrics, or overblown arrangements, or meaningless repeats of verses. This may have been a necessary part of working out a new style. What’s interesting is that they mostly broke free of these problems within weeks, on the second album they did in Los Angeles. Meanwhile on this one, listeners wonder why a good song like ‘South Dakota Morning’ could not have been arranged more simply, or why the musically successful length of ‘Living in Chicago’ is let down by a poverty of lyrics. So close. They do reasonably well on Barry’s two country numbers ‘While I Play’ and ‘Come Home Johnny Bride’ and the slow dance ‘Method to My Madness’.


Bee Gees

Barry Gibb — guitar, vocal
Robin Gibb — vocal
Maurice Gibb — vocal, bass, piano, guitar
Alan Kendall — guitar
possibly Jim Keltner — drums
others unknown
orchestra arranged by Jimmie Haskell
engineer: ?
producer: Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
October 1972, The Record Plant, Los Angeles

ELISA
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 2:48, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Barry Gibb
B side, June 1973

WOULDN’T I BE SOMEONE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 5:39, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
A side, June 1973

A LONELY VIOLIN
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 3:08, lead vocal Barry Gibb
unreleased

LOSERS AND LOVERS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 3:18, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
unreleased

HOME AGAIN RIVERS
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 3:14, lead vocal Robin Gibb
unreleased

HARRY’S GATE
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 3:27, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
unreleased

ROCKY L A
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 3:43, lead vocal Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb
unreleased

CASTLES IN THE AIR
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 3:31, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
unreleased

WHERE IS YOUR SISTER?
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 3:07, lead vocal Barry Gibb
unreleased

IT DOESN’T MATTER MUCH TO ME
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb (1972)
undated 1972
stereo 4:26, lead vocal Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Gotta Get a Message to You, 1974

This was the unreleased album generally known as A Kick in the Head Is Worth Eight in the Pants but at first known as The Bee Gees Album. The recording dates are not known, so the songs are listed above in the order in which they would have appeared on the album. The songs must have been completed by the first week of November, because two reels with the 16-track masters of each side are dated November 6. Oddly, this is more than two weeks before the date for the Life in a Tin Can masters. So, they had two complete albums awaiting release by the end of November 1972. Interestingly and uncharacteristically, there are no known outtakes from any of this work in Los Angeles.

Jimmie Haskell, a veteran arranger for traditional pop albums and a composer and arranger for film scores, did the orchestral arrangements for this second album. He recalls being given instrumental tracks with mostly scat singing or no singing. The Bee Gees were therefore following the same procedure they had used in England. They fitted the orchestra snugly into the recording by adding vocals and other dubs afterwards.

The drummer might again be Jim Keltner. No other guest musicians are known for these sessions. It sounds like just Barry and Maurice with lead guitar (Alan), drums, and orchestra.

The leadoff single ‘Wouldn’t I Be Someone’ is excellent, especially at full length. The long chorus extended by an instrumental section is a new idea, and the extended end piece is actually reminiscent of ‘Odessa’ but with electric guitar. But even so it hardly stands out because all of side 1 is very strong. ‘Elisa’ and ‘A Lonely Violin’ are fine piano ballads, ‘Losers and Lovers’ is a good uptempo song with intriguing lyrics, and ‘Home Again Rivers’ is a countryish guitar story song. ‘Elisa’ has lead vocal by all three, and Maurice’s verse is his only lead on any of the Los Angeles sessions.

‘Harry’s Gate’ was real, something the Gibb brothers swung on as children. The words and music together capture a nostalgic mood for childhood gone, unexpected in writers still in their twenties. It’s quite an affecting song. Some of the lyric continues in ‘Rocky L A’, the loud guitar number of the album. The last three are a little more standard Bee Gees than the innovations of the rest of the album, but they are well done. Most fans who have heard it consider this the better of the two albums.


selected record releases


Bee Gees : single
UK: Polydor, January 1972; US: Atco, January 1972

A MY WORLD
B ON TIME

Top Twenty in the US and UK. Both sides were not on the next album.

CD: ‘My World’ on Best of Bee Gees volume 2. Both on Tales from the Brothers Gibb.


The Bloomfields : single
UK: Pye, January 1972.

A THE LONER
B HOMING IN ON THE NEXT TRADE WIND

Bloomfield
UK: Pye, January 1972.

  THE LONER

The Hero
US: Capitol, September 1972.

  THE LONER

‘The Loner’ is sung by Billy Lawrie and Maurice, with Maurice on guitars and bass and producing. It was recorded in 1970 for the film called Bloomfield in Britain and The Hero in the United States. (Maurice recorded another version of the song in 1969 for his never-released solo album.)

In the UK there was also a single by ‘The Bloomfields’ with two songs from the film. The two songs have nothing else in common. ‘Homing In on the Next Trade Wind’ is by a group called Heads, Hands and Feet. In the US, Capitol issued a single by Heads, Hands and Feet with two songs they did on the soundtrack, ‘Hail the Conquering Hero’ / ‘Homing In on the Next Trade Wind’.

CD: ‘The Loner’ on Maybe Someone is Digging Underground, Sanctuary (UK). The soundtrack album itself has also been issued on CD.


Norman Hitchcock : single
UK: Polydor, February 1972.

A JUST ANOTHER MINUTE
B ONE WHEEL MY WAGON

Maurice and Billy Lawrie produced and sing backup vocals, and Maurice plays bass.


Jimmy Stevens : single
UK: Atlantic, 1972; US: RSO, January 1973.

A HIGH HEEL BLUES
B TAILPIECES

Maurice produced, and plays bass and organ. The release date is not known. Both sides were not on Jimmy’s forthcoming album. The single was issued later in the US on the new RSO label when Jimmy toured there with the Bee Gees.


Richard Harris : single
UK: Probe, June 1972; US: Dunhill, 1972

A TURNING BACK THE PAGES
B HALF OF EVERY DREAM

The B side ‘Half of Every Dream’ was one of the recordings Maurice made for Richard Harris in 1971, and the only one ever released. Maurice is credited on the label as producer and arranger.


Bee Gees : single
UK: Polydor, July 1972; US: Atco, July 1972

A RUN TO ME
B ROAD TO ALASKA

Top Twenty in the US and UK. From the forthcoming album.

CD: Both on To Whom It May Concern.


Jimmy Stevens : single
UK: Atlantic, 1972.

A DON’T FREAK ME OUT
B TEARS (BEHIND MY EYES)

Jimmy Stevens : Don’t Freak Me Out
UK: Atlantic, 1972.

A 1 PAID MY DUES
A 2 TEARS (BEHIND MY EYES)
A 3 WHEN YOU GROW UP
A 4 GIRL FROM DENVER
A 5 BYE BYE, LOVE

B 1 YOU ARE THERE
B 2 DON’T FREAK ME OUT
B 3 IS IT ME BABE
B 4 SWEET CHILD OF MINE
B 5 YOU’RE THE LADY I WANT TO GROW OLD WITH

Jimmy Stevens’s only album, as released in Britain. It was released in the US the next year with one song different. Maurice produced and plays bass.


Mike Berry : single
UK: York, September 1972.

A DRIFT AWAY
B KEEP MY EYES ON THE ROAD

Possibly Maurice on bass. ‘Drift Away’ would be made famous by Dobie Gray about six months after Mike’s version.


Bob Saker : single
UK: York, September 1972.

A SPIGGY BOOKER BACK DOOR JACK AND ME
B LATER WITH YOU (BIG TIME MAN)

Maurice plays bass on the A side, judging by the sound of it, and Bob Saker said in 2005 that Maurice is on the single, suggesting both sides. Released the same time as the Mike Berry single.


Bee Gees : To Whom It May Concern
UK: Polydor, October 1972; US: Atco, October 1972

A 1 RUN TO ME
A 2 WE LOST THE ROAD
A 3 NEVER BEEN ALONE
A 4 PAPER MACHE, CABBAGES AND KINGS
A 5 I CAN BRING LOVE
A 6 I HELD A PARTY
A 7 PLEASE DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS

B 1 SEA OF SMILING FACES
B 2 BAD BAD DREAMS
B 3 ALIVE
B 4 YOU KNOW IT’S FOR YOU
B 5 ROAD TO ALASKA
B 6 SWEET SONG OF SUMMER

The Bee Gees’ farewell to the old, bring in the new. The front cover shows them performing in Japan early in 1972, and the back shows them in 1963. The LP had a gatefold with the photographed heads of many business associates and family members on a drawing of the Bee Gees and a band. The band shows Barry, Robin, Maurice, Alan Kendall, and tour drummer Chris Karan (who is not on the album), with Bill Shepherd conducting the orchestra.

Some early UK copies of the album omitted ‘Run to Me’. An an alternate sequence appeared in some publicity materials:

ALIVE
I CAN BRING LOVE
BAD BAD DREAMS
I HELD A PARTY
SEA OF SMILING FACES
ROAD TO ALASKA
RUN TO ME

PAPER MACHE, CABBAGES AND KINGS
WE LOST THE ROAD
YOU KNOW IT’S FOR YOU
NEVER BEEN ALONE
PLEASE DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
SWEET SONG OF SUMMER

CD: All on To Whom It May Concern.


Tin Tin : single
UK: Polydor, October 1972; US: Polydor, October 1972.

A TALKING TURKEY
B THE CAVALRY’S COMING

Maurice produced ‘Talkin’ Turkey’ when it was recorded in 1970 by the second Tin Tin lineup, the one that included its co-writer Geoff Bridgeford. The single however says the song was produced by Tin Tin and Robin Turner, so is this the 1970 recording or a remake? The B side is from the 1971 album Astral Taxi.


Norman Hitchcock : single
UK: RCA, 1972.

A BABY COME ON HOME
B (HAVE YOU SEEN MY) ANGELINA

Norman Hitchcock’s second single. Maurice and Billy Lawrie produced and sing backup vocals, and Maurice plays bass.


Bee Gees : single
UK: Polydor, November 1972; US: Atco, October 1972

A ALIVE
B PAPER MACHE, CABBAGES AND KINGS

Not a successful single. Barely Top Forty in the US, nothing in the UK. Fans had both songs on the new album.

CD: Both on To Whom It May Concern.


Bee Gees : Massachusetts
UK: Contour, 1972

A 1 MASSACHUSETTS (1967)
A 2 TOMORROW TOMORROW (1969)
A 3 SIR GEOFFREY SAVED THE WORLD (1967)
A 4 SINKING SHIPS (1968)
A 5 SWEETHEART (1970)
A 6 THE SINGER SANG HIS SONG (1968)

B 1 NEW YORK MINING DISASTER 1941 (1967)
B 2 LAMPLIGHT (1969)
B 3 ON TIME (1972)
B 4 BARKER OF THE UFO (1967)
B 5 CLOSE ANOTHER DOOR (1967)
B 6 THE LORD (1969)

Contour was Polydor’s budget label. Each side of this album starts with a well-known song, but the real focus here is on B sides, including some rare non-album B sides: ‘Barker of the UFO’, ‘Sir Geoffrey Saved the World’, ‘Sinking Ships’, ‘The Singer Sang His Song’, and ‘On Time’. The A side ‘Tomorrow Tomorrow’ made its first LP appearance in Britain too. All these titles except ‘On Time’ were mono reprocessed to simulate stereo. This did not exhaust the supply of rare single sides, but it was a nice collection just the same.


Co
Co. US: Playboy Records, 1972.

  SUMMER ENDS

One of Barry’s solo songs from 1970 was finally released by this easy-listening vocal group (probably pronounced ‘company’) on their only album. Yes, Playboy magazine had a record label for a time. The singers were David Stuart, Jack Moran, and Joe Croyle. The release date is unknown except that it was 1972.