Each page covers one year. It is divided into three parts: a list of songs created that year; descriptions of recording sessions; and a list of selected record releases. A song written, recorded, and released will appear three times.
Version 1 of Gibb Songs was arranged by album groups, and it put songs, sessions, and releases all in one list. The concept was of albums with bonus cuts. This however forced listing the songs in one order, sometimes obscuring relationships of songs written or recorded together but recorded or released at different times. The new three-part arrangement of version 2 should clarify some things.
Sources of information besides the records themselves include published articles and books, print and broadcast interviews, copyright registrations, record company files, tapes circulating among fans, and interviews with artists and others involved with the recordings. I have not personally heard all of these songs, especially not all the unreleased ones, but I have tried to evaluate the available sources of information and reach reasonable conclusions.
While I intend this information to be as accurate as possible, most of it is not authoritatively documented anywhere, and I have been obliged to make many judgement calls about what the ‘facts’ are. In other words, I suppose that some of the statements presented here are wrong. Further investigation and input from more people will bring it gradually closer to accuracy.
The songs section lists every song written by Barry, Robin, or Maurice Gibb during the year covered. It shows alternate titles and variant listings of songwriters. The first released version of each song is shown, or the words ‘no record’ show that no version was ever released.
The recording sessions section lists every recording session in which Barry, Robin, or Maurice Gibb sang, played an instrument, or produced. Many of these were performed by the Bee Gees, some by Barry or Robin or Maurice, and many by other artists. Songs written by the Gibb brothers are shown in Bright Red, other songs they sang or played on in Dull Red, and other songs simply in Black. Some additional sessions they attended may not be listed.
The selected record releases section includes the first released version of songs written or songs recorded, as in the previous two sections. It also includes the more important collections of previously released material, referenced by year to the original release. Songs are coded in Bright Red and Dull Red as in the recording sessions section. Sometimes songs the brothers had nothing to do with are listed in Grey just to clarify what is on a disk. This section does not include every single or collection released in every country— that is why it is is called ‘selected’. In general it covers Australian releases from 1963 to 1967, and UK and US releases from 1967 onwards, with occasional listings from other countries when they seemed worth noting (mostly when they contain rare songs).
There are many, many additional recordings of songs written by the Gibb brothers. The most popular of their songs have been recorded hundreds of times. I am not trying to list all of those. The rule for inclusion here is that the recording is the first version released, or that one or more of the Gibb brothers participated in making the recording.
The Bee Gees’ younger brother Andy Gibb is an exception to the rules. Most of his recordings would be covered as written by or recorded with Barry Gibb anyway, but beyond that, all of his other recordings are included as well.
I began something like this work as early as 1972, when I was trying to figure out just how many Bee Gees songs were out there. I’d been collecting Bee Gees since the start of 1969, after hearing songs from Odessa on free-form WNEW-FM in New York (some readers may have listened to Rosko in the evening). The albums were easy enough, especially at that time with all of them back to First still in the catalog, although I wished I understood the right order to those four years’ worth of Australian songs. Once I started finding non-album B sides and even A sides, I began a checklist, and did a little reading in old issues of Billboard and English music papers on microfilm. Some of the notes I made have survived all the way to these web pages. So, I’m an historian. I had fun.
The Authorized Biography by David Leaf came along in 1979 with a very nice discography by Saul Davis that helped me a great deal. But after that, my work on a Bee Gees discography slacked off by the late 1980s. What reawakened my interest was the World Wide Web, which in my job at Columbia University’s Center for Computing Activities I was encouraged to learn something about. I needed something to put on a personal web page, and the Bee Gees material was one of the things that came to mind. I had one of the very first Bee Gees pages on the web, in 1993.
The first Internet mailing list for the Bee Gees was started by Grant Walters in January 1995, and has continued as the Words list under Chris Mathis since May 1996. These lists and the Bee Gees newsgroup established in summer 1995 brought me into contact with an increasing number of other fans worldwide. Some of them, and some others who simply found my web pages, have given very valuable assistance in correcting errors and adding new songs and information that I would not have found myself, and I am very grateful to them and the list owners for their efforts. My goal is for these pages to be accurate, and a help to other fans who want to identify songs. If you know more about something or other, please let me know.
on to Acknowledgements