1968 Bee Gees – Words
The Bee Gees became such a huge group in the seventies that it’s easy to forget how their singles struggled in the US in the mid-sixties. Their first four singles from their first two US albums stalled between #11 and #17 on the Hot 100, and their fifth single (World b/w Sir Geoffrey Saved The World) didn’t even reach the Hot 100 at all.
Their next single, Words, came out in early 1968. The record featured Barry singing lead and only reached #15 on the Hot 100 before fading from the chart. Their recording is notable for the compressor/limiter effect on the piano that gave it a unique sound.
The group toured with the song and appeared on countless television shows, including a live performance of the song on The Ed Sullivan Show. Barry sang the song as a solo performance during many of the group’s live concerts.
The group’s next single, Jumbo backed with The Singer Sang His Song, only reached #57 on the Hot 100 and #20 in the UK. The group had two top ten hits later in the year, and one more single that peaked at #37 in 1969.
Robin became upset with the selection of the singles the group was releasing. He complained that songs with him singing lead vocals were being overlooked in preference to songs that featured Barry. Robin left the group to pursue a solo career. It would be early 1971 before the group reformed and found their way back onto the top forty in the US.
Robin and Maurice have both died, leaving Barry to record on his own. He released a new album in early 2021 that finally allowed him to concentrate on Country music. Greenfields included a County remake of Words, a duet with Dolly Parton.
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