Here I go again. I’m on one of my kicks again! So beware. During the month of February, I was all about hip hop. I read two books on the subject, which is nearly typical of me. But, it looks like I am diving into 70s and 80s pop music again. All of this began with the arrival of a biography of the late, great George Michael. So, the digging began. All of which lead me to my royal Australian-through-the-United-Kingdom, the four Gibb Brothers. The older trio, eldest Barry and the middle twins Robin and Maurice, became the Bee Gees. Several years later, a younger brother came along as a solo act, with the option of eventually joining his older brothers. That brother’s name was Andy.
In a cruel twist of fate, Andy was a shooting star that burnt brightly and quickly, who, unfortunately, died at a very young age in the late 1980s. Then, just as nostalgia seemed to be building around the original older brothers, the younger of the twins, Maurice, was struck down at the relative young age of 53. But, the fate of the most successful group of the 70s was about to be dealt a huge blow as the older twin, Robin, died unexpectedly in 2012. Still, Maurice has persevered. Last year, he released a fine solo album, that I am certain would have been a huge Bee Gees comeback album, much like the Monkees had earlier.
You know what? The Bee Gees had nine #1 hits, eight of which came between 1975 and 1979. Add to that total, Andy Gibb’s three #1 hits during that time period, and you have a hit machine that scored eleven #1 hits in five years. Now, if we were to throw in Barry’s production work, the brothers would have been responsible for several more #1 hits. All of this means that those of us who cared during that time period were witnessing something along the lines of the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
So, today, thanks to the website musicvf.com, which assigns every Top 100 hit an artist had a number value based upon the number at which the song stopped during its journey. The higher the song places, the more points it amasses. Likewise, the longer a hit stays at a position. I then went through the hits of the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb. Then I took each songs’ total values to aide me in ranking the songs of the Brothers Gibb.
Let me begin by saying that I am shocked by the number of terrific songs that came out of these talented guys. And, of course, there are so many fantastic singles that did not make this list. Missing are songs like the Bee Gees’ “Fanny (Be Tender with My Love)” (1975) and “New York Mining Disaster 1941” (1967), Robin Gibb’s solo hits like “Boys Do Fall in Love” (1984) and the Beatles cover of “Oh Darlin'” (1978) and Andy Gibb’s “Time Is Time” (1980).
Okay! Enough of my tomfoolery! Let’s make a countdown!
25. “Alone” – Bee Gees (1997 – Still Waters). This was the last US Top 40 hit for trio. #28
24. “You Win Again” – Bee Gees (1987 – E.S.P.). This song was one of the few songs the Bee Gees had in the Top 100. #75
23. “Run to Me” – Bee Gees (1972 – To Whom It May Concern). This Top 20 hit from the Bee Gees mid-70s doldrums. #16
22. “Nights on Broadway” – Bee Gees (1975 – Main Course). This is the Bee Gees most underrated song. #7
21. “One” – Bee Gees (1989 – One). The brothers found the magic one last time in the late 80s with their last Top 10 hit. #7
20. “I Started a Joke” – Bee Gees (1968 – Idea). In the late 1960s, the Bee Gees were often confused with the Beatles, like with this song. #6
19. “(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away” – Andy Gibb (1978 – Shadow Dancing). Here is Andy’s first 0f six entries in this list. #9.
18. “Lonely Days” (1970 – 2 Years On). The Bee Gees’ Beatlesque song was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic. #3.
17. “Desire” – Andy Gibb (1980 – After Dark). This is Andy’s last Top 10 hit. #4
16. “Love So Right” – Bee Gees (1976 – Children of the World). This hit came during the Bee Gees’ second run of success. #3
15. “(The Light Went Out in) Massachusetts” – Bee Gees (1967 – Horizontal). What?!?! This one did not even make the Top 10! (Psst! It was huge in Britain) #11
14. “An Everlasting Love” – Andy Gibb (1978 – Shadow Dancing). I gotta admit this song is my favorite one by Andy. #5
13. “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” – Bee Gees (1968 – Idea). Yet, another Top 10 hit during the band’s first run of hits. #8
12. “Love You Inside Out” – Bee Gees (1979 – Spirits Having Flown). Here we go, the first of the number one hits. #1
11. “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water” – Andy Gibb (1977 – Flowing Rivers) Of Andy’s #1 songs, this is the weakest, in my opinion. #1
10. “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” – Bee Gees (1971 – Trafalgar). This was the brothers’ first #1 hit.
9. “Jive Talkin'” – Bee Gees (1975 – Main Course). This song started off the Bee Gees’ greatest run of hit songs.
8. “You Should Be Dancing” – Bee Gees (1976 – Children of the World). This is the Bee Gees’ best disco song, not the stuff from Saturday Night Fever. #1
7. “Shadow Dancing” – Andy Gibb (1978 – Shadow Dancing) Even though this song had a long stranglehold on the number one position in 1978, it was NOT the number one song of that year. Right! That honor went to his brothers.
6. “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” – Andy Gibb (1977 – Flowing River). This song WAS the number one song of 1977. #1
5. “Tragedy” – Bee Gees (1979 – Spirits Having Flown). I think the record company tried to hold this song back to improve sales, but “Tragedy” would not be held back. There is nothing like an anthemic pop song with a touch of disco and a whole lot of bombast. Just think what this song would song like if Queen had recorded it. #1
4. “Too Much Heaven” – Bee Gees (1978 – Spirits Having Flown). So, the Bee Gees were going to follow the game plan used with Saturday Night Fever: Release a grooving ballad first, then hit ’em over the head with an anthem. This song was the lovey-dovey disco ballad. #1
3. “Stayin’ Alive” – Bee Gees (1977 – Saturday Night Fever OST). I think more people associate this song with disco than nearly any song this side of “Y.M.C.A.” This song is associated with the movie’s iconic scene where John Travolta is walking down the sidewalk.
2. “How Deep Is Your Love” – Bee Gees (1977 – Saturday Night Fever OST). This disco ballad is the song that re-ignited the whole disco movement and allowed disco to move into the mainstream.
1. “Night Fever” – Bee Gees (1978 – Saturday Night Fever OST). This is THE disco song of all Bee Gee disco songs. The song would even stand on it’s own even if it had not been included on that iconic soundtrack. Both “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever” are the memorable songs of the soundtrack.
Well, folks, that’s wrap on the Gibb family. I feel like they are an underappreciated set of artists in rock history. You can hear their influence throughout 80s pop, such as George Michael’s outstanding pop gems, up to and including today’s prefabricated cookie cutter studio hits. Still, can you imagine how the Bee Gees would have sounded if they had become a quartet and tragedy had not struck the family three times.