I’m sort of the ‘go to’ guy when it comes to the early Bee Gees, by which I mean pre-Saturday Night Fever. If you want to discuss the band’s music before 1976, I’m something of an expert.
Back in 1967, when I was only nine years old, a neighbor friend turned me on to the Bee Gees and I fell hard for their first album (aptly titled “Bee Gees 1st”). I loved the album so much that it could claim single-handed responsibility for temporarily distracting me from the Beatles and in many ways replacing the Monkees as my favorite band of interest. I was obsessive over Barry, Robin and Maurice, and even their bandmates, who always remained mysterious to me. I bought everything they released, including the goofy Australian recordings from their adolescent years, and played their albums and singles relentlessly.
It’s those Australian recordings that made the miracle of the ‘first’ album seem even more incredible. After all, most of the Australian stuff was juvenile and sounded dated even in (actually, especially in) 1967. The brothers Gibb moved to England to kick-start an international presence (thus the title ‘Bee Gees 1st’, although they already had a few lp’s under their belt in Australia), but the growth that took place on that ocean voyage seems almost impossible to comprehend.
This album portrays the three brothers in full control of their powers as vocalists, songwriters, arrangers and tastemakers. It may sound like an exaggeration, but in 1967, I absolutely believed – as I still do – that “Bee Gees 1st” is the best psychedelic album of 1967, after “Sgt. Pepper,” and twice as soulful. I felt that way at the age of nine, and fifty years on, I still feel the same.
July 1967 - Billboard Charted #7
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