The Bee Gees “Bee Gees 1st”

Long before they were known as the kings of Disco, the Bee Gees were master craftsmen of some of the greatest pop-rock the late ‘60s and early ‘70s had to offer. First rumored to be The Beatles under an alias (“Bee Gees” = “Beatles Group,” get it?), the Bee Gees exploded in the North American market in the late summer of 1967 with this album (their first US Top 10 album), and three Top 20 singles:  “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” “To Love Somebody” (originally meant to be recorded for the late great Otis Redding), and “Holiday.”  The Brothers Gibb were well on their way to international superstardom.

On first listen, Bee Gees 1st plays like a wonderful, lost baroque-pop album, which isn’t far from the truth. The opening track, “Turn Of The Century,” with its lush orchestration and classic vocals from the Brothers Gibb, will immediately have the listener waiting for more. The hits, as previously mentioned, are here of course, but the remaining tracks are what give this album its enduring appeal; the record embodies the sweet sounds of the summer of ’67.  The psych-pop weirdness of “Red Chair, Fade Away” to the Pepper-esque “Every Christian Lion-Hearted Man Will Show You” reveal the Bee Gees at their most versatile and most talented. 1st is full of tunes that will make you smile, whether out of pure joy or bittersweet introspection.

1967 was one hell of a year for popular music.  Think of all the amazing and influential albums that were released that year – Sgt. Pepper’s, Surrealistic Pillow, The Doors S/T, Disraeli Gears; the list goes on and on. I like to hold this first Bee Gees album in the same category of greatness as all of the other classic smashes of ’67.

The Bee Gees are still a beloved music group. To me, there is nothing quite like their output from the late ‘60s. These songs, along with their other early albums (Horizontal, Idea, Odessa), have truly stood the test of time, and it’s easy to see why.  If you want to hear classic, endearing, and beautiful 1960s pop, pick up this album.

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“Turn Of The Century”

:D CD Reissue | 2007 | Rhino/Wea | buy here ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1967 | Atco | search ebay ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

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  • Annie

    Very informative review. I enjoyed all of the information and learned some things about the Bee Gee’s that I never knew. One of my all time favorite groups! Excellent review! Thanks for the information!

  • ogie

    The first album I ever bought from the Columbia Record Club…and still find it inspiring, lyrical, and vocally appealing on every level!

  • Yeah brothers Gibb!! I had no idea this was how they started. Awesome.

  • Nice one, Katie. I adore this record. One of my favorite things about it is that the music is similar to the acid pop and psych so popular in the UK in ’67 and ’68, but the band was able to make an entire album. Bands like Toby Twirl or Tintern Abbey made lovely 45s for Deram and so forth, but didn’t last long enough to make a full-length album.

    “In My Own Time” has a funky time signature like The Beatles’ “Taxman,” and I’ve always wondered which song was recorded first. It couldn’t be a coincidence ;-).

    The sound quality of the remastered box set is stunning, and you get the album in mono and stereo. I still prefer to listen to it on the original ATCO mono vinyl, but the remastered CD does nicely.

  • Asforteri

    oh man, my love for this record. great review!
    i am of the belief that “every christian lion…” is one of the greatest pop-psych songs ever recorded.

  • Dwight whikehart

    The 2nd project I did research on was the authorized bee gees book by david leaf! Released in 1979 still to this day time only official beegees book ever released!! Still a classic bio book, thank david for writing such a wonderful book at the age of 25 years old!! You were ahead of your time!!

  • BullHead

    Always hated The Bee Gees to bits. Until I discovered this LP. This album still stands as one of my favorites from that magical era. An amazing gem of beautifully crafted baroque pop tunes, with hints of dreamy psychedelia here and there. A masterpiece.

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