The Bee Gees’ phenomenal success in the 1970s often obscures the fact that by the time the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack redefined R&B dance music, the trio already had more than ten albums and a string of worldwide hits under their belts. The November 7th release of ‘The Studio Albums 1967-1968’ – the initial installment of the first-ever catalog upgrade for the group – shows that The Brothers Gibb possessed the musical Midas touch from the very beginning.
‘The Studio Albums 1967-1968’ is the definitive collection of the five-piece Bee Gees lineup that rocketed to fame in the late 1960s: singing siblings Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, and Australian instrumentalists Vince Melouney and Colin Petersen. The quintet’s albums ‘Bee Gees 1st,’ ‘Horizontal,’ and ‘Idea’ have been brilliantly revitalized, with remastered CDs of stereo and mono mixes of each title paired with second discs of rare and unreleased recordings from the period – the first time The Bee Gees have opened their vaults for extensive archival exploration. ‘The Studio Albums 1967-1968’ will be available for the suggested retail price of $74.98.
Issued in August 1967, ‘Bee Gees 1st’ is a bit of a misnomer as Barry, Maurice, and Robin had already cut a pair of albums in Australia (where their family had moved in 1958) before returning to their native England at the beginning of the year. But it was the first to earn an international release – and international hits in the form of “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” “To Love Somebody,” and “Holiday.” All 14 tracks on the bonus disc are previously unreleased, including formative or alternate versions of most songs on the album plus the otherwise unheard compositions “Gilbert Green,” “House Of Lords,” “I’ve Got To Learn,” “All Around My Clock,” and “Mr. Wallor’s Wailing Wall.”
‘Horizontal’ hit store shelves in January of 1968 and shows the band building on its success with even more adventurous arrangements. The album’s signature smash was “Massachusetts,” but the discs’ dozen tracks also featured such gems as “And The Sun Will Shine” and “World” (a hit across most of the globe). Along with a pair of alternate versions, the second CD includes four non-LP sides – of which “Words” was another monster hit – and nine unreleased tracks: “Out Of Line,” “Ring My Bell,” “Deeply, Deeply Me,” “Mrs. Gillespie’s Refrigerator,” “All My Christmases Came At Once,” “Thank You For Christmas,” and the seasonal medley of “Silent Night/Hark
The Herald Angels Sing” (one of only two songs on the set that doesn’t feature a Gibb songwriting credit).
‘Idea’ followed in August of the same year, and put The Bee Gees in the U.S. Top 10 for the first time with “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You,” and “I Started A Joke.” Additional material on the Rhino reissue includes single versions of the former, “Jumbo,” and “The Singer Sang His Song”; alternate mixes of “Idea, “Kitty Can,” and “Let There Be Love”; a couple of songs penned for films (“Chocolate Symphony” and “Gena’s Theme”); and two Coca-Cola commercials.
The bonus disc also features the unissued songs “Bridges Crossing Rivers,” the impromptu goof “Completely Unoriginal,” and another holiday-themed song sketch, “Come Some Christmas Eve Or Halloween.”
The set gathers all three of these pop-psych classics in a slipcase, with each double-disc in its own gatefold digipak. Along with many beautiful photos from the era, the accompanying booklets feature insightful liner notes by ’60s sage Andrew Sandoval – including extensive new interviews with Barry and Robin on their career and music.