Review of the new CD from the 11/18/01 edition of the Miami Herald
Bee Gees; Their Greastest Hits: The record (Universal).
Few acts in pop history could compile a two-CD, 40 track best-of and still not have room for all the hits. Features Gibb classics from the mid 60's to this year's This Is Where I Came In. But the selling point for collectors is the newly recorded versions of songs the Gibb's wrote for others (Emotion, Heartbreaker, Islands In The Stream and Immortality). Unfortunately, these don't stand up to the originals because of programmed tracks and lazt arrangements making them sound like demos.
(Please note this is a newspaper review and not my own personal opinion).
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The Bee Gees ability to change with the times is remarkable. In the sixties, they were classy harmonising popsters with a penchant for a big tuneful ballad; during the seventies they completely re-invented themselves with contemporary dance grooves, funky synths and falsetto vocals. In the wake of Saturday Night Fever, the biggest selling soundtrack album of all time, the brothers turned their attention to writing forother artists including the Woman In Love album for Barbra Streisand (US and UK No1), Islands In The Stream for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton (US No1), Chain Reaction for Diana Ross (UK No1) and Dionne Warwicks comeback smash Heartbreaker. Barry Gibb produced these records with his team earning him the rating as All-Time No3 Record Producer with the most No1 Records (14) to his credit.
Since the 1967 release of their first international hit, New York Mining Disaster, Bee Gees songs have topped the charts in five successive decades. They are the only group to have placed five singles simultaneously in the US Top 10, and to have monopolised the US charts with six consecutive No1s. Seven Grammies, a BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution To Music and 10 Lifetime Achievement Awards have contributed to earning the band honoured places in both the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.
Understandably, many top artists reserve the utmost respect for the Brothers Gibb but the way in which their songs have transcended generations is virtually unique. Megastars as diverse as Bono of U2, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Noel Gallagher of Oasis, and Destinys Child, have expressed their admiration for the trio of Man-cunian tearaways who grew up to dominate the worlds music charts. Delivering another No1, You Win Again, under their own name in the eighties, the Bee Gees proved they could still keep pace with the latest sounds, and in the 90s and the new millennium their flag was hoist aloft by a raft of younger acts who realised that truly great songs never die. N-Trance took Stayin Alive to No1 in Canada, Pras Michel morphed Islands In The Stream into Ghetto Supastar (US No1), Take That ended their career with UK No1 version of How Deep Is Your Love, Boyzone covered Words (UK No1) and Steps covered Tragedy (UK No1) and Chain Reaction. In 2001 Destinys Child released Emotion, 24 years after Samantha Sang made it a worldwide No1. In all, more than 500 cover versions of Gibb songs have been recorded by other artists.
Impressive as all of this is, the Bee Gees music is about much more than sales and awards. This group has provided the soundtrack to countless thousands of lives by writing the songs which bring lovers together, console the heartbroken, lift happy spirits even higher and cause young and old alike to get out on the floor, strut that stuff and forget, for a few precious moments, whatever cares might be troubling them.