Bee Gees Lonely Days Video

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Note the songwriting credits

Note the songwriting credits

Well before the Brothers Gibb became mega-stars with their music for the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, Barry, Robin and Maurice were huge pop stars. They were born on the Isle of Man and then grew up in Manchester, England before moving to Australia in the late 1950s. After releasing a dozen singles there, the Bee Gees had earned their first worldwide hit with the 1967 song “New York Mining Disaster 1941.” That song was quickly followed by two more Top 20 hits, “To Love Somebody” and “Massachusetts.”

In 1968, they earned their first U.S. Top 10 singles: “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” (#8) and “I Started a Joke” (#6). They would ultimately achieve 15 Top 10 U.S. hits, nine of which–get this–went to #1. We can slice their chart dominance another way: from 1967 through 1979, they enjoyed 23 Top 20 singles, or roughly two a year.

Who designed the 2 Years On album cover?!?

Who designed the 2 Years On album cover?!?

When they failed to click with any of their 1969 releases, the trio briefly ended to focus on solo projects. Moods brightened and by summer of 1970, Barry Gibb announced “[we] will never, ever part again.” They returned to the studio and recorded a reunion album, 2 Years On. While the album wasn’t a commercial success, those sessions yielded at least one gem: “Lonely Days.”

The song is a ballad with Robin, Maurice and Barry enunciating the opening lyrics…

Good morning mister sunshine, you bright up my day
Come sit beside me in your way

Over and over the trio slowly sing…

Lonely days, lonely nights.
Where would I be without my woman?

At the 1:14 mark, a string arrangement is joined by piano as the music and vocals build to a crescendo, punctuated by horns, until it settles back into a ballad with the strings. At the three-minute mark, Maurice’s piano kicks in once again for the wind-up. The orchestra and strings arrangement is by Bill Shepherd; the great production is credited to the Bee Gees and their longtime manager, Robert Stigwood.

Related: Stigwood was the first of 2016’s many prominent music deaths

Atlantic Records smelled a hit right away. Label president Jerry Greenberg said: “I heard that song and went crazy.” He was so enthusiastic that he sent tape copies to key Top 40 programmers before the single was even pressed. The Bee Gees performed the song on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show and it became their biggest hit up until then, topping the Record World singles chart.

Our Classic Video is the promotional film for “Lonely Days,” which we had never seen until we started writing this story…

Maurice Gibb died at just 53 in 2003. Twin brother Robin passed in 2012 at 62. Barry released a solo album in 2016.

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