The creative streak the Bee Gees were on from the release of Main Course (“Jive Talkin’,” “Nights on Broadway”) in 1975 through shortly after Spirits Having Flown (“Tragedy,” “Too Much Heaven”) in 1979 ranks among the greatest in popular music. If it isn’t quite the Rolling Stones 1964-1972 or most of the Beatles’ career, it’s solidly in the second tier. Hell, they were so good they were regularly giving away smash hits to other artists, most notably Barbra Streisand (“Guilty,” “A Woman in Love”).
After that, the well dried up. They were far too talented to fade away completely, though, and tossed out the occasional winner in the ensuing years.
My favorite late-era Bee Gees song (in close competition with “You Win Again”) is 2001’s “This is Where I Came In,” the title track from their final album. American radio had long since passed them by, so this terrific pop song was not a hit, but in a just world it would have been.
So far as I know, they never wrote anything else that sounded like this. Too bad–it’s a very cool sound, with a slinky and sinister acoustic guitar that’s nothing like disco–in fact, it’s similar in some ways to Paisley Underground or similar mid-80s to early-90s psychedelic or power pop. The expected terrific vocals are there, of course, but there’s no falsetto, and it crams more hooks into one song than a lot of bands can manage on a whole album.
The one shot this unfortunately little-known song had of getting the exposure it deserved was when human beat box Blake Lewis performed it on American Idol on Brothers Gibb theme night during the show’s sixth season. I was excited when it was announced that he would be performing it, even though I didn’t care for Blake Lewis, because I hoped it would bring attention to the song. Unfortunately, Blake butchered it and left millions of people with the impression that the song was terrible. A damned shame, that.
If you’re in the mood for a train wreck, click below.
When are we going to get a proper Bee Gees box set? One that starts with their early Australian material and goes all the way through Robin’s death ending the band? It’s an injustice that one doesn’t exist. Rhino has been re-releasing their early albums, so maybe it won’t be too much longer.