Saturday, August 20, 2016

The 2015/1967 Countdown - 08/20/2016 Update

Today, we return to our 1967 Singles Superstars mix, and take a look at two tracks from a Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame act that most now associate with the late 70s disco era, but that actually had its major commercial breakthrough in 1967, Australia's The Bee Gees.

After nearly a decade performing together in Australia, where they had become local recording and television stars, the brothers decided in 1966 that they needed to move back to London where it was all happening musically if they were going to make it big.

Based on the strength of their recent Aussie single Spicks & Specks, the band was quickly signed by British producer Robert Stigwood, and after adding lead guitarist Vince Melouney and friend Colin Petersen on drums, the group quickly penned and recorded their international debut, the Hollies-like psychedelic pop album Bee Gees' 1st.

The album was a success, producing three UK hits - To Love Somebody, Holiday, and their first to chart, New York Mining Disaster 1941, which we profile here.

Interestingly, again given the perception of the band today, it was Robin, not Barry, who handled the bulk of the act's lead vocals at the time.

Later in 1967, while in New York on tour, the band was inspired to write a counter to all the songs of the moment urging people to go to San Francisco.

That idea would morph into Massachusetts, the tale of a boy who does indeed make it out to San Francisco to join the flower power scene, only to find himself painfully longing for home.

Ironically, the band themselves had never been to Massachusetts at the time.  But the song struck a chord with listeners.  It became the band's first song to reach #1 in Australian and the UK, and would go on to become one of the top-selling singles in recording history, moving over five million physical units (an honor shared with two other songs on the Singles Superstars mix, Simon Says and the Monkees' Daydream Believer).

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