The legacy of The Bee Gees is stayin’ alive with the March 24 release of a new box set celebrating the group at its commercial peak. Bee Gees: 1974-1979 follows in the footsteps and basic format of 2014’s The Warner Bros. Years: 1987-1991, housing within a compact clamshell box four original studio albums plus a bonus disc of B-sides and single releases.
1974-1979 box begins with 1974’s Mr. Natural and continues with Main Course (1975), Children of the World (1976) and Spirits Having Flown (1979). The set concludes with The Miami Years, a single-CD, eleven-track compendium of singles and B-sides from the period during which time the Gibb Brothers recorded at Miami’s Criteria Studios. (The 1977 double-disc live album Here at Last…Bee Gees Live is not included.) Though Mr. Natural yielded no major hits, it’s notable as the first album to team the Bee Gees with producer Arif Mardin, and their first significant stab at an R&B sound. (That said, there was always plenty of soul in the Bee Gees’ recordings; prior to Mr. Natural, songs like “To Love Somebody” and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” had received attention from R&B artists.) Main Course marked a turning point, with the irresistible funk rhythms of “Jive Talkin’” (No. 1 Pop/No. 5 U.K. Pop), “Nights on Broadway” (No. 7 Pop) and “Fanny (Be Tender with My Love)” (No. 12 Pop) all scoring on the singles charts. Main Course also introduced Barry Gibb’s falsetto as a prominent part of the group sound; the album charted at No. 14 in the U.S. and remained on the Billboard 200 for 74 weeks and pointed the way towards the group’s next, greatest success.
Taking the reins from Mardin and adding Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson to the production team, Barry, Maurice and Robin returned in fall 1976 with Children of the World. The U.S. No. 8 album was another R&B-oriented effort, and the platinum-seller introduced such smashes as “You Should Be Dancing” (No. 1 Pop, Dance and R&B/No. 4 U.K. Pop), “Love So Right” (No. 3 Pop) and “Boogie Child” (No. 12 Pop). The Bee Gees took the message of “You Should Be Dancing” to heart when they scored the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever and found themselves at the epicenter of disco. In the U.S., the soundtrack was certified 15× Platinum, remaining on the album chart for 120 weeks until March 1980 – with 24 weeks at No. 1 from January to July 1978. Across the pond, Saturday Night Fever spent 18 consecutive weeks at No. 1. Though the new box set does not include the five-time Grammy-winning soundtrack, the bonus disc does contain its three No. 1 singles - “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep is Your Love” – as well as “More Than a Woman” and “If I Can’t Have You.” The former was included in renditions by both the Bee Gees and Tavares on the Saturday Night Fever album, and the latter was included in Yvonne Elliman’s version. The Bee Gees released their own version, heard here, as the B-side of “Stayin’ Alive.”
The Bee Gees followed up Saturday Night Fever with Spirits Having Flown, which capped off an incredible run for the band. The album's first three tracks (“Tragedy,” “Too Much Heaven,” “Love You Inside Out”) were all released as singles and all reached No. 1 in the U.S., which tied The Beatles’ record for an unbroken string of six U.S. chart-toppers. Spirits also became the first Bee Gees album to make the U.K. Top 10 in ten years, as well as their first and only No. 1 there. When the Gibbs returned in 1981 with Living Eyes, they had fallen victim to the disco backlash; the album didn’t even make the U.S. Top 40. Spirits Having Flown remains the culmination of an unparalleled period of artistic and commercial success.
In addition to the five Saturday Night Fever-related songs mentioned above, The Miami Years bonus disc also features the promotional 12-inch mix of “Stayin’ Alive,” the soundtrack outtakes “Warm Ride” (finally completed and issued in 2007) and “Our Love (Don’t Throw It All Away)” (first released in 1979), “Emotion” (Barry and Robin’s No. 3 smash for Samantha Sang, also recorded at Criteria), and the B-sides “Rest Your Love on Me” and “It Doesn’t Matter Much to Me.” It appears that the version of "Emotion" is the Bee Gees' 1994 recording, first released in 2001. There is no information yet on remastering for this collection, if any.
Night fever resumes on March 24 when the Bee Gees’ 1974-1979 box set arrives from Reprise. You can order it below!
Bee Gees, 1974-1979 (Reprise, 2015) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. Link TBD)
CD 1 - Mr. Natural (RSO SO 4800, 1974)
- Throw a Penny
- Down the Road
- Give a Hand, Take a Hand
- Mr. Natural
- Lost in Your Love
- I Can't Let You Go
- Heavy Breathing
- Had a Lot of Love Last Night
CD 2 - Main Course (RSO SO 4807, 1975)
- Nights on Broadway
- Jive Talkin'
- Wind of Change
- Fanny (Be Tender with My Love)
- All This Making Love
- Country Lanes
- Come on Over
- Edge of the Universe
- Baby As You Turn Away
CD 3 - Children of the World (RSO RS-1-3003, 1976)
- You Should Be Dancing
- You Stepped Into My Life
- Love So Right
- Can't Keep a Good Man Down
- Boogie Child
- Love Me
- The Way It Was
- Children of the World
CD 4 - Spirits Having Flown (RSO RS-1-3041, 1979)
- Too Much Heaven
- Love You Inside Out
- Reaching Out
- Spirits (Having Flown)
- Search, Find
- Stop (Think Again)
- Living Together
- I'm Satisfied
CD 5 - The Miami Years
- Stayin' Alive (RSO single RS 885, 1977)
- How Deep Is Your Love (RSO single RS 882, 1977)
- Night Fever (RSO single RS 889, 1978)
- More Than A Woman (RSO single RS 8019, 1980)
- Emotion (recorded 1994, released on Their Greatest Hits: The Record, Polydor 589 446-2, 2001)
- Warm Ride (from Bee Gees Greatest, Rhino R2 287740, 2007)
- (Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away (from Bee Gees Greatest, RSO RS 2 4200, 1979)
- If I Can't Have You (RSO single RS 885, 1977)
- Rest Your Love On Me (RSO single RS 913, 1978)
- It Doesn't Matter Much To Me (RSO single SO 408, 1974)
- Stayin' Alive (Promo 12" Version) (included on Bee Gees Greatest, Rhino R2 287740, 2007)
Rob Maurer says
Aside from hoping this is freshly remastered (and not SLAMMED with compression/limiting), that bonus disc should've included, IMO, ALL of the extended versions of the "Saturday Night Fever" tracks and "Boogie Child" - as released on the white-label, promo-only "Special Disco Version" EPs from 1977/78. I think there were two or three of those EPs.
Donald Cleveland says
Very happy that someone else noticed the missing RSO promo disco single.
Joe Marchese says
It's shocking that the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER soundtrack has never received a deluxe reissue - with all of those tracks, of course!
Any Bee Gees collectors--I have the four albums on CD already, as well as the 2-disc Greatest Hits: The Record, which includes all the Saturday Night Fever tracks. If I got the 2007 Greatest set, I would only be missing "Rest Your Love on Me" and "It Doesn't Matter Much to Me" (I don't really need the Sang version of "Emotion"). Is there anywhere else to get those on CD?
Jason Michael says
"Rest Your Love on Me" is on the 2007 Greatest set, but the only way to get "It Doesn’t Matter Much to Me" on CD is on the "Tales From The Brothers Gibb" box set, which is out of print.
Thank you! As much as I'd like to support the new product and encourage future releases, looking it up, I think I'm better off tracking down the Tales set.
Odd that Here At Last...Live is not represented, not even the single of "Edge Of The Universe" which is far superior to the studio album track. The live album is out of print domestically and only available as an expensive import from Japan. I realize this is a studio collection so hopefully Reprise has plans in the works for a reissue of Here At Last...Live as well. It would also be nice if UMe would remaster and reissue Barry Gibb's "Now Voyager" album on CD.