Jul 292020
 

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40. Boogie Box High – Jive Talkin’

When Boogie Box High’s “Jive Talkin'” came out in the UK in July ’87, it had the hallmarks of a feelgood novelty hit for the summer. That daft band name. That retro disco sound. The squelchy, catchy, synthesized bounciness of it all. And the handclaps. However, this cover of the Bee Gees’ massive 1975 hit featured a vocalist who had some serious soul. He wasn’t credited on the record (for contractual reasons), he wasn’t in the video (nobody was), and even Radio 1 DJs had no official word on the matter. But, if we guessed right at who it sounded like, this guy was not only an established act, but a huge name currently riding the wave of newly found international megastardom as a solo artist. Was it…? Could it possibly be…George Michael?

It later transpired that the ex-Wham! frontman had been persuaded by his old friend (or possibly cousin) Andros Georgiou to collaborate on the track, Andros being a noted music producer who also got Nick Heyward on board to play guitar. George was impressed enough with the demo Andros had sent him to lay down lead and backing vocals for the track at Puk Studios in Denmark, where he’d recently been working on the Faith album. The result was a #7 hit in the UK, plenty of fun for George (who no doubt enjoyed being a man of mystery), and a better job on “Jive Talkin'” than even Barry Gibb could do. – Adam Mason

39. Billy Corgan ft. Robert Smith – To Love Somebody

On his 2005 debut solo album, TheFutureEmbrace, Billy Corgan took a shoegaze approach to a song that already seemed to have elements of staring down at one’s shoes while you are swaying to the music. Enlisting Robert Smith of The Cure (who have also been the subject of a Best Covers Ever list) on this was a stroke of mood-setting genius; this one would have fit in quite nicely on the set-list on any of those early Cure albums. – Walt Falconer

38. Confidential MX ft. Becky Hanson – I Started a Joke

While it has somewhat found its feet in recent years, the DC Cinematic Universe got off to a bumpy start. Following the poorly received Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2015, DC Films had decided that the upcoming Suicide Squad was too dark, and set about re-editing and re-shooting the film to give it a lighter tone. The result was a mess. One of the few positives to emerge from this fiasco was Becky Hanson’s soothing, delicate cover of the Bee Gee’s “I Started A Joke”, which was used for the trailer. It’s difficult to find much information about Hanson, but on this evidence she deserves a higher profile. – Tim Edgeworth

37. Barbie Hatch – Run to Me


Despite having already had success in the US, “Run to Me” was the song that broke the Bee Gees’ UK top 10 drought. Barbie Hatch’s 2011 cover starts with light vocals and simple piano that matches the opening lines of the original. The piano gets more electronic sounding as the song continues. A dampened yet brash percussion joins in, taking the place of the original’s simple strumming beat, and hints at a heavier garage band style just out of earshot. – Sara Stoudt

36. Martin Carthy – New York Mining Disaster 1941

If you aren’t familiar with Martin Carthy, the first moments of his “New York Mining Disaster 1941” cover may not have you scouting his huge back catalog, his sepulchral tones wrapping themselves a little uncomfortably around the lyrics, sounding, shhh, like an old man singing in his cups. But hear it out. It begins to make more sense as Dave Swarbrick’s fiddle enters the fray. Carthy is the doyen of traditional English folksong, often just he and his guitar, sonorously plowing the field of Olde England, sometimes alongside a pre-Fairport Convention Swarbrick and, occasionally, as a member of Steeleye Span. Rarely does he tackle anything by any living songwriter – or even any named songwriter – but when he does, you notice. Songs about mining disasters abound in the traditional idiom; I guess it just seemed right. – Seuras Og

35. Scott McGaughey/Minus 5 – You’ll Never See My Face Again

One of the Bee Gees must have had a pretty intense breakup to come up with this one. “Every single word has been spoken / It’s much too late to change your ways / Far too many vows have been broken / You can’t expect a soul to stay.” And it only gets worse from there. The venom expressed on this version of the song, performed by Scott McCaughey and his band The Minus Five, is turned up a couple of notches with a vastly different “fade to black” outro. It leaves you feeling that he really means it this time. Several listens and a couple of whiskeys into this one, I actually found myself contemplating how much money I would be willing to pay to hear Billy Idol do a sneer-laden version of this song. – Walt Falconer

34. Al Green – How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

The slow smoothness of the backing track is what you first notice. It’s so cool and gentle, and it stays that way for six and a half minutes, making its occasional flourishes that much more noteworthy – the burst of fluttery strings after “I can still feel the breeze” is an especial favorite part of mine. But “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” belongs to the voice of Al Green, as he puts tension and release in the song again and again with repetition, emphasis, wordless vocalizing, and every last ounce of himself. It’s a masterful vocal, and it’s no wonder the Bee Gees would go on to perform the song in concert using Green’s arrangement. – Patrick Robbins

33. Big Daddy – Stayin’ Alive

Possibly stretching the definition of when is a cover a cover, the group Big Daddy have a long track record of restructuring latter-day hits into the many and various tropes of the 1950s. Unlike Hayseed Dixie, entertaining as they are, Big Daddy are no one-trick pony. Half the fun is to discover the reference through which they filter their version. If you are familiar with the Coasters’ “Three Cool Cats,” the band’s take on “Stayin’ Alive” will have you grinning. If you aren’t, go listen to it, then replay this. So steeped are they in ’50s motifs, never does this song sound like parody, instead managing to be a loving recreation. – Seuras Og

32. Eve’s Plum – If I Can’t Have You

Spirit of ’73: Rock for Choice was a pro-choice benefit album made up of female acts of the ’90s covering female acts of the ’70s. Eve’s Plum led it off with “If I Can’t Have You,” the “Stayin’ Alive” B-side that Yvonne Elliman took into the stratosphere. The band pull off a hell of a tightrope act, playing with all warmth and no denigration, giving the song an alt-’90s edge while leaving its disco roots intact. – Patrick Robbins

31. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – Run To Me

We at Cover Me have been all over the three Under The Covers collections released by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, often choosing one of their versions for a “Five Good Covers” or other piece, and that’s because they’re almost uniformly good. As a better writer than I wrote: “The greatest joy about this series is that these releases are not so much cover albums as tribute albums.” And their version of the 1972 Bee Gees ballad “Run To Me” is an excellent tribute to the original. The actual female voice of Hoffs and Sweet’s regular singing voice replacing the falsetto vocals of Barry and Robin Gibb is the main evidence that you aren’t listening to the original, while the orchestrations and emotion of the performance will definitely remind you of the source. – Jordan Becker

The list continues on Page 4.

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  11 Responses to “The Best Bee Gees Covers Ever”

Comments (11)
  1. My favourtie Bee Gees cover, Gallon Drunk – To Love Somebody; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=644dZ4-h64M

  2. Yvonne Elliman – if I can’t have you. Brilliant dance track

  3. I’m not normally into Korean pop, but How Deep Is Your Love by Jinusean is my fave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm640QfXvaI

  4. I love the bee gees and andy roy Gibb very much

  5. Janis Joplin slaughtered that song.

  6. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for not including Michael Buble’s version of To Love Somebody. Sincerely, a former retail employee who had to hear that song at least 5 times a day over the store’s intercom.

  7. Can’t wait to explore these at length! The Jigsaw Seen track kicks off one of the all-time great tribute albums, Eggbert Records’ 1995 Bee Gees tribute MELODY FAIR. The Minus Five contribute a faithful but fun version of “Craise Finton Kirk Royal Academy of Arts,” but the true gem is Baby Lemonade’s gloriously fuzzed-out ” How Deep Is Your Love.” (Eggbert’s later Hollies tribute SING HOLLIES IN REVERSE is well worth the search, too…)

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