Jul 292020
 

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30. Conway Twitty – Rest Your Love on Me

In 1978, the Bee Gees, along with their brother Andy Gibb, occupied five of the Top Ten spots on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 chart. During this time, the brothers managed to crack the country chart too, with “Rest Your Love On Me.” Released as a B-side to “Too Much Heaven,” the song is a slow-moving ballad more suitable for a Texas honky-tonk than a disco in Brooklyn. The song became a number one country hit for Conway Twitty in 1981. Twitty’s arrangement is overshadowed by the excessive studio gloss that dominated the Nashville sound of the era, but his voice is enough to make anyone want to slow dance in their cowboy boots. – Curtis Zimmermann

29. Slobberbone – To Love Somebody

Slobberbone’s cover of “To Love Somebody” is a hidden gem, as was the band, which came out of Denton, Texas in the early-mid 1990s, mixing country, punk and rock (leading to almost obligatory comparisons to Uncle Tupelo). While the Bee Gees performed this song as a fully orchestrated ’60s soul ballad, Slobberbone transformed it into an alt-country/Southern rock power ballad, with gruff-voiced singer Brent Best conveying as much emotion as the smooth tenors of the brothers Gibb, and maybe a little more sadness. – Jordan Becker

28. Candi Staton – Nights on Broadway

The Bee Gees studio recording of “Nights On Broadway”, a 1975 Top 10 hit, is notable for being the very first track the band recorded to feature the soon-to-be-trademark Barry Gibb falsetto. While the original “Nights” is fraught with urgency and desperation, legendary diva Candi Staton’s 1977 UK Top 10 cover is straight up celebratory strut. The utter exuberance in her vocal completely undoes the songs predatory sentiments and transforms it into something decidedly sweeter. And if that weren’t enough, seeing this video of Candi singin’ them sweet sounds directly to a long-gone version of that crazy, crazy town as she reclines on the hood of a Caddie remains an absolute gift none of us really deserve. – Hope Silverman

27. Ian McNabb – Run to Me

Ian McNabb, of Icicle Works and a long solo career, has one of those voices which always exudes a full-throated glow of enthusiasm, irrespective of the subject matter. His “Run to Me” is from a hard-to-find covers project he put out in 2016, Respectfully Yours, where he adds his gloss to a stack of largely-well known classics. If Robin Gibb sounded a little (archetypically) desperate in this odd invitation, McNabb sounds positively alpha male. You can sense it’s a song he loves and, if straying little from the plot, he imbues his all into it, his clarity enunciating the intent. – Seuras Og

26. Low – I Started a Joke

Low fans may first think of Alan Sparhawk’s shoegazey croon, but co-founder Mimi Parker takes center stage on this beautiful cover from an old B-side. Never getting at loud as some of their songs do, it remains at an uneasy simmer, sounding like a Smashing Pumpkins ballad. Also worth checking out this acoustic version recorded on a tour bus. – Ray Padgett

25. Alton Ellis – Massachusetts

Ellis’s 1967 platter Sings Rock’n’Soul is an invaluable source for the covers lover, the “Godfather of Rocksteady” having a reliable set of pipes for sometimes unexpected versions. From the same year as the Bee Gees’ original, his “Massachusetts” is quite a straightforward translation into reggae. The trademark Kingston organ and bubbly bass fits Ellis’s soothing vocal like a comfortable beanie. Whilst there was a certain trend in the late ’60s and early ’70s for any hit of the day to have a reggae steal, sometimes giving the genre a bad name, Ellis was way more than a copyist. He bridged the purer elocution of Ken Boothe with later murkier vocal stylings, as dancehall begat dub. He had a mighty career, writing more often his own material in near 50 years of performing, being praised in the Jamaican parliament on his death in 2008. – Seuras Og

24. Havana Lake – Stayin’ Alive


An understated “Stayin’ Alive” seems like an oxymoron in the context of the vibrant original, but this cover is just that. This version is almost whispered, accompanied by very sparse instrumentation. The pointedness of the original quartet of “ah”s are replaced by a single “ah”, drawn out almost as if in pain. The melody is almost completely monotone, but the rhythm and pacing is reminiscent enough of the original for it to be recognized, even in its dramatically different form. If this style speaks to you, Havana Lake has a cover of Night Fever with a similar vibe. – Sara Stoudt

23. The Levellers – New York Mining Disaster 1941

It makes perfect sense that a band that took its name from the political radicals of the 17th century would cover the first Bee Gees single from their debut album. The song itself was written about the 1966 Aberfan mining disaster in Wales. There was an actual mining disaster in New York – however, that was in 1939 and not in 1941. Apparently the brothers Gibb thought New York sounded a bit more hip than Wales. Playing things fairly close to the original’s vest here, singer Mark Chadwick does a more than admirable job in carrying the song, albeit in a slightly lower register. The Levellers as a band are no strangers to the covers landscape, as this one was covered in 1997 as the B side of the single “Bozo,” and most famously, they delivered a scorching semi-Celtic version of “Devil Went Down To Georgia” that can be found on The Levellers Greatest Hits. – Walt Falconer

22. Swamp Dogg – I’ve Gotta Get a Message To You

A belter initially sung by Robin Gibb, this weeper transcends its original in so many styles to make it a contender with “To Love Somebody” as the song most ubiquitous. Swamp Dogg, real name Jerry Williams Junior, currently in the throes of a late-blooming renaissance, has seemingly been around forever. This comes from his 1971 record Rat On, the second of his reinvention under this name, with a slew of largely unsuccessful and sometimes eccentric releases following. Wikipedia solemnly proclaims Rat On to be one of the worst covers records ever made. Whilst I cannot validate that statement, I concede it’s his voice that carries the show, the piano touches beyond corny. But, for all that, I love it! – Seuras Og

21. Scott Matthew – To Love Somebody

Taking upbeat pop songs and slowing them down to sad acoustic ballads has been done. A lot. But Scott Matthew’s 2013 album Unlearned is a true masterclass in the form. With his voice and little else, he makes everyone from Whitney Houston to John Denver utterly, entirely devastating. “To Love Somebody” is the opening track and, by the end, you’re amazed he has any more left in him.- Ray Padgett

The list continues on Page 5.

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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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