Jul 292020
 

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10. The Jigsaw Seen – Melody Fair


I first heard “Melody Fair” while watching the movie Melody, which featured multiple Bee Gees songs. It’s a little jewel of a film, and the almost-title track sunk its hooks deep into me. So of course I looked for other versions, and I found the Jigsaw Seen’s cover. They keep the stately yet soaring melody (they’d be stupid not to) and add some shoegazy guitars, which to me makes it sweeter, crunchier, and part of a good nutritious breakfast. – Patrick Robbins

9. The Bird and the Bee – How Deep Is Your Love

Inara George’s airy voice floats in over a spacey electric piano riff like the “summer breeze” she references in the opening verse. There’s not much else that happens here: it’s a loungey-sounding interplay between George and those wandering keys. But what else do you really need? The Bird and the Bee do with the Bee Gees what they’ve done with the songs of so many other bands and create a keyboard-driven pop gem. – Mike Misch

8. Feist – Inside and Out

Several years prior to her breakout hit “1, 2,3, 4,” Feist included this dreamy cover of the Bee Gees’ “Love You Inside Out” on her 2004 sophomore album Let It Die. The cover starts slowly, with bass, keyboards and slight percussion, and then slowly builds up into a fully orchestrated disco jam. At first listen, your ears strain trying to figure out what song it is; by the end, you just want to sing and dance along. – Curtis Zimmermann

7. Pet Shop Boys – I Started a Joke

It has to be a pretty good song for the Pet Shop Boys to give it a turn, and this is no exception. Maximizing, as ever, the cheese quotient, the duo chuck the whole kit(s)chen sink at it, rendering the initial lament of neediness into a celebration of nerdiness. Little in the arrangement is altered, but where Robin Gibb’s reedy appeal is plaintive, Neil Tennant, as ever, sounds more the bemused and bewronged choirboy. One of the most covered of the Gibb family canon, it tends to confirm my belief that Robin, not Barry, was the Bee to be, his songs being the ones I always gravitate to. Which rules out most of their disco period. – Seuras Og

6. Arrica Rose – Tragedy


The Bee Gees’ “Tragedy” was as exciting as they got, with an arrangement more rock than disco and a thrilling performance by all three brothers. But with a title like that, you’d think the song would be a downer, and if you read the lyrics, you’d see you were right. Arrica Rose read the lyrics, and her re-arrangement of the song makes certain you understand the pain that went into and comes out of them. In a way, it’s like the Bee Gees were the ones who had to reimagine the song; Rose shows how it felt the first time. – Patrick Robbins

5. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – Stayin’ Alive

Surprise covers have long been a staple of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band performances, and they usually come in the form of requests. Fans bring signs displaying the name of the song they want to hear – often one that Bruce has never played before – and Bruce and the band work out an arrangement on the spot. The unexpected appearance of “Stayin’ Alive”, however, came about due to geography. Bruce found himself in Brisbane, Australia – where the Bee Gees had got their start performing at the Redcliffe Speedway in 1959 – and debuted this inventive cover as a tribute. – Tim Edgeworth

4. Emily C. Browning – More Than a Woman

While it’s great to hear one of the ’60s anthems approached in a lean, acoustic manner (especially by the Gibbs themselves), it’s even more fun to hear one of their floorshaking, bells and whistles disco tracks stripped down to its bare bones. New Zealand singer-songwriter Emily C. Browning has proven to be outrageously adept at cover versions, effortlessly imbuing whichever song she chooses to cover with an exceptional warmth. Her cover of “More Than a Woman” perfectly showcases that interpretive gift. Browning turns the whole song on its ear, expertly reshaping the romantic dance anthem into an intimate and revealing love letter. – Hope Silverman

3. Chumbawamba – New York Mining Disaster 1941

Chumbawamba is largely remembered as a one-hit wonder for its late ‘90s smash “Tubthumping.” But there was more in this band’s arsenal than getting knocked down and up again. On the band’s 2000 album WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), they included a folky, a cappella cover of the Bee Gees’ ‘60s pop hit “New York Mining Disaster 1941.” In their slow, eerie take on the song, they capture the plight of the trapped miners longing to break free. – Curtis Zimmermann

2. Flor de Toloache – Si No Eres Tú (If I Can’t Have You)

An all-women mariachi group not only translates a Bee Gees hit but also transforms it into a mournful Spanish ballad. Somber strings, muted horns, and a simple strum that marks the slower tempo accompany the strong and clear vocals. Even at the slower tempo and with a sadder mood, a non-fluent listener is tipped off by the chorus. The emotion in, and emphasis on, the translation of “if I can’t have you” is a big hint. – Sara Stoudt

1. Janis Joplin – To Love Somebody

It’s hard to imagine that, had Otis Redding lived to record it, his version could have bettered Janis’s roof-raising, earthshaking, soul-quaking take from her 1969 solo album I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!. While there are moments when the horn section feels like it’s going to swallow the song up alive, they ultimately prove no match for Janis’s steamrolling delivery and her one-of-a-kind, idiosyncratic, impassioned ad-libbing.

As an added bonus, make sure to check out Janis’s live performance of the song from a 1969 episode of The Dick Cavett Show. Seeing and hearing her throw down so powerfully and uninhibitedly on a talk show, in the sterile and staid environment of a TV studio, is truly something to behold. – Hope Silverman

Check out more installments in our monthly ‘Best Covers Ever’ series, including ABBA, Elton John, Radiohead, and Neil Young.

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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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