50. Tavares – More Than a Woman
By 1977, the five Rhode Island brothers known to the world by their surname already had several huge hits under their belt, but the best was yet to come. The Bee Gees had asked the group to record “More Than a Woman” for the soundtrack of a movie they’d been commissioned to do music for, soon to be known as, you guessed it, Saturday Night Fever. Of course, as the 45 million who’ve bought the soundtrack are aware, two versions of “More Than a Woman” appear on the album: one by Tavares and one by the Gibbs themselves.
In an interview with UK Music Reviews, Ralph Tavares shed some light on why both takes were ultimately included on the album. He said that yes, the Bee Gees had approached Tavares about recording the song for the movie, which they then did. Then, due to some behind the scenes turmoil (namely director John Avildsen being fired and being replaced by John Badham), some planned scenes ended up being re-tooled. This resulted in the Tavares arrangement of the song not quite fitting the part of the film it was earmarked to soundtrack. So the Bee Gees then recorded a demo version of the song to fit the scene. The powers that be were informed that, despite this, they were legally required to use the Tavares version in the film. So a scene was written to custom fit the Tavares arrangement of the song. End result: Both versions ultimately appearing on the album.
Based on the circumstances, it seems somewhat unfair to compare one version to the other. Both could ostensibly qualify as the definitive take and both are indescribably gorgeous. But right now, let’s bow to “More Than a Woman” by Tavares for inspiring and soundtracking one of the most iconic dance scenes in film history, and to Antone “Chubby” Tavares in particular for absolutely crushing in that coda. – Hope Silverman
49. The Revivalists – To Love Somebody
The Revivalists bring a southern soul to the vocals and the evocative guitar solo in their cover of “To Love Somebody.” Although there aren’t any dramatic horn overtures like in the original, The Revivalists add some unique instruments like the melodica and pedal steel guitar. They also still use the strategy of intensifying the accompaniment leading up to the choruses and then quickly backing off for the vocalist to stand alone for the “to love somebody”s. – Sara Stoudt
48. Ozzy Osbourne ft. Dweezil Zappa – Stayin’ Alive
“All aboard the disco train!” Ozzy’s having fun with this one from the start. He’s done weirder collaborations – Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Kim Basinger, Miss Piggy – but teaming up with Frank Zappa’s son for a Bee Gees cover takes some set of disco balls from the prince of darkness. Get ready to “dance with the devil,” as Osbourne goes from “Iron Man” to “Disco Man,” with some doubled vocals and Dweezel Zappa shredding all over the entire second half of the song. And if anyone has the right to sing about “Stayin’ Alive,” it’s Ozzy. – Jay Honstetter
47. Shawn Colvin – Words
“Words,” a single released in 1967, never really saw the light of day on a proper Bee Gees album. It reached number 8 in the U.K., and, in 2011, was voted Britain’s fourth favorite Bee Gees song. Shawn Colvin does a spectacular job covering the tune on her 2006 release These Four Walls. Keeping the DNA of the original intact, her sparsely produced and more intimate version with guitar and piano accompaniment brought this early pre-disco song to a whole new audience. – Walt Falconer
46. Raul Malo – Run To Me
When Raul Malo’s band The Mavericks appeared to be at an end in 2003, Malo focused on his solo career, and in 2006, he released You’re Only Lonely, a collection of mostly covers produced by Peter Asher, best known for his work with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. The album, for the most part, moved Malo away from the country and Latin influences of The Mavericks. So is his version of the Bee Gees’ ballad “Run To Me” any good? As the AllMusic review of the album notes, “Raul Malo's voice is one of the great natural resources of American music, and anyone familiar with his work with the Mavericks or as a solo act is already aware that the man can seemingly sing anything he puts his mind to and make it sound wonderful.” So, yeah, it’s good. Smooth, emotional, and beautiful. – Jordan Becker
45. Josipa Lisac – I Can’t See Nobody
One of the crazy factoids regarding the Gibbs’ enduring classic “I Can’t See Nobody” is that it began life as a b-side to “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” in the spring of 1967. Looking back, the fact that a song as immense and emotional as this could end up as an afterthought seems ludicrous. But of course, the Gibb songwriting gift ran so deep that what would have been a career-making track for anyone else was just another deep cut classic in their enormous arsenal.
Renowned for not only her stunning voice but her adventurous personal style, Croatian rock diva Josipa Lisac’s career has spanned decades. Her earnestly impassioned, utterly embraceable recording of “I Can’t See Nobody” was blessedly documented in a classic black and white ’60s proto-music video. Watching 17-year-old Josipa lip-syncing the song as she walks wistfully through the 1967 sunshine is a true joy. – Hope Silverman
44. Kingsley and Perdomo – Stayin’ Alive
Stomping kick drum, punchy banjo, and an ominous slide guitar give the disco staple a new swampy sound. Kingsley and Perdomo do away with the falsetto but their harmonies are interesting and contrast a bit of brightness with the dark instrumentation. It’s a different take on a classic. – Mike Misch
43. KLB – Vai Ser Por Nós Dois
In the early ‘90s, the Bee Gees had a minor hit with the emotionally-charged adult contemporary power ballad “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” The song was reworked by a trio of Brazillian brothers called KLB in 2015 as “Vai Ser Por Nós Dois” (Translation: “It Will Be For Both of Us” ). The trio keeps the arrangement largely the same as the original, throwing in additional guitar fireworks, showcasing that the Bee Gees’ original tune could hold up in any language. – Curtis Zimmermann
42. John Frusciante – How Deep Is Your Love
A tender ballad originally released as a single in 1977 and later used in the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, there was talk of the song being recorded by Yvonne Elliman, but Robert Stigwood convinced the band to keep it for themselves. Since it was a big hit for the Bee Gees, this proved to be a good call.
Starting in 2006, the Red Hot Chili Peppers began to perform a cover of the song, which in and of itself is surprising, but even more surprising was that the performance was, essentially, a solo by guitarist John Frusciante. He displayed a nice voice and credible falsetto to go along with his typically fine guitar playing. It doesn’t appear that they trotted this out after the 2006 tour, but there are reports (not backed up by setlist.fm) that Frusciante has performed it at solo gigs. – Jordan Becker
41. Tragedy: The All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees – Tragedy
The name does not lie. Tragedy: An All Metal Tribute to the Bee Gees lovingly recreates the music of the Bee Gees and the disco era as fist-pumping metal. They included a cover of their namesake song “Tragedy” on the album with the ridiculous name We Rock Sweet Balls and Can Do No Wrong. The arrangement swaps a syncopated disco beat for a rock beat, switches out keyboards for electric guitars but keeps the song’s hard-pounding bass line intact. The singer then screams out the words, reminding everyone that “when you lose control and you got no soul,” it is indeed a “tragedy.” – Curtis Zimmermann
The list continues on Page 3.