Jul 292020

Go back to the beginning

20. Whyte Horses ft. La Roux – Mr. Natural

The early ’70s marked what Barry Gibb has referred to as “the lowest point in our careers.” No one seemed remotely interested in new Bee Gees albums. No album bore the brunt of the collective cold shoulder harder than 1974’s Mr. Natural. It only got as “high” as #178 in the U.S. album chart and found itself exiled to the cut-out bin at what felt like time-warp speed. Yet Mr. Natural‘s marriage of slick pub rock, southern vibes, and sweetly funky grooves mark it as one of the true hidden gems within the Gibb discography.

UK music collective Whyte Horses, led by Dom Thomas, who runs the sublime reissue label Finders Keepers, recorded a truly exceptional cover of the album’s title track for their 2020 album Hard Times, making it one of the newest covers on our list. The gloriously sugary arrangement and wonderfully warm vocal turn from Elly Jackson of La Roux brilliantly showcase what a perfect pop song “Mr. Natural” always was. – Hope Silverman

19. Faith No More – I Started a Joke

Faith No More bassist Billy Gould has said that while the band was in a bar on a snake-infested island, they witnessed a karaoke version of the Bee Gee’s “I Started a Joke.” Gould said, “The lyrics were so pathetic and depressing that we just said ‘we have to do this song!’ It’s the most miserable song I ever heard in my life!” Recorded in Gould’s home studio, the song was originally released as a B-side to the “Digging a Grave” single. After the band split in 1998, it was put out on their best-of album, Who Cares A Lot? The video was also made after their split, and doesn’t feature anyone from the group (though it brings that karaoke story to life!). Faith No More took the miserableness of the original and turned it up to 11 – especially with the Vito Rocco-directed video employing characters that could be straight out of Twin Peaks or Fargo. – Jay Honstetter

18. Moxy Früvous – I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You

Moxy Früvous has a decent full-band cover of “I Gotta Get a Message to You” on their You Will Go to the Moon album, but the one I’m a fan of is their a capella version on Live Noise. It sounds like it could have been done around a flaming street corner barrel on a cold Canadian night. To me it doesn’t sound like a desperate plea from a Death Row inmate anymore. Instead, it feels like a call of camaraderie, four voices unified to say “hang in there, baby.” – Patrick Robbins

17. Dean Martin – Sweetheart

The Bee Gees song “Sweetheart” was originally released on the oddly-named album Cucumber Castle. Apparently, the more sensible title Bee Gees’ 5th must have been voted down two Bee Gees to one. Here, Dean Martin does what Dean Martin does, and does it admirably, on his 1971 record For the Good Times, an album for cover-song completists only. Along with “Sweetheart” included on the disc are not-as-stellar versions of “For Once In My Life” and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.” – Walt Falconer

16. Nina Simone – To Love Somebody

If Nina Simone covered your song, it is likely that she made it her own, and probably did it better than you. Her cover of “To Love Somebody,” the title track from her 1969 album, is one of those cases. Maybe because it was written as a soul ballad for Otis Redding, who died before he could record it, it was a perfect fit for the prodigiously talented Simone, who took the blue-eyed soul of the original and converted it into a heartfelt, gospel-inflected soul burner and scored a No. 5 hit in the UK. – Jordan Becker

15. Sunny War – Stayin’ Alive

When she recorded this song for Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe Sessions, LA folk-punk singer Sunny Ward wrote, “I wanted to cover this song cos I’ve been in this weird BeeGees phase. I don’t know what traumatic thing happened to me last year that made me only listen to BeeGees for 5 months but… Something definitely happened. I was so into them at one point I decided I wanted to know all the lyrics to all their songs so I could really sing along. Then I discovered this Staying Alive song is actually pretty dark and relatable. Before reading the lyrics I just thought it was a song about snorting coke and dancing but boy was I wrong.” – Ray Padgett

14. Puddles Pity Party – I Started a Joke

The novelty having faded long ago, Puddles the clown has proved he’s not a novelty act, not a one-off. The unhappy harlequin with the voice of melted gold continues to throw beautiful pity parties on a regular basis. What more appropriate song for him to sing than “I Started a Joke?” The pain of never being able to share laughter with his audience couldn’t be stronger than it is here. – Patrick Robbins

13. The Flying Burrito Brothers – To Love Somebody

Barry and Robin Gibb may have penned “To Love Somebody” for Redding, but it was Gram Parsons, as lead vocalist of the Flying Burrito Brothers, who put the most soul into it. After the Bee Gees themselves scored a US hit with the song in summer ’67, the country-rock pioneer did it proud in 1970. He gave the ballad one of his most emotive vocal performances, which came not with the big Stax sound that the Bee Gees went for, but the slow and twangy backing of his bandmates, and the sorrowful pedal-steel tones of “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow. It was, indeed, beyond doubt that Gram “knew what it’s like” to feel the pain of unrequited love when he sang in his quivery voice: “What good would breathing do / If I cain’t have you? / If I cain’t have you?” Strange, then, that this version only surfaced posthumously as an outtake on the Burritos’ Close Up the Honky Tonks compilation of ’74. It deserved better. – Adam Mason

12. Tommy Keene – I Laugh in Your Face

When doing the research for this post, I used the Cover Me favorite Second Hand Songs website to find, among other things, which Bee Gees songs were covered the least. Among those they listed as being covered only once was “I Laugh In Your Face,” a track I’d never heard of, covered by Tommy Keene, who I knew to be a power pop legend. That was enough to get me to look it up. Having done so, and having heard the quiet/loud dynamic and the emotional release of the chorus, I’m surprised Tommy Keene was the only one to cover it (so far), and I’m grateful that he did. – Patrick Robbins

11. Michele Phillips – Had A Lot Of Love Last Night

Culling a deep cut from the aforementioned underrated 1974 album Mr. Natural, Michele Phillips – Mama number two in the Mamas and Papas fold – beautifully envelops herself in the essence of the song that can be found on the expanded of Victim of Romance, originally released in 1977. With a delicate arrangement highlighting only Phillips pristine vocal with piano accompaniment, the nuanced beauty of the song is revealed more than in the string-laden original. – Walt Falconer

The list continues on Page 6.

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  19 Responses to “The Best Bee Gees Covers Ever”

Comments (19)
  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…)

  8. Where is Olivia Newton-John’s “Come On Over”?

    That is Top 10 material!!!

  9. Thank you so much for including Martin Carthy’s exquisite cover of “New York Mining Disaster, 1941” – a favourite since its release more than twenty years ago!

  10. Someone might appreciate this Bee Gees cover of “To Love Somebody”


  11. Who is Ever?

  12. Spicks & Specks by Status Quo

  13. Living Together
    An Escape Plan


  14. viest Love you inside and out

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