Birth of Brilliance - Bee Gees

Date: 1978
Click here for full track listing

Where to Buy

Buy original CD version (released 1989)
Buy Musicrama rerelease (release date unknown)

Nicholas James

It must have been hard for the listeners of 1978, when this compilation was first released, to believe that they were listening to the same group that were topping the charts with songs such as 'You Should Be Dancing'. This album is packed full of tracks from the first phase of the Bee Gees career, between 1963 and 1966, when they were recording in Australia on independent label Festival Records.

In recent years, there have been numerous repackagings of the same early material (see here and here on, for example). Until the recent release of the more comprehensive remastered Brilliant From Birth, which is now the definitive collection of these early tracks, Birth of Brilliance was the best place to hear them.

Listening to this CD you can see how the group matured even through these three short years. There is a big difference between the maturity of the group as writers and performers between early tracks such as 'Timber' and 'The Battle Of The Blue And The Grey' and later tracks like 'Cherry Red' and 'Secondhand People' (and that is not just the fact that Robin and Maurice's voices hadn't broken when they recorded the first two tracks!).

Unlike the many repackaged albums mentioned above, this album features a number of rarer tracks from this period, such as 'Lonely Winter' (an atmospheric ballad), 'In The Morning' (the first recording of a track that would be rerecorded and featured on the album Best of Bee Gees Volume 2), and the angelic 'Butterfly'.

You will be surprised at the range of sounds and styles explored by the Bee Gees in this period, especially when you consider that they were teenagers. Of course, the Beatles influence is there, particularly in the earlier tracks ('I Was A Lover...', 'Claustrophobia' and 'Could It Be'). A lot of these early tracks are written by Barry, but in the songs 'Storm' and 'I Am The World', we see Robin's song writing and vocal skills begin to develop, as the Bee Gees develop their own sound.

We also hear the Bee Gees spoof other artists/styles of the period. In 'Terrible Way To Treat Your Baby', Barry and Robin do the Righteous Brothers and in 'Born A Man' it is rock and roll stars such as Elvis Presley that they imitate very successfully. And listen also for some quite amazing vocal histrionics on this album. The aforementioned 'Born a Man' is a case in point, and listen to Robin's voice in 'Monday's Rain'. Fantastic.

The Bee Gees were clearly full of enthusiasm, ideas and talent at this early stage of their careers and this album is a great place from which to explore the birth of this great band.

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Where to Buy
Buy original CD version (released 1989)
Buy Musicrama rerelease (release date unknown)