Sunday, February 23, 2014
Bee Gees - Children of the World
Between 1975’s Main Course (click here for that review) and 1977’s Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (click here)came September of 1976’s Children of the World. The Platinum selling album, their twelfth internationally, went to number 36 in the Netherlands, number 23 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 16 in Australia, number 8 on the US Billboard Album chart (sixty-three weeks total on the chart), number 6 in New Zealand, and number 3 in Canada.
Side one opens with “You Should Be Dancing”. As the first single, it reached number 24 in France, number 20 in Belgium, number 19 in Australia, number 17 in the Netherlands, number 16 in Germany, number 11 in Norway, number 10 in New Zealand, number 8 in Sweden, number 5 in Italy and the UK, number 4 in Ireland, and number 1 in Canada. Here in the US, it went to number 25 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, number 4 on the Billboard R&B chart and number 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Dance charts. The opening percussion and bass instantly pulls me into this one, putting me in a mood to dance. I instantly think of Saturday Night Fever when I hear it as the song was prominently featured in the film and on the soundtrack.
The B-side to the second single was “You Stepped Into My Life”. I have always liked the strutting rhythm of this song about appreciating a relationship. It also has a very easy to sing-a-long chorus.
“Love So Right”, the second single, hit number 41 in the UK, number 38 in Germany, number 28 in Australia, number 14 in Ireland, number 8 in Brazil, number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 2 in Canada. This was the first single by the group to feature Barry’s falsetto on lead for the entire track. This is a beautiful ballad that tells of a love-them-and-leave-them woman and the brokenhearted man she left behind. During my dating days of the 80's, this was my go-to song after a relationship had ended.
“Lovers”, the B-side to the third single, dips into the funky pool, and it features the brothers Gibb hitting a number of different vocal ranges. I make it a bit of a game to pick out who is singing what part on this one.
"Can't Keep a Good Man Down" closes out the first half with a mid-tempo dance track. I like the harmonies here, particularly on the chorus.
Side two begins with “Boogie Child”. As the third single, it went to number 31 on the US Billboard R&B chart, number 13 in New Zealand, number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. number 9 in Canada, and number 5 in Italy. As with the side one opener, this one focuses on the dance floor. Here, the guys are paying tribute to do sexy dancer who has the attention of every man in the club.
“Love Me”, a track Yvonne Elliman would cover a year later, features Robin on lead in falsetto. The arrangement is a bit more stripped down than Elliman's version. It is a song I always end up singing along to the chorus on.
“Subway”, the B-side to the first single, captures that feeling of when you are in love and have to reluctantly head home after an evening together. It has a light and bouncy rhythm to it; I can picture the neon lights of the city at night when I listen to it. The saxophone playing through to the fade out is a perfect touch.
"The Way It Was" slows things down with a piano-based ballad about two ships passing in the night. Back when I was a teenager, this one was probably one I skipped over. But as an adult, I can appreciate the beauty and the sadness of this composition.
The album closes with the title track. “Children of the World”, the fourth single, went to number 84 in Australia and number 13 in New Zealand. The opening acapella harmony that has always stuck in my mind. I sing along to it every time.
I owned a copy of Children of the World back in the late 1970's, bought when I was completely into all things Bee Gees. I easily listened to it all the way through a couple dozen times back then. I still very much enjoy this album today, over three and a half decades later. It is a solid record with a number of standout tracks.