Horizontal (album)

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British LP issue and February 2007 Reissue in CD
Studio album by Bee Gees
Released February 1968
Recorded 17 July – 29 November 1967
Central Sound Studios, Chappell Studios and IBC Studios, London
Genre Psychedelic rock, psychedelic pop, soft rock, art rock, blue-eyed soul
Length 36:40
Label Polydor
Atco (United States, Canada)
Producer Robert Stigwood, Bee Gees
Bee Gees chronology
Bee Gees 1st
1989 CD Reissue
Singles from Horizontal
  1. "Massachusetts"
    Released: 19 September 1967 (UK)
    November 1967 (US)
  2. "World"
    Released: December 1967 (UK)
  3. "And the Sun Will Shine"
    Released: February 1968 (France)

Horizontal is the fourth studio album by the Bee Gees, and the second to receive an international release. The LP was released in early 1968, and included the international hit singles "Massachusetts" and "World". On 5 February 2007, Reprise Records reissued Horizontal with both stereo and mono mixes on one disc and a bonus disc of unreleased songs, non-album tracks, and alternate takes. The album was released in Polydor in many countries and on Atco only in the US and Canada. "And the Sun Will Shine" (backed by "Really and Sincerely") was released as a single only in France. This album was influenced by The Beatles to baroque.[1]


Around July 1967, the Gibb brothers sang backup vocals on Johnny Young's cover version of "Craise Finton Kirk Royal Academy of Arts" from Bee Gees' 1st, released as a single the following month.[2] Also in July 1967, the Gibb brothers sang backup vocals on Oscar's cover version of "Holiday", with an orchestral arrangement by Bill Shepherd.[2] Around July or August, Barry and Robin wrote "Cowman, Milk Your Cow", which was recorded by Adam Faith, with the Gibb brothers on background vocals. With Faith on lead vocals, the Gibb brothers on background vocals, Russ Ballard, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Pete Salt on guitar (though one source would suggest the latter was in fact Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green) and Bob Henrit on drums.[2]


The Bee Gees began their first studio session for Horizontal on 17 July 1967 just three months after their last session for Bee Gees' 1st and three days after the release of Bee Gees' 1st. The earliest session for Horizontal was really just a demo date to tape rough versions of the brothers' new songs. Venturing to Denmark Street (known as London's Tin Pan Alley), the Bee Gees booked Central Sound for 17 July, quickly cutting several tracks.

It's more of us doing what we wanted to do, the 1st album was like trying to make a band out of us. The second album was more of the three brothers wanting our own way wanting to experiment.

— Barry Gibb[3]

We started to experiment in Horizontal away from everything they'd previously done. Not that there was anything wrong with what they'd previously done it was terrific. They just started to experiment more with sounds and arrangements.

— Vince Melouney[3]

They started to record the songs for this album on 17 July. The songs recorded on that day were "Ring My Bell", "And the Sun Will Shine" and "Day Time Girl". On 25 July, they re-recorded "And the Sun Will Shine" but it was rejected, and instead more work was done later on the first version. On 30 July, they recorded "Birdie Told Me", "Ring My Bell", "All So Lonely!" (written by Colin Petersen or Vince Melouney), "Barker of the UFO" and "Harry Braff". On 31 August, they recorded "Vince's Number", written by the brothers for guitarist Vince Melouney to sing but ultimately it was dropped,[2] although Melouney would be allowed to contribute his own song "Such a Shame" to the next album Idea. The first and second take of the song "Harry Braff" was recorded on Bee Gees' 1st sessions, but they recorded a third take and that version was released.

"Words", Sinking Ships", "Barker of the UFO" and "Sir Geoffrey Saved the World" were recorded during this album's sessions ("Sinking Ships, "Sir Geoffrey Saved the World" and "Barker of the UFO" was released only as a non-album B-side). The leftovers from the Horizontal sessions, "Out of Line", "Ring My Bell", "Mrs. Gillespie's Refrigerator", "Deeply Deeply Me", "All My Christmases Came at Once", "Thank You For Christmas" and the medley "Silent Night"/"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" were released on the 2007 remastered version of Horizontal on Reprise Records. Bill Shepherd's orchestra probably served to give The Gibb Brothers critical feedback on the songs on which they wrote since Shepherd's accompaniment is not just added to finished tracks but an integral part of the arrangement.[4]

As the album completed, the Bee Gees closed out the year taping two songs for a television program How on Earth as it was televised at the Liverpool Cathedral.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[5]
US cover of Horizontal.

After Horizontal was released, it seemed to get mixed reactions from fans. Unlike other Bee Gees albums, it has a darker tone, both in the lyrics and what was called a heavy musical sound. This was also the last Bee Gees album for some time that critics didn't accuse of being lightweight. Horizontal was considered the heaviest album ever recorded by the Bee Gees, due for the most part to an increased influence asserted by guitarist Vince Melouney and drummer Colin Petersen. The album cover for the American release was changed slightly in that the photo of the group was reversed and was adorned with an oval picture frame.With the release of Horizontal was a Scandinavian tour, with concerts in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Gothenburg and on the group's returned to England, they recorded their third BBC session at the Playhouse Theatre at London's Northumberland Avenue with a 19 member orchestra under the direction of Bill Shepherd.

According to lead guitarist Vince Melouney:

Allmusic's Bruce Eder describes some songs in the album: "World" as 'a poignant, even somber yet gorgeous ballad filled with clever lyrics, and highlighted by a quavering Mellotron accompaniment, a very close grand piano sound and twangy fuzz-tone guitar'. "And the Sun Will Shine" as 'even more serious, regretful ballad that is bearable because it is also prettier than "World"'. "Harry Braff" as a 'cheerful'.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "World"   Barry and Robin 3:20
2. "And the Sun Will Shine"   Robin 3:26
3. "Lemons Never Forget"   Barry 2:59
4. "Really and Sincerely"   Robin 3:29
5. "Birdie Told Me"   Barry 2:19
6. "With the Sun in My Eyes"   Barry 2:34
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Massachusetts"   Robin, Barry and Maurice 2:19
2. "Harry Braff"   Robin, Barry and Maurice 3:13
3. "Daytime Girl"   Maurice and Robin 2:30
4. "The Earnest of Being George"   Barry 2:37
5. "The Change Is Made"   Barry 3:29
6. "Horizontal"   Barry and Robin 3:30

2007 reissue[edit]

  • The first disc included the 12 songs from the original release, first in stereo and then in mono.
  • All songs written and composed by Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb, except where noted.


Bee Gees
Additional personnel and production
  • Bill Shepherd – orchestral arrangement
  • Mike Claydon – engineer
  • Damon Lyon Shaw – engineer
  • John Pantry – engineer



  1. ^ a b Swanson, Dave. "45 YEARS AGO: THE BEE GEES RELEASE 'HORIZONTAL'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1967". Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Horizontal (1967)". Aln2.albumlinernotes.com. 7 September 1967. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Hughes, Andrew. The Bee Gees – Tales of the Brothers Gibb. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "Bee Gees – Horizontal". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Kent, David. Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  7. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 1 May 2013. Note: user must select 'Bee Gees' from drop-down.
  8. ^ a b "norwegiancharts.com Bee Gees – Horizontal" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Bee Gees > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Allmusic: Horizontal : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Album Search: Bee Gees – Horizontal" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1969" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
Preceded by
Roy Black 2 by Roy Black
West German Media Control Chart number-one album
28 March 1968 – 30 May 1968
Succeeded by
Heintje by Heintje