|Song by Bee Gees from the album Odessa|
May 1971 (single release)
|Recorded||25 October 1968|
|Label||Polydor (United Kingdom)
Atco (United States)
|Writer||Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb|
|Producer||Robert Stigwood, Bee Gees|
|Odessa track listing|
"Melody Fair" is a song by the Bee Gees, written by Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb in 1968 and released in 1969 on their album Odessa. It was not released as a single, but this song is played in a numerous radio stations.
Scottish singer Lulu released a version as title song to the 1970 album Melody Fair. Hong Kong pop duo Twins recorded a cover version for the film Just One Look. Andy Gibb's group, named Melody Fayre was named after this song.
Background and recording
According to Barry, "I think 'Melody Fair' was written in the studio, we used to write a lot of stuff on the spot in the studio. We often used to go to recording studios without any songs at all. Because the time was booked [and] we had to be there. So we'd turn up at seven at night, and we'd basically start writing and cutting the backing track of a song that wasn't finished. We would just create it in that way. A lot of albums were done in a month or five weeks. The first one was three weeks, 'Melody Fair' was probably influenced by 'Eleanor Rigby', I was wanting to make the same kind of statement".
The group finished writing "Melody Fair" on 25 October and recorded its demo the next day at IBC. An alternate mix made on October 27, showing the mellotron that was mixed out later, appears on Sketches for Odessa. Robin appears to be absent with Maurice singing part of the lead vocal, "comb your hair". This is one of a handful of songs to make some use of Barry Gibb singing in falsetto voice, which would become a featured part of the Bee Gees' sound starting with their 1975 hit single "Nights on Broadway". Lyrics like Life isn't like the rain and It's just like a merry-go-round could have resulted in a trite pop tune. The verse melodies move in a circular up-and-down fashion before giving way to a grand chorus that starts in a minor-key fashion but quickly gives way to a yearning pattern of ascending notes that reach for the sky in an emotional fashion. The crowning touch is provided by Barry and Maurice's vocal harmony.
The demo features an acoustic guitar and drum backing track. Unlike the other songs in Odessa, the lyrics are also the same on the demo and its finished version. The only different lyric on the demo was She shouldn't cry, she should smile all day, Just like a merry-go-round. The alternate mix, which was released on Sketches for Odessa has a different, fuller and more backing track and Barry's vocals on that mix was also the same on the demo and finished version, however, the drums on that version is removed from the final recording of the song.
In May 1971 it was released as a single only in Japan where it reached #3. The song was recorded again on August 27, 1970, but never released, while they were recording the songs for their album 2 Years On. The song was featured in the 1971 movie Melody. Donald A. Guarisco at Allmusic describes this song as "a graceful melody that makes them sound like a grand, mournful proclamation". It was not released as a single in the US and UK, but become a favorite of fans and later appeared on the band's compilation album Best of Bee Gees, Volume 2. They performed the song in Japan in early 1972 before they began recording their album To Whom It May Concern. In 1989, they performed it in Japan as an acoustic version during their One For All Tour. In 1998, they performed this song as an acoustic version during their One Night Only tour in 1998 and 1999.
- Barry Gibb — lead vocals, guitar
- Maurice Gibb — bass, piano, guitar, harmony vocal on the line "comb your hair"
- Colin Petersen — drums
- Bill Shepherd — orchestral arrangement