Spicks and Specks (song)
|"Spicks and Specks"|
|Single by Bee Gees|
|from the album Spicks and Specks|
|B-side||"I Am the World"|
|Released||September 1966 (Australia)
|Format||7", 45 rpm|
|Recorded||June — July 1966|
|Bee Gees singles chronology|
"Spicks and Specks" is a song by the Bee Gees, It was written by Barry Gibb. When the song released in September 1966, The single reached No. 4 on the Go-Set Australian National Top 40, and when the song was released in the other countries in Europe on February 1967, it reached No. 28 in Germany, No. 2 in Netherlands, No. 1 in New Zealand.
"Spicks and Specks" is dated to early July by the memory of Geoff Grant (Geoffrey Streeter) who played the trumpet. Grant recalls working three nights in a row on four songs including this track, "I Am the World", "All by Myself", and "The Storm". There were no charts, Barry sang what he wanted live, and Grant copied it. Some of the artists whose disks came out in August recall hearing "Spicks and Specks" being worked on or completed, further confirming that early July is the approximate date of the song's recording. "Spicks and Specks" was a ballad around a strong piano beat, Barry writing off a riff by Maurice in a way that would later get a joint writer credit.
Like several other pop titles, such as "Streets of London" (1969) by Ralph McTell, "Rain and Tears" (1968) by Aphrodite's Child, and several French songs of that period, the harmony of this song is directly taken from the famous Pachelbel's Canon, and the fascination this harmony generally captures always helped songs to become big hits. "Spicks and Specks" was historically the first hit to re-use Pachelbel's harmony.
The 1967 cover of the single features four-piece Bee Gees including the brothers with the band's new member, Colin Petersen.
The single entered the Sydney charts at the end of September and stayed in the top forty for nineteen weeks, peaking at number 3. It appeared on the Go-Set National Top 40 for sixteen weeks, where it reached number 4 early in November. By the middle of October the Bee Gees were dead set on returning to England. It did finally convince their producer, Nat Kipner, and Festival to release an LP, and it must have helped convince Polydor (England) to sign the group. This was the first single released in England. An instrumental version of the song is part of the soundtrack for Melody, which also featured several other Bee Gees songs.
In 1966, they performed it on Australian television with Barry singing and Robin and Maurice were behind to share backup vocals. On that show, Maurice is playing a guitar and also wears shades. In 1971 they performed in Festival Hall at Melbourne, Australia, and filmed in a black and white version in July with Maurice on piano. In 1974, they also performed in Melbourne from their Mr. Natural tour. In 1989, they also performed in Melbourne from their One for All Tour and instead of Barry holding his microphone while singing the song, he plays his guitar for the first time on the song while singing the song with Maurice on piano. In 1998–1999, they performed this song on the One Night Only tour in Australian shows only.
- Barry Gibb — lead and backing vocal
- Maurice Gibb — piano, bass
- Russell Barnsley — drums
- Geoff Grant — trumpet
- Steve Kipner — backing vocal
- Robin Gibb — backing vocal
- Nat Kipner — producer
|Australia Go-Set Charts||1966||4|
|Netherlands Dutch Top 40 Charts||1967||3|
|Germany Media Control Charts||1967||28|
|New Zealand Recorded Music NZ Charts||1967||1|
|Japan Oricon Singles Chart||1967||56|
- The Dissociatives' version of "Spicks and Specks" was used as the theme song of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's music-based quiz show Spicks and Specks (2005–2011).
- Status Quo covered the song on their debut album Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo.
- The Searchers covered the song on their album Second Take in 1972.
- The Puhdys song Wenn ein Mensch lebt is based on this song; it was recorded for the 1973 East German film The Legend of Paul and Paula, for which it would have been impossible at the time to secure the rights to the Bee Gees' song. Other songs in the film are also derived from specific western pop songs.
- Karel Černoch performed the Czech version of this song named "Sto kouzelnejch slok".
- Barry Gibb performs this song as the part of his debut solo tour Mythology Tour.
In popular culture
- Bee Gees discography
- Go-Set National Top 40 charting:
- Debut at No. 37 on 19 October 1966. Nimmervoll, Ed (19 October 1966). "National Top 40". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
- Peaked at No. 4 on 9 November 1966, for two weeks:
- Final (16th) week in chart at No. 29 on 8 February 1967. Nimmervoll, Ed (8 February 1967). "National Top 40". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
- Joseph Brennan. "Gibb Songs: 1966".
- "Go-Set Australian Charts". Go-Set: The Teen and Twenties Newspaper. 16 November 1966. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- "Bee Gees - Spicks & Specks". Dutch Charts. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- "Bee Gees - Spicks and Specks". officialcharts.de. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- "flavour of new zealand - NZ listener charts 1967". Flavour of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- "Songs Written by the Gibb Family on the International Charts - Part 1". brothersgibb.org. Retrieved 18 January 2015.