Spirits Having Flown
|Spirits Having Flown|
|Studio album by the Bee Gees|
|Released||5 February 1979|
|Recorded||March–November, 1978 Criteria Studios, Miami|
|Genre||disco, pop, r&b, funk, soul|
|Label||RSO, Warner Bros., Reprise|
|Producer||The Bee Gees, Albhy Galuten, Karl Richardson|
|the Bee Gees chronology|
Spirits Having Flown is the Bee Gees' fifteenth original album (thirteenth internationally), released on 5 February 1979. It was the group's first album after their collaboration on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The album's first three tracks were released as singles which all went to no.1 in the US giving them an unbroken run of six US chart-toppers tying with The Beatles. It was also the first Bee Gees album to make the UK top 40 in ten years (not counting the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever), as well as being their first and only UK no.1 album. It has sold 20 million copies worldwide.
The title track (which, unlike the album title, includes parentheses) was also released as a single in the UK and a few other countries in December 1979. It reached No. 16 in the UK chart in January 1980, but its relatively low chart position and its somewhat limited release means that, although it is a well known track, it is often absent from Bee Gees greatest hits compilations. The exception was Bee Gees Greatest released in 1979 (for which the single was issued to promote).
Spirits Having Flown marked the tail end of the band's most successful era, prior to a severe downturn in the early 1980s when they would endure a near-total radio blackout (particularly in America) that Robin Gibb would refer to as "censorship" and "evil" in interviews.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
The Bee Gee's ninth US number one single from 1979. It topped the chart for three weeks.
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Co-producer Albhy Galuten recalls Spirits Having Flown as being created primarily by Barry Gibb, Karl Richardson and himself putting in long days and nights at Criteria Studios. Blue Weaver recalls others being involved. Both agree that Robin Gibb was active behind the scenes in songwriting and offering feedback to the recording process, but Maurice Gibb contributed probably the least he did on any Bee Gees album. Not only was his alcoholism sapping his creativity, but he was having back pains finally diagnosed in 1980 as caused by a bad disk.
In the recording phase, Robin and Maurice now mainly played the role of backing and harmony vocalists, and even in that capacity Barry did many of the vocal dubs himself as he went over and over the recorded work. Robin contributed one lead vocal ("Living Together") which was sung in falsetto with Barry providing alternating lead vocals in his normal register. This was Robin's least amount of lead vocals on any Bee Gees album with the exception of 1970's Cucumber Castle, for which he was not part of the group at that time. As with the last four Bee Gees albums, Maurice did not have any lead vocals.
The Bee Gees had been effectively typecast as a disco group after Saturday Night Fever, and in a 1978 interview Barry remarked "People think we're just about disco now. Of course that's not true. If you look at the SNF soundtrack, there's some dance music, but we also have ballads like More Than A Woman." In an attempt to counter this typecasting, the first single from Spirits Having Flown was the ballad "Too Much Heaven".
The horn section from Chicago (James Pankow, Walt Parazaider and Lee Loughnane) made a guest appearance on this album. At the time, they were next door working on the Chicago album Hot Streets. Thus the Bee Gees would return the favour as they appeared on Chicago's song "Little Miss Lovin'" and their keyboardist Blue Weaver appeared on "No Tell Lover"
Release and reception
|Robert Christgau||B− |
The eagerly-anticipated Spirits Having Flown was released in February 1979, with full page ads in Billboard magazine and Rolling Stone, which gave the album a lengthy, but positive review. It topped the album charts in several countries, including both the U.S. and the U.K. Its three singles "Tragedy", "Too Much Heaven" and "Love You Inside Out" all topped the charts in the US. It was also the first Bee Gees album to make a noticeable presence on the UK charts in a decade. In the US, it notably got airplay on black music stations, vindicating the group's stated mission of "blue-eyed soul". They also embarked on a lavish US tour in 1979 to promote the album, which marked the final climax of their commercial success before declining in popularity during the coming years. The album sold 20 million copies worldwide.
All songs written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb
- Side one
- "Tragedy" – 5:08
- "Too Much Heaven" – 5:02
- "Love You Inside Out" – 4:13
- "Reaching Out" – 4:07
- "Spirits (Having Flown)" – 5:21
- Side two
- "Search, Find" – 4:16
- "Stop (Think Again)" – 6:41
- "Living Together" – 4:23
- "I'm Satisfied" – 3:55
- "Until" – 2:27
Sprits Having Flown was voted Best Pop/Rock Album of 1979 at the 1980 American Music Awards ceremony.
1979 North American tour
- Bee Gees
- Bee Gees Band
- Alan Kendall – Lead guitar
- Blue Weaver – Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards, Vibraphone, Arp
- Dennis Bryon – Drums
- Additional personnel
- Neal Bonsanti – Horns
- Gary Brown – Saxophone
- Harold Cowart – Bass
- Ken Faulk – Horns
- Albhy Galuten – Synthesizer, Bass, Conductor
- Peter Graves – Horns
- Joe Lala – Percussion, Conga
- Lee Loughnane – Horns
- Herbie Mann – Flute
- James Pankow – Horns
- Walter Parazaider – Horns
- Bill Purse – Horns
- Whit Sidener – Horns
- George Terry – Guitar
- Stan Webb – Horns
- Daniel Ben Zubulon – Percussion, Conga
Certifications and sales
Chart procession and succession
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- "Chart Stats – Bee Gees – Spirits Having Flown" (PHP). UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- Allmusic – Bee Gees > Spirits Having Flown> Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
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- "Canadian album certifications – Bee Gees – Spirits Having Flown". Music Canada.
- The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
- "French album certifications – Bee Gees – Spirits Having Flown" (in French). InfoDisc. Select BEE GEES and click OK
- "Les Albums Or" (PHP). infodisc.fr (in French). SNEP. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1979". IFPI Hong Kong.
- "British album certifications – Bee Gees – Spirits Having Flown". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Spirits Having Flown in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
- "American album certifications – Bee Gees – Spirits Having Flown". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- Kendall Agee, Warren; Phillip H. Ault and Edwin Emery (1982-01-01). Perspectives on mass communications. Harper & Row. Retrieved 2012-08-11.