The Battle of the Blue and the Grey
|"The Battle of the Blue and the Grey"|
|Single by Bee Gees|
|B-side||"The Three Kisses of Love"|
|Released||22 March 1963|
Festival Studios, Sydney, Australia
|Genre||Country, folk, pop, rhythm and blues|
|Bee Gees singles chronology|
"The Battle of the Blue and the Grey" is the Bee Gees' first single, backed by "The Three Kisses of Love" and released on March 22, 1963. Like all the Bee Gees' output prior to 1967 (with the notable exception of Spicks and Specks) it was only released in Australia. It was performed in Australian television Bandstand, the footage of that performance still exists. It reached #93 in Australia.
In September 1963, it was included as the third track on their first EP The Bee Gees. Neither song appeared on an album until the mop-up compilation Turn Around, Look at Us in 1967 but both are included on the 1998 compilation Brilliant from Birth which collects most of the Australian material.
Composition, recording and release
It was written by Barry Gibb when he was only 16 years old. Col Joye recalls producing the sessions and using his backing band the Joy Boys, the members are Kevin Jacobsen, John Bogie, Laurie Erwin, Norm Day, Dave Bridge, Bruce Gurr and Ron Patton. As was the norm for the Gibb brothers at the time, Barry sang the vocal solos while Robin and Maurice harmonised around him. It was recorded on February 1963 in Festival Studio, Sydney. Robert Iredale was the engineer in charge.
"The Battle of the Blue and the Grey" was released in 22 March 1963. While this song failed to turn out to be the hit that their record company had hoped for as Robin says: "We recorded our first flop based on the story [of the American civil war]. Now this record was very hot with one guy 2SM in Sydney. He was playing all this time and, of course, it didn't do anything". The song did creep top 20 in the local Sydney chart. This songs sounded like a tribute to Johnny Horton who had a hit record with his song "Battle of New Orleans" (1959). While this song achieve a reasonable amount of publicity, the music press also made mention of one other member of the household. Tucked away in small print, was news that their sister Lesley had also embarked on a show business career in Surfer's Paradise as a snake-dancer.
The song's length 2:05 like most of their Australian releases, it is a cleverly song full of interest, albeit somewhat violent for the time with references to shooting people 'full of lead' as part of its war theme. In an attempt to promote the single, the stories appeared in Sydney newspapers about the new 'singing group' and its young songwriter.
The song is about war. The story of the first verse was an old man who was born to win the race as people won't believe him, but he is saying the truth, he also said that many hearts were broken and a lot of the other people's tears were shed. On the second verse, he tells Stonewall Jackson and said to him:
The battle's gettin' rough, son, guess, we better flee, there's grapeshot all around us and the field is black with lead. You better start a-runnin', boy, before you lose your head
On the third verse, the old man tells that the cannons roared around them and the field was black with lead. The old man picked a soldier dressed in blue and filled him full of lead, and later, he picked up more soldiers which was sitting on a mound, the old man fixed his bayonet to his gun and mowed them down.
- Barry Gibb — lead vocals
- Robin Gibb — harmony and backing vocal
- Maurice Gibb — harmony and backing vocal
- Kevin Jacobsen — bass, piano
- John Bogie — drums
- Laurie Erwin — saxophone
- Norm Day — guitar
- Bruce Gurr — keyboards
- Ron Patton — saxophone
- Robert Iredale — engineer
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||1963||98|
- Andrew Hughes. The Bee Gees - Tales Of The Brothers Gibb. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- Discogs.com. "Bee Gees - The Bee Gees (EP)".
- Discogs.com. "Bee Gees - Brilliant from Birth".
- "Albums by the Joy Boys". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- Joseph Brennan. "Gibb Songs: 1963".
- "Bee Gees - The Battle of the Blue and the Grey Lyrics". Metrolyrics. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
- "Songs written by the Gibb Family on the International Charts". Brothersgibb.org. Retrieved 4 December 2014.