To Whom It May Concern (Bee Gees album)

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To Whom It May Concern
Studio album by the Bee Gees
Released October 1972
Recorded January 1971 ("We Lost the Road")
January and April 1972
IBC Studios, London
Genre Pop rock, soft rock, glam rock
Length 43:32
Label Polydor (UK)
Atco (US), (CA)
Producer Robert Stigwood, Bee Gees
the Bee Gees chronology
Trafalgar
(1971)
To Whom It May Concern
(1972)
Life in a Tin Can
(1973)
Singles from To Whom It May Concern
  1. "Run to Me"
    Released: July 1972
  2. "Sea of Smiling Faces"
    Released: November 1972 (Japan)
  3. "Alive"
    Released: December 1972

To Whom It May Concern is the tenth album released by the Bee Gees, released in October 1972. It was the follow-up, and continued the melancholic and personal sound of its predecessor Trafalgar. The album was recognised as "a farewell to the old Bee Gees" as the album marked the end of an era for the group in several ways as it was their last album to be recorded at IBC Studios, in London, their last with conductor and arranger Bill Shepherd who had guided them since 1967, and their last under their first contract with Robert Stigwood. Even some of the songs were old ones finished up or rewritten for the occasion (in the case of "I Can Bring Love").

To Whom It May Concern has sold approximately 350,000 copies worldwide.

Background and recording[edit]

After touring in 1971 to promote their previous album, Trafalgar, the Bee Gees worked quickly to complete another album. They recorded the song "Paper Mache, Cabbages and Kings" on 3 January 1972 which was the last song recorded with the Australian drummer Geoff Bridgford. He left the group before their tour of East Asia and was replaced on tour by Chris Karan. Recording resumed in April 1972 with a Robin song called "Never Been Alone" and a song Barry did on his fan club recording from 1971 called "I Can Bring Love". The drummer on the April sessions was a veteran session player, Clem Cattini, who has appeared on many top recordings going back to 1960. The first song recorded for this album was "You Know It's For You", a song written and performed by Maurice Gibb, on which he played guitar, bass, keyboard and mellotron.[1] The album was primarily recorded between June 1971 and April 1972 (except for "We Lost the Road", recorded in January 1971 during the Trafalgar sessions). The Bee Gees saved a non-album single, "My World", from the sessions which was released in January 1972, becoming a UK/US Top 20 hit.

The album is much more diverse offering than the group's previous album. The album is also notable for the Bee Gees' last with Bill Shepherd and his orchestra. Shepherd's arrangements are relatively toned down and the background vocals sometimes seem to take the place of what could have been string sections.[2][page needed]

Release and reception[edit]

The album came in November 1972 supported by very positive reviews, and preceded by the UK Top 10 hit "Run to Me", in July. Despite the critical acclaim of the variety of styles and strong tracks, To Whom It May Concern only reached No. 35 in the US and became their third consecutive studio album to fail to appear in the UK album charts. It performed better in other European countries. In Italy reached No. 10, and peaked at No. 6 in Spain. The subsequent single "Alive" was a modest sized hit in the US, reaching the Top 40, and a major hit in Australia, reaching No. 4. The album is also notable for containing a relative variety of song types – rock and roll like "Bad Bad Dreams", power ballads like "Alive", choral performances like "Please Don't Turn Out the Lights), bizarre and psychedelic songs like "Paper Mache, Cabbages and Kings" and "Sweet Song of Summer" and nostalgic love songs like "Sea of Smiling Faces". The band never showed approval to the album, but for many fans it is an unusually authentic Bee Gees collection, closer in spirit to what the brothers found interesting to do than what they thought they owed the public. In the 2010 documentary In Our Own Time, Maurice was shown explaining (in archival footage) that by 1972 they didn't really know who their audience was, hence the title To Whom It May Concern. Another example of the contrast between the old and the new was the front cover showing Bee Gees performing in Japan early in 1972, and the back showing them as boys in 1963. The LP also had a gatefold with pictures of many business associates and family members on a drawing of the Bee Gees and a band. The band shows Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb (Maurice is playing Rickenbacker 4001) Alan Kendall and tour-only drummer Chris Karan, with Bill Shepherd conducting the orchestra.

"Paper Mache, Cabbages and Kings" entered the Danish charts in the first week of 1973 and stayed in the charts for 5 weeks, peaking at #8.[3]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars link
Rolling Stone (not rated) link

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Lead vocal(s) Length
1. "Run to Me"   Barry and Robin 3:05
2. "We Lost the Road" (Barry Gibb & Robin Gibb) Barry and Robin 3:27
3. "Never Been Alone" (Robin Gibb) Robin 3:11
4. "Paper Mache, Cabbages and Kings"   Barry and Robin 4:59
5. "I Can Bring Love" (Barry Gibb) Barry 2:06
6. "I Held a Party"   Robin and Barry 2:35
7. "Please Don't Turn Out the Lights"   Robin and Barry 1:59
Side two
No. Title Lead vocal(s) Length
1. "Sea of Smiling Faces"   Barry and Robin 3:07
2. "Bad Bad Dreams"   Barry and Robin 3:47
3. "You Know It's For You" (Maurice Gibb) Maurice 2:57
4. "Alive" (Barry Gibb & Maurice Gibb) Barry 4:04
5. "Road to Alaska"   Robin 2:38
6. "Sweet Song of Summer"   Barry and Robin 5:04

Alternate tracklisting[edit]

Some publicity material featured an alternate trackorder although no commercial release of it exists.

Side one

"Alive" / "I Can Bring Love" / "Bad Bad Dreams" / "I Held a Party" / "Sea of Smiling Faces" / "Road to Alaska" / "Run to Me"

Side two

"Paper Mache, Cabbages and Kings" / "We Lost the Road" / "You Know It's For You" / "Never Been Alone" / "Please Don't Turn Out the Lights" / "Sweet Song of Summer"

Personnel[edit]

Bee Gees
Additional personnel and production
  • Alan Kendall – guitar
  • Clem Cattini — drums
  • Bill Shepherd – orchestral arrangement
  • Mike Claydon — engineer
  • Damon Lyon-Shaw – engineer
  • Richard Manwaring – engineer
  • Andy Knight – engineer
  • Mike Vickers — synthesizer engineer on "Sweet Song of Summer"

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gibb Songs : 1972". Columbia.edu. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  2. ^ Bilyeu, Cook & Hughes 2009.
  3. ^ "danskehitlister.dk". danskehitlister.dk. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  4. ^ Kent, David. Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  5. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 18, No. 23". RPM. 20 January 1973. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1972" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  7. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  8. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  9. ^ "Allmusic: To Whom It May Concern : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 5 May 2013.