Jumbo (Bee Gees song)

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Single by Bee Gees
A-side "The Singer Sang His Song"
(double A-side)
Released March 1968
Format 7" single, 45rpm single
Recorded 10 January 1968
Genre Psychedelic rock, hard rock, blues rock
Length 2:07
Label Polydor (United Kingdom)
Atco (United States)
Songwriter(s) Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Producer(s) Robert Stigwood, Bee Gees
Bee Gees singles chronology
"I've Gotta Get a Message to You"
"I've Gotta Get a Message to You"
Audio sample

"Jumbo" is a song released by the Bee Gees, written by Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb. It was released as a double A side with "The Singer Sang His Song" but featured as the lead track in some territories.[1]


"Jumbo" was recorded on January 10 during sessions for the album Idea (though it was not included on the album) on the same day as "Gena's Theme" and "Bridges Crossing Rivers" (neither of which saw release until the remastered edition of Idea in 2006). The song has a strong emphasis on guitar with two tracks laid down by Vince Melouney[2]


The decision on which song would be the A side came so late that many British singles have "The Singer Sang his Song" marked as the A-side, but "Jumbo" was promoted as the A-side instead. This single broke the series of major Bee Gees hits, and fell into obscurity as neither side was on the next album nor was "Jumbo" on Best of Bee Gees in 1969. The two songs only resurfaced on unofficial compilations and boxed sets. The song reached #25 in the British charts and #57 in the American charts and Barry said:

"We've been attacked for apparently never changing our style. Well, remember that we write all our own material. We try for unusual song lyrics, but obviously we have a bias towards one particular style of song. Our single was going to be 'The Singer Sang His Song' as the A-side, but we heeded the criticism. We switched to "Jumbo", which is a distinct change of direction for us. A simple sort of idea, every kid has an imaginary pet animal, but scored differently. As it happened, a lot of people thought we were wrong to change and said they preferred 'Singer' even if it was on the same lines as earlier ones, But when we study other groups, we know the dangers of staying on one direction."[3]

Following a string of transatlantic Top 20 singles, "Jumbo" was the first single to miss that mark in both Britain and America (though To Love Somebody had missed the UK Top 40). "Jumbo" managed to reach number 25 in the UK but stalled at number 57 in America, breaking a streak of five consecutive Top 20 singles there. Until the release of the box set Tales from the Brothers Gibb, "Jumbo" was available only on vinyl. In other versions "The Singer Sang His Song" was the A-side and the B-side was this single [citation needed].

This song, along with "The Singer Sang His Song", was only released on a single in 1968, so it was mixed only to mono at that time. It wasn't until 1990 that a stereo version was prepared by Bill Inglot for the release of the Tales from the Brothers Gibb box set. Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood said "As far as record sales go, "Jumbo" was aimed at the American market."[3]

The band's guitarist Vince Melouney explained "Jumbo" and "The Singer Sang His Song":

It was always Stigwood's call. The only exception was "Jumbo" where we pushed for that. Robert wanted the other side as the A-side. When that started to go wrong, he quickly tried to make "Singer Sang" as the A-side.[3]

The single was released in March 1968 elsewhere. In Germany, it was released in April 1968.[4] Its relative failure was quickly forgotten when the next single "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" became an international hit.




  1. ^ "Bee Gees - Jumbo / The Singer Sang His Song". Discogs. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Joseph Brennan. "Gibb Songs: 1968". 
  3. ^ a b c Hughes, Andrew. "The Bee Gees: Tales Of The Brothers Gibb". Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Bee Gees - Jumbo / The Singer Sang His Song". 45cat. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Songs Written by the Gibb Family on the International Charts" (PDF). brothersgibb.org. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Bee Gees - Jumbo". austriancharts.com. Archived from the original on 27 January 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Bee Gees - Jumbo". ultratop.be. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Bee Gees - Jumbo". officialcharts.de. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Bee Gees - Jumbo". Dutch Charts. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "Bee Gees - Jumbo". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  11. ^ songdatabase.com. "Billboard Hot 100 Chart History for Jumbo by Bee Gees". Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "Bee Gees - Jumbo". Cashbox Magazine Archives. May 4, 1968. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Bee Gees - Jumbo". Cashbox Magazine Archives. May 18, 1968. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 

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