Lonely Days

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"Lonely Days"
Lonely Days.jpg
Single by Bee Gees
from the album 2 Years On
B-side"Man for All Seasons"
Released6 November 1970
Recorded21 August 1970
IBC Studios, London
Atco (US/CA)
Producer(s)Robert Stigwood, Bee Gees
Bee Gees singles chronology
"Lonely Days"
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"

"Lonely Days" is a ballad written and performed by the Bee Gees. It appeared on their album 2 Years On, and was released as a single, becoming their first Top Five hit in the US, peaking at number three in the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching number one in the Cashbox and Record World charts.

Writing and recording[edit]

On Friday, 21 August 1970, the three Gibb brothers announced they would reunite and start recording together, nearly 16 months after Robin quit the group. They said later that they wrote "Lonely Days" and "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" at their first reunion session, but the exact day when they recorded the song is unknown. However, a tape of stereo mixes received at Atlantic in October bears the tantalizing notation "August 20, 1970" which, if true, means the brothers announced the reunion the day after it happened.[1] According to Robin Gibb in a 2001 Billboard interview with the Bee Gees, "That was written on Addison Road in Holland Park in London, in the basement of Barry's place".[2]

This song was sung by all three together to Maurice's piano and bass and Bill Shepherd's string and horn arrangement, the slow verses contrasting with the pounding chorus. "'Lonely Days' was written in ten minutes. It was that quick. I was at the piano ten minutes". Barry revealed later in 1998, "A manager we had about five years back heard 'Lonely Days' in a restaurant and he said to a friend, 'That's one of my favorite Beatles songs' And he was managing us!"[3]

Atlantic Records president Jerry L. Greenberg recalled:

"I heard that song ['Lonely Days'] and I went crazy. I thought it was going to be an amazing number one record. In those days we had our own recording studio, right down the hall from the main offices. Now the record was pressed and ready to go, but what I did was, I made up about 30 tape copies, just put the song on a tape on a regular plastic reel, and I called up a bunch of my promotions department friends."[3]

Greenberg continues:

"I said, 'The Bee Gees just came out of the studio and they cut this record, and I don't even have time to press it up yet, but I wanted you guys to hear it, and I'm going to send you, you're the only one I'm sending, this tape, right from the studio'. I mailed it out special delivery and I have to tell you, within a week, thirty radio stations were all over 'Lonely Days', and it busted the record wide open. I was very proud of that. Ahmet [Ertegun] and Jerry [Wexler] were both talking about it. In those days, you had to come up with some creative ideas, how to promote a record. That record took off!"[3]

Musical structure[edit]

The song incorporated the innovative structure and knack for changing tempos exemplified by the second side of The Beatles' Abbey Road album, released the previous year and a clear influence on this single. "Lonely Days" shifts back and forth between a piano-and-strings-dominated verse reminiscent of "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "Golden Slumbers," and an up-tempo stomping chorus that echoes "Carry That Weight"; perhaps as an acknowledgment of the debt, as the record approaches its fade-out, the lead singer's voice is filtered to sound like John Lennon's.[1]


In the United States, Atco released "Lonely Days" on 6 November 1970. As in other territories, "Man for All Seasons", also taken from 2 Years On, featured as the B-side.[3][4] Atco also issued a promotional single featuring the mono and stereo mixes on the disc's respective sides.[5] A music video of the song was made following the release of the song, the first scene features Maurice playing a Fender Malibu acoustic guitar and sitting next to the window. The second scene features Barry walking his dog in a London park and the third scene features Robin showing loneliness and wanting to go outside driving his car.[6]

The Bee Gees performed "Lonely Days" on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Johnny Cash Show, The Dick Cavett Show and The Ed Sullivan Show. On their performance of this song in The Andy Williams Show, they also performed "Man for All Seasons".[7]




  1. ^ a b Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1970". Columbia.edu. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  2. ^ "The Bee Gees: 35 Years of Music". Billboard: 20. March 24, 2001. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Hughes, Andrew. The Bee Gees - Tales of the Brothers Gibb. Books.google.com. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Bee Gees - Lonely Days". 45cat.com. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Bee Gees - Lonely Days". 45cat.com. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Bee Gees - Lonely Days (1970)". YouTube. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  7. ^ Melinda Bilyeu; Hector Cook; Andrew Môn Hughes. The Bee Gees - Tales of the Brothers Gibb. Books.google.com.ph. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  8. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed (5 June 1971). "National Top 60". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Bee Gees - Lonely Days". Austriancharts.at. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Bee Gees - Lonely Days". Ultratop.be. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Songs Written by the Gibb Family on the International Charts - Part 2" (PDF). Brothersgibb.org. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Canadian Albums". RPM Canada. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
  13. ^ "Bee Gees - Lonely Days". Officialcharts.de. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Bee Gees - Lonely Days". Dutchcharts.com. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  15. ^ "New Zealand Albums". Charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
  16. ^ "UK Albums". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
  17. ^ "US Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
  18. ^ "Cashbox Top 100 Singles". Cashbox Magazine Archives. January 30, 1971. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  19. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  20. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca.
  21. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1971". Tropicalglen.com. Retrieved 31 May 2019.

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