To Love Somebody (song)
|"To Love Somebody"|
|Single by Bee Gees|
|from the album Bee Gees' 1st|
|B-side||"Close Another Door"|
Polydor (United Kingdom) |
Atco (United States)
|Songwriter(s)||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb|
|Producer(s)||Robert Stigwood, Ossie Byrne|
|Bee Gees UK singles chronology|
|Bee Gees US singles chronology|
Japanese cover for "To Love Somebody"
"To Love Somebody" is a song written by Barry and Robin Gibb. Produced by Robert Stigwood, it was the second single released by the Bee Gees from their international debut album, Bee Gees 1st, in 1967. The single reached No.17 in the United States and No.41 in the United Kingdom. The song's B-side was "Close Another Door". The single was reissued in 1980 on RSO Records with "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" as its flipside. The song ranked at number 94 on NME magazine's "100 Best Tracks of the Sixties". It was a minor hit in the UK and France. It reached the top 20 in the US. It reached the top 10 in Canada.
In a 2017 interview with Piers Morgan's Life Stories, Barry was asked "of all the songs that you've ever written, which song would you choose?" Barry said that "To Love Somebody" was the song that he'd choose as it has "a clear, emotional message".
Origins and lyrics
"To Love Somebody" is a soul ballad recorded by the Bee Gees.
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At the request of Robert Stigwood, the band's manager, Barry and Robin Gibb wrote "To Love Somebody", a soulful ballad in the style of Sam & Dave or The Rascals, for Otis Redding. Redding came to see Barry at the Plaza in New York City one night. Robin claimed that "[Otis Redding] said he loved our material and would Barry write him a song".
The Bee Gees recorded "To Love Somebody" at IBC Studios, London in March 1967 and released it as a single in mid-July 1967 in the US. Redding died in an aeroplane crash later that year, before having a chance to record the song. The song was recorded around April 1967 with "Gilbert Green" and "End of My Song" at the IBC Studios in London, England.
Robin said, "Everyone told us what a great record they thought it was, Other groups all raved about it but for some reason people in Britain just did not seem to like it." Barry said, "I think the reason it didn't do well here was because it's a soul number, Americans loved it, but it just wasn't right for this country".
Barry Gibb explained in a June 2001 interview with Mojo magazine:
It was for Robert. I say that unabashedly. He asked me to write a song for him, personally. It was written in New York and played to Otis but, personally, it was for Robert. He meant a great deal to me. I don't think it was a homosexual affection but a tremendous admiration for this man's abilities and gifts.
Robert being the Bee Gee's manager, Robert Stigwood.
The simple title refrain of the chorus, "You don't know what it's like, Baby, you don't know what it's like, To love somebody...the way I love you" has the effect of being at once heartbreaking and triumphant, a self-pitying put-down to an unrequited love. "There's... a certain kind of light that never shone on me... You ain't got to be so blind, I'm a man, can't you see what I am?, I live and breathe for you, But what good does that do, If I ain't got you?".
- Barry Gibb – lead vocal, guitar
- Robin Gibb – harmony vocal
- Maurice Gibb – bass guitar
- Vince Melouney – guitar
- Colin Petersen – drums
- Bill Shepherd – orchestral arrangement
One of the most famous Gibb compositions, "To Love Somebody" has been covered by many artists. Some of the most notable versions include:
- 1968: Gary Puckett & The Union Gap included the song on their debut album Woman, Woman (album)
- 1968: The Sweet Inspirations recorded the song, which reached #30 on the R&B charts.
- 1968: Eric Burdon and The Animals released a cover of this song on their album Love Is (The Animals album)
- 1969: James Carr released this song as a single and reached #44 on the R&B Charts.
- 1969: Nina Simone covered "To Love Somebody" released on her album To Love Somebody (album), which reached #5 in UK and became her second British hit single after "Ain't Got No-I Got Life".
- 1969: Janis Joplin covered "To Love Somebody" released on her album titled I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! She performed the song on the Dick Cavitt show and also at Woodstock.
- 1969: Busty Brown: covered "To Love Somebody" produced by Lee Perry
- 1969: Roberta Flack covered "To Love Somebody" released on her album titled Quiet Fire.
- 1974: Kathi McDonald covered "To Love Somebody" on the album Insane Asylum.
- 1976: Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers covered "To Love Somebody" on the album Close Up the Honky Tonks.
- 1977: Narvel Felts released the song, reaching #22 on the Hot Country Singles chart.
- 1988: Bonnie Tyler released her version on her album Hide Your Heart
- 1989: Billy "Crash" Craddock from Back on Track; peaked at number 91 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada
- 1990: Jimmy Somerville released his UK top 5 version.
- 1992: Michael Bolton released it as a single as well as including it on the album Timeless: The Classics and his version reached #11 on the US Hot 100 Chart.
- 1996: The English alternative rock band Gallon Drunk covered To Love Somebody on their album In the Long Still Night.
- 2001: Blue Rodeo covered this song for their ninth studio album Greatest Hits.
- 2005: Billy Corgan covered this song for his first solo studio album TheFutureEmbrace.
- 2013: Michael Bublé covered this song for his eighth studio album To Be Loved, the album's fifth single.
- 2013: Natalia Przybysz covered the song on her album Kozmic Blues: Tribute to Janis Joplin.
- 2015: Lindi Ortega covered the song on her album Faded Gloryville.
- 2016: Dexys covered this song on their fifth album, Let The Record Show: Dexys Do Irish And Country Soul.
- 2016: Karl Blau released his version on his album Introducing Karl Blau
- 2017: Performed by Keith Urban at the Bee Gees Grammy Salute.
Michael Bolton version
|US Billboard Hot 100||11|
|Canada Top Singles (RPM)||24|
Michael Bublé version
|Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100) ||13|
"To Love Somebody" has been used in several movies including I Love You Phillip Morris, Y Tu Mamá También, Melody, The Wrong Man, My Entire Life and 50/50. Also this song has been used in a trailer for Joy (2015).
- Show 49 - The British are Coming! The British are Coming!: With an emphasis on Donovan, the Bee Gees, and the Who. [Part 6] : UNT Digital Library
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- Piers Morgan's Life Stories: Barry Gibb YouTube - Interview
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- Joseph Brennan. "Gibb Songs: 1967".
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- Songfacts.com. "To Love Somebody - Bee Gees".
- Janovitz, Bill. "Bee Gees - To Love Somebody". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
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- "Bee Gees - To Love Somebody". Dutch Charts. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
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- "RPM Country Tracks". RPM. 3 March 1990. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Billboard Top 100 - 1993". Retrieved 27 August 2010.
- "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1993". RPM. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 3 February 2014.