To Love Somebody (song)

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"To Love Somebody"
Single by Bee Gees
from the album Bee Gees' 1st
B-side "Close Another Door"[1]
Released June 1967
Format 7", 45rpm
Recorded April 1967
Length 3:02
Label Polydor (United Kingdom)
Atco (United States)
Spin (Australia)
Writer(s) Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Producer(s) Robert Stigwood, Ossie Byrne
Bee Gees UK singles chronology
"New York Mining Disaster 1941"
"To Love Somebody"
Bee Gees US singles chronology
"New York Mining Disaster 1941"
"To Love Somebody"
Alternative cover
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.[2] 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".[1] The single was reissued in 1980 on RSO Records with "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" as its flipside.[3] The song ranked at number 94 on NME magazine's "100 Best Tracks of the Sixties".[4] 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.

The song has been recorded by many other musicians, including Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, and Michael Bolton.

Origins and lyrics[edit]

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.[5] 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".[6]

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.[7]

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".[8]

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.[9]

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?".[10]



Cover versions[edit]

One of the most famous Gibb compositions, "To Love Somebody" is now considered a pop standard and has been covered by many artists. Some of the most notable versions include:

Michael Bolton version[edit]

Chart (1993) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[19] 11

Michael Bublé version[edit]

Chart (2013–14) Peak
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[20] 13

Movie appearances[edit]

"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).


  1. ^ a b "Bee Gees - To Love Somebody (original issue)". 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ "Bee Gees - To Love Somebody (1980 reissue)". 
  4. ^ "100 Best Songs of the 1960s". NME. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Melinda Bilyeu, Hector Cook, Andrew Môn Hughes (2004). The Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-1-84449-057-8, p. 134.
  6. ^ David N. Meyer. "The Bee Gees: The Biography". Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Joseph Brennan. "Gibb Songs: 1967". 
  8. ^ Hughes, Andrew. Bee Gees: Tales Of The Brothers Gibb. ISBN 9780857120045. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "To Love Somebody - Bee Gees". 
  10. ^ Janovitz, Bill. "Bee Gees - To Love Somebody". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "Songs Written by the Gibb Family on the International Charts" (PDF). Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Songs Written by the Gibb Family on the International Charts - part 1" (PDF). Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Bee Gees - To Love Somebody". Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  14. ^ a b "Bee Gees - To Love Somebody". Dutch Charts. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Bee Gees - Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "Bee Gees - Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "RPM Country Tracks". RPM. 3 March 1990. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  18. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1993". Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  19. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1993". Retrieved 27 August 2010. 
  20. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 3 February 2014.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"I Will Be Here for You" by Michael W. Smith
Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single (Michael Bolton version)
14–21 November 1992
Succeeded by
"I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston