Bee Gees, The - 1981 Living Eyes

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ARTIST: Bee Gees, The
ALBUM: Living Eyes
LABEL: RSO
SERIAL: RX-1-3098 (Nth America), 2394 301 (Europe, RoW)
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2005, Polydor (Japan), UICY-3919

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Barry Gibb - vocals, acoustic guitar * Robin Gibb - vocals * Maurice Gibb - vocals, acoustic guitar * Steve Gadd - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Living Eyes * 02 He's A Liar * 03 Paradise * 04 Don't Fall In Love With Me * 05 Soldiers * 06 I Still Love You * 07 Wildflower * 08 Nothing Could Be Good * 09 Cryin' Every Day * 10 Be Who You Are

Background

Many point to 'Living Eyes' as the point in time where The Bee Gees completely broke away from their disco past. We forget that The Bee Gees are first and foremost a pop group and no matter the style, sang tight three-part harmonies that blended perfectly, in the same way that The Beach Boys did.

By 1981, radio stations had taken The Bee Gees out of rotation (sometimes holding 'Bee Gee Free Weekends') and subsequently categorized the group as a disco act.

Released in 1981, 'Living Eyes' was dismissed by fans and critics who seemed more interested in The Bee Gees legal and personal matters than music. What a 'Tragedy', as 'Living Eyes' includes an impressive mix of well crafted brother Gibb tunes that dabble in West coast/AOR!

The Songs

The title track sets the tone with an infectious hook and almost laid back West coast vibe.

Unfortunately 'He's A Liar' is next and was mistakenly the first single. Perhaps the brothers went the opposite extreme in trying to change their sound as it could make one wonder if The Bee Gees knack for writing well crafted pop songs had flown south?

Thankfully 'Paradise' re-affirms this in spades - as an incredible soft rock spectacle ensues with pitch perfect instrumentation and amazing harmonies.

'Don't Fall In Love With Me' is captivating from its opening orchestral revving through Robin's staple wail fest. Robin's voice here seems stronger than ever.

'Soldiers' would be good if it wasn't for the overblown falsetto tone which is completely out of step with it's lyrical content.

'I Still Love You' is another very strong outing by Robin, sharing part of the lead with Maurice. In fact it's Maurice's 'Wildflower' that is one of the album's highlights and should have been the single - instead of the aforementioned 'He's A Liar'. With the Gibb's Midas touch all over popular acts of the day, one has to wonder why this song didn't make it into the fold?

Despite the renewed momentum of Robin and Maurice, Barry was not to be out done. Barry Gibbs' lead on 'Nothing Could Be Good' is nothing short of breathtaking and can be considered The Bee Gee's first real stab at West coast/AOR! Not surprising as it was written by Albhy Galuten who is responsible for amazing work with the likes of Jellyfish and Olivia Newton-John.

'Cryin' Every Day' is another highlight with a killer hook and Galuten's amazing production. While Barry's somewhat dreamy conclusion 'Be Who You Are' meanders a bit, 'Living Eyes' stands as an exceptional addition to this classic band's discography and to fans who may been turned away by the direction the brother's took several years prior.

In Summary

The single 'Living Eyes' peaked at #45 in the fall of 1981, which marked the end of The Bee Gees' Top 40 singles streak which began in 1975 with 'Jive Talkin'.

The album sold a whopping 750,000 copies worldwide and did not enter the Top 40 in either the U.S. or the UK (A sharp contrast to 1979's 'Spirits Have Flown' which sold 20 Million!).

It should be noted that 'Living Eyes' was the one of the first albums to be put on CD, although few were manufactured when the Compact Disc came to prominence in 1983. It was later in the year, that The Bee Gees had greater success with the soundtrack to 'Staying Alive', the sequel to 'Saturday Night Fever'.

The soundtrack was certified platinum in the US, and included their Top 30 AOR hit 'Woman In You'. Refer to the excellent review of the 'Staying Alive' soundtrack here at Glory Daze where The Bee Gees take these inspired West Coast dabblings to full bore AOR bliss!


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