Bee Gees had already gone through a few stylistic transformations long before they reinvented themselves as disco royalty in the mid to late ’70s.

Starting their career in Australia when they were still in their teens, Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb released their first singles in 1963 and their first album two years later. It took a short while for the group to find their groove – early records, like countless others across the globe, tended to sound like Beatles copies – but by the time their first international LP came out in 1967, their songwriting prowess was already developing.

Just a list of Bee Gees’ earliest singles revealed something magical was in the works: “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” “To Love Somebody,” “Massachusetts,” “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” “I Started a Joke.” And that’s even before they had their first U.S. No. 1. By the middle of the ’70s, the Gibb brothers were mining new territory, exploring R&B and disco sounds with another run of successful hit singles, led by the immortal “Jive Talkin’.”

Then Saturday Night Fever hit and nothing was the same – for popular music and the Bee Gees. The soundtrack is still one of the all-time bestselling albums, and its string of hit singles (“How Deep Is Your Love,” “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever” all hit No. 1) led to total domination of the charts and radio by the end of the decade, not only for the Bee Gees but also the artists they wrote hits for, including Yvonne Elliman, Samantha Sang, Barbra Streisand, Frankie Valli and their younger brother, Andy Gibb.

And while a disco backlash at the turn of the ’80s cast a dark shadow over the group’s commercial prospects moving forward, they kept supplying others with hit singles, including Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and Dionne Warwick, and by the end of the decade were once again reinventing their music. In 1997, Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and their reputation has only grown since the deaths of Maurice (in 2003) and Robin (in 2012). Their recorded legacy of nearly two dozen LPs has weathered multiple storms over the decades, as you’ll see in the below list of Bee Gees Albums Ranked Worst to Best.

Bee Gees Albums Ranked
They started out at Beatles copies, transitioned to disco pioneers and never calmed their restless spirits.

23. ‘The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs’ (1965)
Bee Gees’ first album was released only in Australia and prominently featured Barry Gibb’s name on the cover. The 14 songs are mostly collected from the trio’s singles starting in 1963 and were never intended as an album. So the result is disjointed and unfocused. It works a bit better as a compilation of early works, but the Gibbs were still looking for their voice, somewhat awkwardly inching their way from the Beatles influences that seemed to overtake almost everyone in the mid-’60s.

22. ‘Spicks and Specks’ (1966)
The second Australian Bee Gees album is slightly better than the first and includes Robin Gibb’s first songwriting contribution. The songs were intended for an LP this time, so the whole thing flows together more readily. They were slowly coming together as a group, too, as drummer Colin Petersen (a mainstay on albums through 1969) plays on some tracks and their first memorable song, “Spicks and Specks,” shows up.

21. ‘Life in a Tin Can’ (1973)
Bee Gees’ first album with RSO didn’t exactly signal the classic records to come. The group was at an all-time low point, unsure of direction (Life in a Tin Can is near country at times; that’s Sneaky Pete Kleinow on lap steel) and purpose. The album’s only single, “Saw a New Morning,” sank without much trace. The Gibbs regrouped and recorded a new album, which sat on a shelf and was never released. A total reinvention, and a new era, were just two years away.

20. ‘High Civilization’ (1991)
The only Bee Gees album (besides the first two Australian LPs) to not chart in the U.S. found them adapting to modern technology, with more synths and electronic drums taking the place of studio musicians. It’s often an ill fit with the Gibbs’ still sharp songwriting (“Secret Love” and “When He’s Gone” are highlights). After three albums with Warner Bros., the group was ready to move on again, though they retained engineer Femi Jiya for the follow-up two years later.

19. ‘Still Waters’ (1997)
Still Waters just missed being the first Bee Gees album since 1979’s Spirits Having Flown to make the Top 10, stalling at No. 11 on Billboard. It helped that the group was experiencing a renewed interest in their career, thanks to a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction and TV specials. But their second-to-last LP followed a shelved album of acoustic versions of songs written for other artists, and the momentum here is workmanlike at best. They did manage one final Top 40 single in “Alone,” though.

18. ‘Idea’ (1968)
Several songs made during this era are great – particularly “I Started a Joke” and “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” which was included only in the U.S. pressing. But as their third album in a little over a year, Idea suffers from the hectic paces the Bee Gees were being put through. It didn’t help that the group was slowly coming apart. The album also includes the only non-Gibb-written and -performed song to appear on one of their LPs: guitarist Vince Melouney’s “Such a Shame,” which was dropped on the U.S. version for the vastly superior “Message.”

17. ‘Size Isn’t Everything’ (1993)
Like its predecessor, the lackluster High Civilization, Size Isn’t Everything aims for a modern pop sound, but with more personal touches this time. It’s a bit more successful, finding a comfortable space somewhere between the group’s pre- and post-disco years. It charted a bit better, too, thanks to the surprise hit “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” the Bee Gees’ biggest single in 15 years.

16. ‘Cucumber Castle’ (1970)
Robin Gibb left the group following the release of the double-LP concept album Odessa in 1969, and the arguments it spurred among band members. Drummer Colin Petersen was gone soon, too. Barry and Maurice carried on with Cucumber Castle, named after a song on Bee Gees’ 1st and which doubled as the soundtrack to a TV special featuring the pared-down duo. “Don’t Forget to Remember” was a hit in parts of the world, but the album was their worst-performing at that point. Robin was back for 2 Years On, released seven months later.

15. ‘2 Years On’ (1970)
The group’s eighth album after a temporary split is a bit better than the Robin-free Cucumber Castle, but they were still finding their way back. The highlight is the single “Lonely Days,” a No. 3 single in the U.S. Less than a year later they released their first No. 1 in the States, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” 2 Years On tends to be forgotten among everything that followed.

14. ‘This Is Where I Came In’ (2001)
The throwback photo on the cover of Bee Gees’ final album hints at the contents: This Is Where I Came In was designed as a new beginning with nods to the past. A new U.S. label and interest in the group sparked a return to some of their earliest music, along with detours to Europop and Tin Pan Alley. Super-polished production often gets in the way of the Gibbs’ back-to-basics intentions, though. Less than two years later, Maurice died of a heart attack.
13. ‘One’ (1989)
The sessions for the Bee Gees’ 18th album were put on hold in 1988 when the youngest Gibb brother, Andy, died at age 30. One reflected on the loss, especially “Wish You Were Here,” which was written for their late sibling. But Andy’s shadow hangs over the entire record, the brothers’ best work of the final dozen years of their recording career. The title track was Bee Gees’ last Top 10 hit. Other highlights include “Ordinary Lives,” “Bodyguard” and “Tokyo Nights.”

12. ‘Mr. Natural’ (1974)
The Bee Gees’ all-time lowest-charting album in the U.S. showed signs of their brighter future: Arif Mardin produced for the first time, and the record’s mix of soul and funk (along with their usual soft rock) opened the gates for the next year’s career-reviving Main Course. There’s even some proto-disco buried in the grooves. None of Mr. Natural’s singles fared well on the radio, but the rejuvenated brothers were sparked again. Big things were stirring just around the corner.

11. ‘Trafalgar’ (1971)
The Bee Gees’ first U.S. No. 1 is here: “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” is so good that it almost disguises the lack of comparable material on their ninth album. Arriving between the picking-up-the-pieces 2 Years On and the career-jolting To Whom It May Concern, Trafalgar occasionally sounds like the transitional record it now appears to be. Ballads outweigh everything else, and there’s a hurried feeling to several of the album’s 12 tracks, like they were itching to move on to something else.

10. ‘Children of the World’ (1976)
Flush from the success of the previous year’s Main Course, Bee Gees found no reason to steer from the formula for the follow-up. Children of the World was once again recorded at Miami’s Criteria Studios, but with newcomer Albhy Galuten assisting with production. (Arif Mardin had to step down after RSO Records went with a new distributor.) The R&B and disco are even more pronounced here: “You Should Be Dancing” went to No. 1, the ballad “Love So Right” hit No. 3 and “Boogie Child” pointed the way to the future.

9. ‘To Whom It May Concern’ (1972)
There’s not much focus to the group’s 10th album, but like predecessor Trafalgar, To Whom It May Concern does strike a somber note, which suits this wayward Bee Gees era. Opening song and lead single “Run to Me” is the highlight, but there are enough left-field choices here to keep things interesting (check out the closing “Sweet Song of Summer”). Next up: some big changes, including a new studio, a new label and a sorta new sound that would better realize itself in a few years.

8. ‘Horizontal’ (1968)
The Bee Gees’ second international album arrived about a half-year after their first one and is basically an extension of the psychedelic baroque pop the group was making at the time. The singles are the draw here, particularly “Massachusetts,” their first U.K. No. 1. While the Beatles influences of their earliest work can still be heard on Horizontal, Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb were growing as songwriters, and the contributions of guitarist Vince Melouney and drummer Colin Petersen make Bee Gees sound like a band rather than three Gibbs and some session players.

7. ‘Living Eyes’ (1981)
Saturday Night Fever was a blessing and a curse. By the early ’80s, music fans had abandoned disco and, in turn, the kings of the genre. Bee Gees do their best to remake themselves (again) on Living Eyes, this time as soft-rock craftsmen. That only served to alienate any disco holdovers and turn off others who couldn’t shake the baggage that came with their name. Little surprise then that the album couldn’t even crack the Top 40. But Living Eyes is fine-tuned, turn-of-the-’80s pop, critics be damned.

6. ‘E·S·P’ (1987)
Pop music had moved on by the time Bee Gees followed up 1981’s Living Eyes with E-S-P, though they stayed busy with hit records by Dolly Parton, Dionne Warwick and others, plus a flop sequel to Saturday Night Fever. But they were still crafting slick, listenable records as the end of the ’80s neared with help from old friend Arif Mardin, who pushed the Gibbs back into their comfort zone. The album wasn’t a huge commercial success in the States but was a hit elsewhere. And “You Win Again” was their best single since the glory days.

5. ‘Spirits Having Flown’ (1979)
Bee Gees were the biggest group in the world when they released their 15th album and the first since the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack made them among the most recognizable faces on the planet. They held nothing back: disco fever, silky ballads, luxurious pop. The first three songs on Spirits Having Flown were released as singles, and all hit No. 1: “Tragedy,” “Too Much Heaven” and “Love You Inside Out.” There’s more here, too, like the epic title track. Two years later, disco was dead and so, for the most part, was the group’s chart dominance.

4. ‘Bee Gees’ 1st’ (1967)
Not really their first album, but close enough. Bee Gees’ third LP, but their debut international record, marked a huge leap from the boyish harmonies and Beatles pastiches of their two Australian albums. A scan of the track listing shows just how far they’d come: The excellent “Holiday,” “New York Mining Disaster 1941” and “To Love Somebody” are all here. Those were the hit singles; deeper excavation finds “Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You,” “I Can’t See Nobody” and “Close the Door.” The Bee Gees’ unofficial arrival.

3. ‘Main Course’ (1975)
Here’s the album that changed everything for Bee Gees. From a new logo to a new sound, Main Course steered the group’s course from creatively battered soft-pop vets to disco kings. “Jive Talkin'” gets much of the attention, and rightfully so, but there’s little filler on their 13th album – from great singles “Nights on Broadway” and “Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)” to deep cuts like “Edge of the Universe.” The Miami years begin here, launching one of the best runs in pop music history.

2. ‘Odessa’ (1969)
A double-LP concept album about a lost 19th-century ship? Yes, please! The Bee Gees’ sixth album (originally titled An American Opera, giving you an idea of its scope) caused a huge divide among the group: Robin Gibb left after the record came out and guitarist Vince Melouney was gone even before that. Odessa wasn’t all that liked by fans at the time either, but a reevaluation over the years has elevated it to one of their greatest works: ambitious, tuneful and full of the big ideas and songs that the group would abandon as they developed tighter, more commercial targets. Essential listening.

1. ‘Saturday Night Fever’ (1977)
Technically, it’s not a Bee Gees album. But the hit movie soundtrack wouldn’t have become one of the bestselling records of all time without them at the helm. There’s a reason they are on the cover with star John Travolta. They dominate Side One; four of their five landscape-shifting songs went to No. 1 (one, “If I Can’t Have You,” is sung by Yvonne Elliman; the Bee Gees’ B-side version is available elsewhere). Two of their earlier No. 1s are also here. Saturday Night Fever was not only a chart monster, it was a cultural phenomenon that made Bee Gees the biggest group in the world for the next couple of years.

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