The best songs that Barry Gibb gave away

Barry Gibb found himself in an interesting position in the late 1970s: he was so in control of the pop charts that his own band couldn’t possibly keep up. The Bee Gees were on top of the world by 1977, having landed three number one his with ‘How Can You Mend a Broken Heart’, ‘Jive Talkin’, and ‘You Should Be Dancing’. Even with their established success, it was just the beginning for the Brothers Gibb.

With the release of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the Bee Gees went from popular singing group to world-conquering pop stars. An additional three number one songs came from the soundtrack alone, and there probably would have been a fourth had ‘More Than A Woman’ seen an official single release. It was the ultimate case of striking while the iron was hot – the Bee Gees weren’t just popular, they were everywhere.

So much so that, had you been flipping radio channels during the end of the decade, there was a decent chance that you were still hearing Barry Gibb even though the Bee Gees weren’t playing. Barry’s insatiable fire to write hit songs couldn’t be contained to his band. Whether it was family members, fellow Australians, or just random singers who happened to wander into the band’s Miami studio, Gibb began giving away songs with major hit potential.

Even though he’ll best be remembered as the co-leader of the Bee Gees, there are plenty of hit songs that Barry Gibb has to his name that aren’t Bee Gees tunes. Here are some of the biggest and best tracks that Barry Gibb gave away at the height of his songwriting powers.

The best songs Berry Gibb wrote for other artists:
‘I Just Want to Be Your Everything’ – Andy Gibb
By the summer of 1977, the Bee Gees had already nabbed three number one singles in the United States. Barry and his brothers were eyeing up material for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, but the eldest Gibb also sought to bring his younger brother Andy into the fold as well.

‘I Just Want to Be Your Everything’ is one of two solo-written number one songs that Barry gave away, but it was appropriate that the first stayed in the family. Andy steps in the large shoes of his brothers and delivers a classic disco-pop ballad that solidifies Barry’s reputation as a hitmaker.

‘Grease’ – Frankie Valli
Why Gibb didn’t sing the title track to the hit big screen adaptation of Grease is anybody’s guess. Sure, Frankie Valli represented the 1950s music scene that was being directly referenced in the film, but ‘Grease’ was a slick and glossy disco track, not an early doo-wop vocal group throwback.

Even though it’s a bit anachronistic, Valli gifts ‘Grease’ with his high-pitched honk as Gibb and his session musicians lay down one of the funkiest white-boy grooves of the late 1970s. When Grease became a phenomenon, and the title song hit number one, I’m sure Gibb was kicking himself for not taking the lead vocal himself.

‘Emotion’ – Samantha Sang
The Bee Gees were working at such a ferocious pace in 1977 that classic songs were flowing out of their camp and into the arms of lucky singers. Samantha Sang, a fellow Aussie, was gifted with what was virtually a complete Bee Gees song, complete with backing vocal arrangements already complete.

Co-written with his fellow Bee Gee Robin Gibb, ‘Emotion’ was a top five hit in America during the early months of 1978. At that point, everything that the Bee Gees recorded turned immediately to gold, and the clear backing vocals from the Brothers Gibb certainly had a hand in the song’s success.

‘Ain’t Nothing Gonna Keep Me From You’ – Teri DeSario
When you walked into Criteria Studios in Miami from 1975 until roughly 1980, chances were strong that you could see the Bee Gees hard at work on their next smash single. If you were really lucky (or nosy), sometimes you could take ownership of one of those songs yourself.

These giveaways always came with a caveat: the Bee Gees would basically duet with you on the track, lending their iconic voices to the final recording. Someone like Miami native Teri DeSario certainly didn’t mind, and although ‘Ain’t Nothing Gonna Keep Me From You’ failed to land within the top 40, it remains emblematic of the Bee Gees’ singular moment of pop dominance.

‘Islands in the Stream’ – Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers
The Bee Gees were hitting tough times in the early 1980s. With disco firmly in the past, the trio of brothers found it increasingly difficult to adapt to the times. Even though the band was struggling, the brothers continued to pump out classic songs during their songwriting sessions.

Case in point – the classic country duet ‘Islands in the Stream’ from all-time genre greats Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. The Gibb brothers composed the song, but instead of keeping it for themselves, the track ended up in the more-than-capable hands of Parton and Rogers. Even though their hot streak had come to an end, the Gibb brothers were still firing off the hits.

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