No. 46 in Top 50 Bee Gees’ Songs 1966-72
By Robin & Barry Gibb
Lead Vocal: Robin
Album: Bee Gees’ 1st 1967
Nina Simone: Album: To Love Somebody, 1969, Single B-side, 1968
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“This feeling that possesses me”
A song about the power of love to overwhelm the mind and colour experience.
The uniqueness of Robin’s vocal timbre is never more in evidence than here and may be a touch too idiosyncratic for some. There is no doubting though that he is up to the job. It’s not the classic soul stylings of ‘I don’t know why and I don’t know why… babeeee!’ which impress so much as his unstinting passion throughout.
Bill Shepherd supplies meandering, melancholic ‘cellos and tinkling harpsichord during the alienated verses and then, during the final chorus, emphatic, almost triumphant brass.
The song would appear to be very much a youthful take on love – its insular, all enveloping possessiveness, cutting out the world yet unable to find expression. Much as I love the brothers’ original, Nina Simone’s cover adds inevitable emotional depth to an inherently soulful song and the arrangement is wonderful.
I would be interested to know how it came about that an established and highly respected singer covered this and several other Bee Gees’ songs at a time when the brothers were still relative newcomers working firmly within commercial pop, not to mention being incredibly young. Maybe there was a behind-the-scenes Robert Stigwood connection but I doubt that even his eminence and salesmanship could convince Miss Simone to record a song she didn’t like and respect.
Robin’s vocal is one of the most impassioned on Bee Gees 1st , an album whose soulfulness is underestimated in favour of its baroque-psychedelia.