No. 30 in Top 50 Bee Gees’ Songs 1966-72
By Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Lead Vocal: Maurice
Album: Odessa 1969
“Suddenly there’s a boy in the rain alone”
If Whisper Whisper (which follows) celebrates the world’s confusion, Suddenly is disconcerted by it. The confusion could be the rapidly shifting scene of the late ‘60s. But probably ‘Suddenly’ is a direct reaction to the sense of unreality which the brothers were enveloped in (‘How do you know humans are real?’), four successful international albums down the line and still barely out of their teens.
The song dates from a time when Maurice was beginning a relationship with Lulu. The strangely effective yet disconcerting boy/girl twist in the lyrics might stem from a sense of his vulnerability in love. The lyrics can equally well be interpreted as being about one person’s gender or sexual ambivalence as they can about straightforward romantic uncertainty between a boy and a girl. I don’t think Maurice was writing about his or anyone else’s sexual ambivalence but it’s interesting that the words work well this way and that was how I instinctively heard it from the start.
‘Suddenly’ is one of the most infectious songs on Odessa. Its guitar/drums basis is refreshing on a double album much given to orchestral fullness. Maurice’s vocal – his first lead – is just right.