No. 27 in Top 50 Bee Gees’ Songs 1966-72
By Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Lead Vocal: Barry
Album: Odessa 1969
“And there’s one thing I never found”
A soulful ballad, a little different from anything else on Odessa.
There’s a sense of bedsitter melancholy tipping towards melodrama. Pounding lower register piano triplets accented by timpani lend a foreboding atmosphere. A beautiful stranger might be about to walk in through that hall doorway. Perhaps we’ve wondered into similar territory to Scott Walker’s ‘Montague Terrace in Blue’ or ‘In My Room’.
Sound of Love is a little let down by its lyrics for me. ‘See the children play the ball’ is one half of an evocative image strait-jacketed by a clunky use of English so as to needlessly track the following ‘See them play along the hall’. It’s particularly exposed because it’s the opening line. ‘See the children playing ball’ would have provided a graceful, less attention seeking alternative (though maybe clumsier to sing). The word ‘clown’ is a bit overplayed in pop and the ‘clown/down’ rhyme does the song no favours. Neither does ‘See the old man walk the lane, see him walk along in pain, It makes me cry to see them smile’ really make sense.
What ‘Sound of Love’ lacks in lyrical precision it makes up for in emotion and atmosphere. The song builds effectively through forlorn verses to a yearning chorus. A sense of mystery clings – ‘Everyone loves the sound of love’ Barry assures us with impassioned repetition while strings tremble expectantly over the word ‘love’ before those piano triplets close in again.
With its innate sense of drama and imminent rescue, ‘Sound of Love’ would have been ideal for Dusty Springfield.