No. 25 in Top 50 Bee Gees’ Songs 1966-72
By Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Lead Vocals: Barry, Robin & Maurice
Album: Idea 1968
“That was when I got an idea, came like a gun and shot in my ear”
‘The Bee Gees do the Rolling Stones’. That’s how Idea is often labelled. The opening piano riff does indeed echo The Stones’ ‘We Love You’ and something of the flavour of ‘Idea’ as a whole recalls ‘She’s a Rainbow’. Both songs are from 1967. The Bee Gees were heavily influenced by The Beatles so why not The Stones? Barry acknowledges the debt himself.*
Maybe I sound a trifle defensive. The implication of ‘The Bee Gees do the Stones’ is almost ‘What did they think they were playing at?’ Can’t you almost hear the incredulous guffaws?
Well everyone was influenced by everyone else in the ‘60s and they all seemed fine with that. And The Stones weren’t quite themselves in 1967 anyway. It was more a question of everyone being in this psychedelic bag altogether. Then the bag got shook up, they all fall out and everyone got on with doing their thing. For some that was being The Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the world and for others it was, well, being the Bee Gees (and becoming R‘n’B global superstars along the way).
To me, ‘Idea’ sounds exactly like what Barry says it is, ‘wanting to do something with more aggression, with more energy’*. And ‘Idea’ certainly has bagfuls of energy. There’s the urgent piano motif, Vince’s Gibson guitar solo, Robin’s high vocals and that infectious, insistent, springy rhythm throughout, pausing only for a short out-take of breath after the chorus.
The Belgian TV performance (above) gives a nice pop art take on ‘Idea’ which suits it very well. They even gave Barry a pole to sit on.
* Idea: Rhino CD re-issue, (2006), Barry Gibb, in Andrew Sandoval’s accompanying booklet notes, page 9.