By Barry Robin & Maurice Gibb
Lead Vocals: Barry & Robin
Album Odessa 1969
“Edison’s here to stay”
In 1968, the Bee Gees recorded several songs at New York’s Atlantic studios following the cancellation of a US tour. Known then as Barbara Came to Stay, this was the last of them.
The song was to change when the brothers returned to England with Barry’s rhythm guitar mixed out and an organ added. Most importantly, the lyrics were entirely replaced resulting in a new title, Edison.
This was no mere cosmetic change. Barbara Came to Stay (albeit with incomplete lyrics on the Sketches for Odessa Rhino release) gives the appearance of an unremarkable love song but Edison brings forth a novelty piece, a kind of quirky, would be barbers’ shop ode to the founder of electricity. The change fully integrates the song into the historical romanticism of the album whilst adding a slightly tongue-in-cheek charm.
The short instrumental passage’s weirdly modulating vibes sound as if they are playing on a precariously turning wax cylinder as if to capture the sonic essence of Edison’s – and Odessa’s – archaic, pre-electric sensibility.