Good to hear three Bee Gees’ covers in the ‘Three in a Row’ slot on today’s Sounds of the 60s. But only one improves on the original.
I Started a Joke – Heath Hampstead (1968)
This offers an even bigger take on I Started a Joke but who could surpass the splendid isolation – and, most importantly, the fragility – of Robin’s masterpiece?
All Our Christmases – The Majority (1968)
The Majority’s final single emerged in January 1968 which must surely have scuppered its chances of success.
Written in the brothers’ early swinging psychedelic style (Sir Geoffrey Saved the World) , The Majority add tuba and glockenspiel but lose something of the original’s skewed weirdness (the Bee Gees’ fairly basic template is titled All My Christmases). They also take the song at a faster pace, clocking in at 2.24 as against the Bee Gees’ 3.02 though theirs does segue into what sounds like the start of another song.
Craise Finton Kirk – Johnny Young (1967)
Craise Finton Kirk adds a creakily eccentric, Victorian tailpiece teaser to Side One of Bee Gees’ 1st.
Johnny Young’s version (a No 14 in his native Australia) fleshes out the arrangement, accentuates the rhythm and allows us to hear the lyrics.
The Bee Gees original is more lovable and works perfectly within the context of 1st but with Johnny Young ‘Craise Finton Kirk’ emerges as a fully realised, self-contained song. His probably gets my vote – just.