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The Bee Gees - "To Love Somebody"



1967. This moving ballad was released on the first Bee Gees album. Years later, they became one of the most popular disco acts, but in the '60s they were known for slower songs like this one and "Words." Legend has it that this song was written for Otis Redding, who died before he had the chance to record it. While this is a chance Redding would have recorded the song, that's not who the Bee Gees had in mind when they recorded it. The Animals, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Nina Simone (who had a big hit with it in the UK), Janis Joplin, Michael Bolton and Tom Jones, among others, have recorded this song.

The Bee Gees wrote the song for their manager, Australian-born impresario and entertainment entrepreneur Robert Stigwood, who was an influential part of London's gay showbiz establishment. Barry Gibb explained in a June 2001 interview with Mojo magazine: "It was for Robert. I say that unabashedly. He asked me to write a song for him, personally. It was written in New York and played to Otis but, personally, it was for Robert. He meant a great deal to me. I don't think it was a homosexual affection but a tremendous admiration for this man's abilities and gifts.". Billy Corgan (with Robert Smith singing backup) included his take on this song on his debut album, marking the first time Corgan let an old song be placed on one of his albums. Corgan sings this very different from The Bee Gees' original. His version is much more sad, and he even changes the words in the second verse, adding "Yeah" on most lines.

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Jay Fox
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