by Nicholas James
In 1998, at the time of their
One Night Only
tour, the Bee Gees were at one of their many
peaks in popularity (although, it has to be
said, that at this point in their career,
the peaks were more regular than the
troughs!) By this time, there had been a
number of compilations of Bee Gees songs
sung by other artists, in recognition of the
number of artists who have covered their
songs. In recognition of their success, and
the frequency with which the charts at that
time were filled with young acts singing Bee
Gees covers, the Bee Gees own record label
paid them the ultimate mark of respect by
releasing this tribute album of classic Bee
Gees songs sung by contemporary artists.
This was no compilation of old tracks; this
was the real deal. Almost every track was
recorded especially for the project.
But was it any good? The short answer is,
"yes". Some of the tracks are merely slick
updates by current teen sensations of the
time (911, Steps, Boyzone, Cleopatra,
Louise). But several of the tracks are
genuine reinterpretations, which take the
songs to new dimensions. 'Massachusetts' by
Space and 'To Love Somebody' by The
Lightning Seeds both stand out as good
reinventions. Perhaps the oddest track is
Robbie Williams's contribution. With the
help of The Orb, Williams dares to rerecord
the mighty 'I Started A Joke'. I am not
going to pass judgement about whether they
do the song justice - I will let you make
you own mind up (to describe it would be to
Gotta Get A Message To You was a worthwhile
project, but was certainly not definitive.
And it has certainly not stopped further
releases of cover compilations.
Gotta Get A Message To You?
Well, this is the official Polydor Bee Gees
tribute album. And some of the artist's
interpretations of the songs are excellent.