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After the Beatles and Elvis come the Bee Gees
on 4 November 2004
The collection of number one hits by the Beatles was later followed by an equivalent collection by Elvis Presley. Both those collections limited themselves to British and American number ones. If the same rule had been applied to the Bee Gees, there would have been too much empty space on the CD, so the net was cast wider. They trawled the charts of Germany (World, words, More than a woman), New Zealand (I started a joke, Don't forget to remember) and Brazil (Immortality - some other Brazilian number ones have been omitted) as well as Britain and America. They had other number one hits in the Netherlands, Japan and Hong Kong but declined to use those, presumably because they had enough songs.
One song that wasn't a hit for them is Islands in the stream, the song they wrote for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, who took it to the top of the American pop charts. On that basis, their most successful song is Woman in love - it appears to have been number one in more countries around the world than any other Bee Gees song, whoever performed by. It seems that they have not recorded their own version of the song despite there being several possibilities for gender-adapted lyrics. Of course, they couldn't compete with Barbra's version but it would be interesting to hear their version.
In the end, this compilation represents all aspects of their career although some great songs are missing from their folk-pop phase of the sixties and early seventies, First of May, To love somebody and Run to me are all omitted, along with Robin's solo Saved by the bell. However, seven tracks is a fair representation of this period on a single CD encompassing their whole career. Two of the seven (Massachusetts, I've gotta get a message to you) made number one in the UK while How can you mend a broken heart made number one in America.
Their disco period is represented by nine tracks including How deep is your love, Staying alive, Night fever, Too much heaven and their final American number one, Love you inside out. The next track (You win again) was a surprise UK number one hit in 1987 - it was to be their last.
The collection is completed by Man in the middle (a tribute to Maurice), their version of Islands in the stream and Immortality.
If you just want a single CD of their music spanning most of their career, this will suit you. Nevertheless, you might prefer the earlier double CD, The record, especially if you like some of the classic songs that were omitted from this collection.