Bee Gees sing acapella 'To Love Somebody' in spine-tingling lost footage from 1993

5 July 2022, 11:23

The Bee Gees were in Denmark in 1993 to promote their new album Size Isn't Everything when they were invited to perform on the entertainment show, Eleva2ren.
The Bee Gees were in Denmark in 1993 to promote their new album Size Isn't Everything when they were invited to perform on the entertainment show, Eleva2ren. Picture: Eleva2ren/Nordisk Film TV/YouTube

By Giorgina Hamilton

Footage from a Danish TV show in 1993 shows the Bee Gee brothers performing a stunning acapella version of 'To Love Somebody' in front of an enraptured studio audience.

The year was 1993. Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You' was soaring in the charts, 'Can't Help Falling in Love' by UB40 was everywhere and Take That's 'Relight My Fire' was the UK's soundtrack to the year.

Yet over in Denmark, in a dark TV studio filled with a select few audience members, TV producers were about to witness one of the briefest – yet beautiful – moments in live TV history.

The Bee Gees were in the Scandinavian country to promote their new album Size Isn't Everything when they were invited to perform on the entertainment show, Eleva2ren.

Shown on public service station, TV 2, the Bee Gees performed a variety of hits including songs from their new album before deciding to slow things down and sing one of their most famous songs, entirely acapella.
Shown on public service station, TV 2, the Bee Gees performed a variety of hits including songs from their new album before deciding to slow things down and sing one of their most famous songs, entirely acapella. Picture: Eleva2ren/Nordisk Film TV/YouTube
Using just their voices, the three brothers give a mind-blowing performance of 'To Love Somebody', with Barry Gibb taking the lead before the trio came together to show off their world-famous harmonies.
Using just their voices, the three brothers give a mind-blowing performance of 'To Love Somebody', with Barry Gibb taking the lead before the trio came together to show off their world-famous harmonies. Picture: Eleva2ren/Nordisk Film TV/YouTube

Shown on public service station, TV 2, the trio performed a variety of hits including songs from their new album before deciding to slow things down and sing one of their most famous songs, entirely acapella.

In what is believed to be the only publicly found footage from the 1993 TV episode, Maurice, Robin and Barry Gibb have no instruments as they sing in the 38-second long clip.

Using just their voices, the three brothers give a mind-blowing performance of 'To Love Somebody', with Barry Gibb taking the lead before the trio came together to show off their world-famous harmonies.

Renowned for their songwriting skills and crowd-pleasing vocals, the footage shows that stripped back and without bells and whistles, the Bee Gees vocals were completely unrivalled.

Despite being on the group's most famous songs, 'To Love Somebody', written by Robin and Barry Gibb and released in 1967, wasn't a huge success in the UK.

At the request of the Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood, the song was originally written for Otis Redding, who was looking for a soulful song in the style of The Rascals.

In what is believed to be the only publicly found footage from the Bee Gees 1993 show, Maurice, Robin and Barry Gibb have no instruments as they sing in the 38-second long clip.
In what is believed to be the only publicly found footage from the Bee Gees 1993 show, Maurice, Robin and Barry Gibb have no instruments as they sing in the 38-second long clip. Picture: Eleva2ren/Nordisk Film TV/YouTube
Despite being on the the group's most famous songs, 'To Love Somebody', written by Robin and Barry Gibb and released in 1967, wasn't a huge success in the UK.
Despite being on the the group's most famous songs, 'To Love Somebody', written by Robin and Barry Gibb and released in 1967, wasn't a huge success in the UK. Picture: Eleva2ren/Nordisk Film TV/YouTube

Robin claimed in The Bee Gees: The Biography "Otis Redding said he loved our material and would Barry write him a song".

The Bee Gees went on to record 'To Love Somebody' at the IBC studios in London in 1967 and released it as a single in mid-June.

Otis Redding died in a plane crash just months later in December, before he ever had a chance to record the song himself.

The single wasn't a hit in the UK and reached only No.41 in the charts, despite later being ranked in the '100 Best Tracks Of The Sixties' by NME Magazine.

"Everyone told us what a great record they thought it was," Robin Gibb said in the book Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb. "Other groups all raved about it but for some reason people in Britain just did not seem to like it."

Barry added: "I think the reason it didn't do well here was because it's a soul number, Americans loved it, but it just wasn't right for this country."

The song has been recorded by many other musicians, including Leonard Cohen, Michael Bolton, Tom Jones, Janis Joplin and Nina Simone and has featured in a multitude of film soundtracks.

Watch the video of the Bee Gees singing 'To Love Somebody' in 1993 below:

'To Love Somebody' wasn't a hit in the UK and reached only No.41 in the charts, despite later being ranked in the '100 Best Tracks Of The Sixties' by NME Magazine.
'To Love Somebody' wasn't a hit in the UK and reached only No.41 in the charts, despite later being ranked in the '100 Best Tracks Of The Sixties' by NME Magazine. Picture: Eleva2ren/Nordisk Film TV/YouTube

While some may be surprised that the song was originally written for Otis Redding, what many don't know is just how many huge hits the Bee Gees have written for other artists.

Just some of the songs the Bee Gees have written for other artists include Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' 'Islands in the Stream', Diana Ross' 'Chain Reaction', Frankie Valli's 'Grease' and Yvonne Elliman's 'If I can't Have You'.

Speaking to Rolling Stone in 1978, Barry Gibb gave an amazing insight into the band's songwriting process.

"We never completely do a song just to please ourselves. We bring everybody we can into the studio, even the receptionist, so that we can get their opinions," he revealed.

"We put about thirty percent of what we consider to be our art into our records and about seventy percent of it is us writing for the public. You've got to include both, and that's how we do it.

"We don't dwell too much on deep stories, because today people want to hear songs about love. Each song in the Top Twenty is about love. Every album in the Top Ten is based on love."

The Bee Gees (Pictured in the studio in 1970) became world-famous song writers and wrote hits for artists from Dolly Parton to Barbra Streidand.
The Bee Gees (Pictured in the studio in 1970) became world-famous song writers and wrote hits for artists from Dolly Parton to Barbra Streidand. Picture: Alamy
Just some of the songs the the Bee Gees have written for other artists include Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' 'Islands in the Stream', Diana Ross' 'Chain Reaction' and Franki Valli's 'Grease' (the Bee Gees pictured in 1975).
Just some of the songs the the Bee Gees have written for other artists include Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' 'Islands in the Stream', Diana Ross' 'Chain Reaction' and Franki Valli's 'Grease' (the Bee Gees pictured in 1975). Picture: Getty

Elaborating on his writing process, Barry Gibb later explained that inspiration can strike at any time, sometimes in the middle of the night.

"What songwriting's always been to me is basically like a flash. I have a flash of an idea or a flash of a chorus, or a flash of a song before it's actually constructed," he told Performing Songwriter in 1998.

"That hasn't changed, it's continued right through my life. I'll get up in the middle of the night and put something on a dictaphone and go back to sleep."

They obviously did something right: The Bee Gees won five Grammy Awards and have sold over 120 million records to date worldwide.

2021 saw Barry Gibb release his third solo album, Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol. 1, a collection of Bee Gees tracks perfomed as duets with country superstars old and new, including his good friends Olivia Newton-John and Dolly Parton.