Listen to the Bee Gees’ incredible cover of The Beatles classic for forgotten movie

21 December 2022, 13:20

Did you know The Bee Gees starred in a Beatles-inspired musical?
Did you know The Bee Gees starred in a Beatles-inspired musical? Picture: RSO/Alamy

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

They're one of the most influential acts of the 20th century.

When you mention the likes of The Beatles as one of the most important musical acts of all time, you can safely name the Bee Gees in their company.

The Gibb brothers have sold an estimated 225 million records worldwide throughout their career, and are the third-most successful band in Billboard charts history behind only The Supremes and the 'Fab Four'.

They had enormous global success across their career, and are rightly regarded as one of the most important acts in pop music.

Even though their careers began at similar times, Barry, Robin, and Maurice have also been open about the influence The Beatles had on them as musicians and people.

Maurice was flattered on one occasion when someone mistook one of his songs as one of the Beatles' own.

"The nicest compliment I ever heard about 'Lonely Days' was when a manager in a restaurant turned around and said, ‘You know, this was the best Beatles song ever.'"

But they took their love of the Liverpudlians to the next level by covering them in a forgotten film released in 1978.

The Bee Gees were always huge admirers of The Beatles.
The Bee Gees were always huge admirers of The Beatles. Picture: Alamy
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was inspired by The Beatles iconic music.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was inspired by The Beatles iconic music. Picture: Alamy

At the peak of the stardom when Saturday Night Fever was riding at the top of the charts and the band were the undisputed 'Kings Of Disco', they turned their attention to The Beatles once again.

There was a broadway show called Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road which was loosely inspired by The Beatles' music and was produced by the Bee Gees' manager Robert Stigwood.

Stigwood bought the rights to use 29 of the Beatles' songs so wanted to turn the play into a movie, and pulled a few favours from the bands he managed to get a soundtrack together for what would become the jukebox music comedy Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Alongside the Bee Gees, Stigwood also got the likes of Peter Frampton (who co-starred with the Gibb brothers in the film), Earth, Wind & Fire, Alice Cooper, and even Aerosmith to all cover Beatles songs.

But it's the Bee Gees incredible rendition of 'A Day In The Life' that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

The song - famously written in two parts, one by John Lennon and the other by Paul McCartney - was one of the highlights from the film.

The response to the Bee Gees' version was so great in fact, that the boys later released it as a single.

Given they were the height of their fame with the disco movement, and were renowned worldwide because of it, their cover version brought the brothers right back to the beginning of their career.

With Barry taking lead vocals, it proved his incredible falsetto was as suited to disco and funk as it was psychedelic rock.

The Beatles' former producer, George Martin, came on board as musical director, conductor, arranger and producer of the soundtrack, which gave it a level of authenticity.

But Robin perhaps got slightly carried away with comparisons, stating before the film's release that their versions would wash away any memory of The Beatles, which was likely meant in jest.

"Kids today don't know the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper. And when those who do see our film and hear us doing it, that will be the version they relate to and remember. Unfortunately, the Beatles will be secondary" he said.

The Bee Gees covered several of The Beatles songs in the forgotten film.
The Bee Gees covered several of The Beatles songs in the forgotten film. Picture: Alamy
The theatrical poster for the 1978 film.
The theatrical poster for the 1978 film. Picture: Alamy

As history would tell us, that absolutely wasn't that case as the Bee Gees versions of The Beatles iconic songs faded into obscurity.

It didn't help that Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was only a minor box office success upon its release in 1978, and was panned by the critics.

Luckily, it didn't tarnish the Bee Gees success as their fans' imaginations remained with them in the disco world.

Soon after the film failed, the trio returned to the top of the charts with Spirits Have Flown and three more hit singles 'Too Much Heaven', 'Tragedy', and 'Love You Inside Out'.

So their versions of The Beatles classics were consigned to the history books.

But their love for the band that inspired them throughout the early phases of their career never waned.

Though it's doubtful the Bee Gees endeared themselves to their heroes with such a bad movie.