The 20 greatest Bee Gees songs of all time, ranked

28 June 2021, 16:22 | Updated: 28 June 2021, 16:48

The Bee Gees best songs ever
The Bee Gees best songs ever. Picture: RSO/YouTube

By Tom Eames

There aren't many groups who had such a big songs to hits ratio than the Gibb brothers.

The Bee Gees sold hundreds of millions of records from the 1960s to the early 2000s, and their legacy continues.

QUIZ: How well do you know the Bee Gees' song lyrics?

Ranking their very best songs was a tough task, but here we go. Is your favourite in there?

  1. 'I've Gotta Get a Message to You'

    This was their second UK number one single, released in 1968. It also gave them their first significant US hit.

    Robin said of the song: "This is about a prisoner on Death Row who only has a few hours to live. He wants the prison chaplain to pass on a final message to his wife. There's a certain urgency about it.

    "Myself and Barry wrote it. It's a bit like writing a script. Sometimes you can sit there for three hours with your guitar and nothing will happen. Then in the last ten minutes something will spark."

  2. 'Tragedy'

    This was a number one for the Gibbs in both the UK and US in 1979, and featured on their Spirits Having Flown album.

    Read more: Private studio footage of Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees recording 'Tragedy' is phenomenal

    While it wasn't in Saturday Night Fever, it was later added to the song list for the stage musical adaptation, and we don't blame them!

  3. 'Alone'

    This was another comeback for the Bee Gees in 1997, and it gave them another top 5 hit in the UK.

    Robin Gibb said of the song's style: "I like the idea of being that sort of Beatlesque type of song. I wanted that rambling. That sort of Byrds type."

  4. 'Love You Inside Out'

    This disco tune gave the Bee Gees their ninth number one in the US in 1979.

    Read more: Watch the extraordinary moment the Bee Gees busked on the streets of London in 1993

    They also proved to be rather rude when they wanted to be. During recording, they played a prank on their manager Robert Stigwood, sending him a version with the line "backwards and forwards with my [INSERT RUDE WORD, instead of 'heart'] hanging out" to see if he was paying attention.

  5. 'Words'

    Released in 1968, years before they found their disco sound, this was one of the group's first hits.

    Robin Gibb later described it by saying: "'Words' reflects a mood, It was written after an argument. Barry had been arguing with someone, I had been arguing with someone, and happened to be in the same mood. [The arguments were] about absolutely nothing. They were just words. That is what the song is all about; words can make you happy or words can make you sad."

  6. 'Too Much Heaven'

    In the US, this song would become the fourth of six consecutive number ones for the Bee Gees, tying the record set by the Beatles at the time.

    The ballad also featured the horn section from the US band Chicago.

  7. 'You Should Be Dancing'

    If there's one song that fully showcases Barry Gibb's incredible falsetto, it's this Saturday Night Fever track.

    Read more: When Andy Gibb joined the Bee Gees for a rare phenomenal performance of 'You Should Be Dancing'

    Bonus fact: This disco anthem also features Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills & Nash fame on percussion.

  8. 'Nights on Broadway'

    Giving fans a glimpse of what was to come, the Bee Gees went a bit further down the disco road with this track, a top 10 hit in the States in 1975.

    It was also the song that first introduced Barry's famous falsetto. Producer Arif Mardin asked if one of the Bee Gees could do some screaming during the main chorus to make the song more interesting.

    Read more: The Bee Gees' flawless harmonies during a live MTV performance in 1993 is a lost masterpiece

    In response, Barry began singing higher and higher, eventually creating a falsetto that was unexpectedly powerful. He had never known he had such a vocal ability, and thus Barry's falsetto became a trademark of the band (although Maurice had been harmonizing in falsetto for years).

  9. Immortality (with Celine Dion)

    The Bee Gees wrote this song for Celine Dion's 1997 album Let's Talk About Love, and also provided backing vocals.

    The power ballad duet proved to be a big success, reaching number 5 in the UK and giving the group their most recent top 10 hit to date.

  10. 'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?'

    This gorgeous ballad was written by Barry and Robin, and was the lead single from their 1971 Trafalgar album.

    A year later, soul legend Al Green recorded a stunning cover version, and the track was later the title for their official documentary film in 2020.

  11. 'I Started a Joke'

    Released back when the group had members that weren't a Gibb, this quirky ballad was sung by Robin.

    Barry later said: "There was a lot of psychedelia and the idea that if you wrote something, even if it sounded ridiculous, somebody would find the meaning for it, and that was the truth."

  12. 'To Love Somebody'

    This was the Bee Gees' second ever single, released back in 1967.

    When asked "of all the songs that you've ever written, which song would you choose?" Barry Gibb said that this was the song that he'd choose as it has "a clear, emotional message".

  13. 'More Than a Woman'

    Another disco favourite from Saturday Night Fever, the Bee Gees didn't actually release it as a single at the time.

    Instead, fellow disco group Tavares scored a decent-sized it with it, as it also featured on the soundtrack to the classic John Travolta movie.

  14. 'Massachusetts'

    This gave the Bee Gees their first UK number one single in 1968. It was intended as the opposite to flower power anthems of the time such as 'Let's Go to San Francisco' and 'San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)' in that the singer had been to San Francisco to join the hippies but was now homesick.

    Read more: When Bee Gees gave a rare acoustic TV performance of 'Massachusetts' and brought down the house

    Robin Gibb said of the track: "We have never been there but we loved the word and there is always something magic about American place names. It only works with British names if you do it as a folk song."

  15. 'This Is Where I Came In'

    This underrated track saw the Bee Gees score another comeback in 2001.

    Read more: Last known video of Maurice, Robin and Barry Gibb singing together in 2001 is sensational

    Taken from the album of the same name, it saw the brothers return to their roots of folk rock, and was their last release before Maurice passed away two years later.

  16. 'Night Fever'

    First appearing on the soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever, this single reached the top spot of the UK Singles Chart where it stayed for two weeks.

    Producer Robert Stigwood wanted to call the film Saturday Night, but singer Robin Gibb didn't like the title. Stigwood liked the title Night Fever but was wary of marketing a movie with that name.

  17. 'Jive Talkin''

    The lead single from their 1975 album Main Course, this was arguably the first time they took on a disco/funk sound and succeeded.

    Read more: When Barry and Robin Gibb sang a flawless medley as Maurice tried to make them laugh

    The song's rhythm was based on the sound their car made crossing the Julia Tuttle Causeway each day from Biscayne Bay to Criteria Studios in Miami.

  18. 'You Win Again'

    This song was a huge comeback for the Gibb brothers in 1987. It reached number one and also gave them an Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

    Barry wrote the melody while Maurice came up with the drum sounds in his garage. Robin said: "We absolutely thought that 'You Win Again' was going to be a big hit. It took us a month to cut it and get the right mix."

  19. 'How Deep Is Your Love'

    Another Saturday Night Fever track, instead of a disco stomper the Bee Gees carved out their finest love song. Take That later scored a number one with a cover in 1996.

    Read more: The Story of... 'How Deep Is Your Love'

    Barry said of the track: "A lot of the textures you hear in the song were added on later. We didn't change any lyrics, mind you, but the way we recorded it was a little different than the way we wrote in the terms of construction.

    Read more: Relive the Bee Gees' flawless impromptu acapella performance of 'How Deep Is Your Love' on live TV - video

    "A little different for the better, I think, the title 'How Deep Is Your Love' we thought was perfect because of all the connotations involved in that sentence, and that was simply it."

  20. 'Stayin' Alive'

    The Bee Gees wrote this song over a few days after being contacted by producer Robert Stigwood. RSO Records wanted the song to be named ‘Saturday Night’ after the then-title of the film, but they added the ‘Fever’ to encompass the song title of ‘Night Fever’ instead.

    Read more: The Story of... 'Stayin' Alive'

    Barry Gibb said of the track: “People crying out for help. Desperate songs. Those are the ones that become giants. The minute you capture that on record, it’s gold.”