THERE is just no keeping a good songwriter and pop legend down – at the age of 74, Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees is back at No 1 on the UK album chart. Also, he debuts this week at No 2 on the US Billboard Top Album Sales chart that is based solely on traditional album sales.
It has also been reported that the collection is at No 15 on the all-genre, consumption-based Billboard 200 chart, marking Gibb’s highest-charting solo album to date. It is also his first in the Top 40.
The achievement in the UK, meanwhile, marks the first time Gibb has made it to the top of the British album chart with a solo collection.
The album that is selling like hotcakes is Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers’ Songbook (Vol 1), an easy-listening EMI release, offering Bee Gees hits subtly rearranged as country duets and featuring Gibb singing alongside other top names.
Billboard has reported that the Gibb album this week achieved more than double the chart sales of its closest competition, Passenger’s Songs For The Drunk and Broken Hearted.
Further good news is that the album, released on January 8, is also reported to have debuted at No 1 on the Americana/Folk Albums chart and at No 3 on the US’s Top Country Albums chart. It has also topped the Australian chart.
The dozen Bee Gees songs on the album include How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (Gibb with Sheryl Crow), I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You (Gibb alongside Keith Urban), Run to Me (Gibb and Brandi Carlile) and Too Much Heaven (featuring Alison Krauss).
Also here is Jive Talkin’, featuring Gibb with Miranda Lambert and Jay Buchanan, while Buchanan also contributes some dramatic vocals on To Love Somebody.
Dolly Parton duets with Gibb on Words, Little Big Town duet with Gibb on Lonely Days and How Deep is Your Love (also featuring Tommy Emmanuel), and Olivia Newton John comes out of a long singing hiatus to share vocals on Rest Your Love on Me.
Completing the collection are duets with Jason Isbell (Words of a Fool, the album’s first single release) and David Rawlings and Gillian Welch (Butterfly).
Words of a Fool was originally written for a 1986 Barry Gibb solo project that was never released, reports Wikipedia. The site also reports that Butterfly was written when the Gibb brothers lived in Australia and had yet to become household names. The song has been covered by Marmalade, Ronnie Burns and others.
In a YouTube video post, Barry Gibb, still sporting shoulder length (now fully grey) hair, said his chart success with Greenfields was such that “I have never been more thrilled in my life”.
It was an “enormous mission” to record the album, he said, and his topping the UK chart was “pretty outrageous… I can’t believe it!”.
He dedicated the album and its success to his late brothers, Robin (who died in 2012) and Maurice (who died in 2003), “and everyone who cares about our music”.
Formed in 1958, the Brothers Gibb were born on the Isle of Man to English parents and had not only their own, self-composed hits but also wrote for artists such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Kenny Rogers.
The trio was indicted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 and has sold more than 120 million records.