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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Bee Gees, The - 1981 Living Eyes
Bee Gees, The - 1981 Living Eyes

ARTIST: Bee Gees, The
ALBUM: Living Eyes
SERIAL: RX-1-3098 (Nth America), 2394 301 (Europe, RoW)
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2005, Polydor (Japan), UICY-3919


LINEUP: Barry Gibb - vocals, acoustic guitar * Robin Gibb - vocals * Maurice Gibb - vocals, acoustic guitar * Steve Gadd - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Living Eyes * 02 He's A Liar * 03 Paradise * 04 Don't Fall In Love With Me * 05 Soldiers * 06 I Still Love You * 07 Wildflower * 08 Nothing Could Be Good * 09 Cryin' Every Day * 10 Be Who You Are

Many point to 'Living Eyes' as the point in time where The Bee Gees completely broke away from they're disco past. We forget that The Bee Gees are first and foremost a pop group and no matter the style, sang tight three-part harmonies that blended perfectly, in the same way that The Beach Boys did. By 1981, radio stations had taken The Bee Gees out of rotation (Sometimes holding 'Bee Gee Free Weekends') and subsequently categorized the group as a disco act. Released in 1981, 'Living Eyes' was dismissed by fans and critics who seemed more interested in The Bee Gees legal and personal matters than music. What a 'Tragedy', as 'Living Eyes' includes an impressive mix of well crafted brother Gibb tunes that dabble in West coast/AOR!

The Songs
The title track sets the tone with an infectious hook and almost laid back West coast vibe. Unfortunately 'He's A Liar' is next and was mistakenly the first single. Perhaps the brothers went the opposite extreme in trying to change their sound -as it could make one wonder if The Bee Gees knack for writing well crafted pop songs had flown south? Thankfully 'Paradise' re-affirms this in spades - as an incredible soft rock spectacle ensues with pitch perfect instrumentation and amazing harmonies. 'Don't Fall In Love With Me' is captivating from its opening orchestral revving through Robin's staple wail fest. Robin's voice here seems stronger than ever. 'Soldiers' would be good if it wasn't for the overblown falsetto tone which is completely out of step with it's lyrical content. 'I Still Love You' is another very strong outing by Robin, sharing part of the lead with Maurice. In fact it's Maurice's 'Wildflower' that is one of the album's highlights and should have been the single - instead of the aforementioned 'He's A Liar'. With the Gibb's Midas touch all over popular acts of the day, one has to wonder why this song didn't make it into the fold? Despite the renewed momentum of Robin and Maurice, Barry was not to be out done. Barry Gibbs' lead on 'Nothing Could Be Good' is nothing short of breathtaking and can be considered The Bee Gee's first real stab at West coast/AOR! Not surprising as it was written by Albhy Galuten who is responsible for amazing work with the likes of Jellyfish and Olivia Newton-John. 'Cryin' Every Day' is another highlight with a killer hook and Galuten's amazing production. While Barry's somewhat dreamy conclusion 'Be Who You Are' meanders a bit, 'Living Eyes' stands as an exceptional addition to this classic band's discography and to fans who may been turned away by the direction the brother's took several years prior.

In Summary
The single 'Living Eyes' peaked at #45 in the fall of 1981, which marked the end of The Bee Gees' Top 40 singles streak which began in 1975 with 'Jive Talkin'. The album sold a whopping 750,000 copies worldwide and did not enter the Top 40 in either the U.S. or the UK (A sharp contrast to 1979's 'Spirits Have Flown' which sold 20 Million!). It should be noted that 'Living Eyes' was the one of the first albums to be put on CD, although few were manufactured when the Compact Disc came to prominence in 1983. It was later in the year, that The Bee Gees had greater success with the soundtrack to 'Staying Alive', the sequel to 'Saturday Night Fever'. The soundtrack was certified platinum in the US, and included their Top 30 AOR hit 'Woman In You'. Refer to the excellent review of the 'Staying Alive' soundtrack here at Glory-Daze where The Bee Gees take these inspired West Coast dabblings to full bore AOR bliss!!

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#1 | Eric on May 18 2008 23:46:21
Yup, a great record and a fantastic group. I am a fan of all of their stuff going back to the 60's, but this one of their best. Very nice to see this here Jeff!
#2 | rostoned on June 19 2008 23:59:00
West Coast freaks note that both Jeff Porcaro and Don Felder (Eagles) play on this excellent platter, the former being on 3 cuts while the latter performs on 6 songs.

By the way Jeff thanx so much for reviewing this, I didn't have it and promptly bought a US vinyl in gatefold sleeve which I am enjoying rite now, down to the label which has the lovely RSO red cow on new silver background. 'Living Eyes', 'Paradise', 'Wildflower', 'Don't fall...' are real jewels, down to the closing orchestral suite. Believe it or not it's their only album currently out of print on CD (in Japan too), hence very pricey on the digital second hand market, which was flooded by counterfeits.
Definitely the black sheep or the forgotten son of their vast discography; so justice is done, here at least!
#3 | jeffduran on June 20 2008 18:30:12
This is the dark horse of the Bee Gees discography comsidering they were coming off Urban Sweat hog Fever a few years back. Great stuff!
#4 | JuniorNB on August 12 2008 17:29:10
Very underrated album in the Bee Gees catalog. B ad singles choices led to the demise of this one.
If you're not familiar, give the song 'Paradise' a listen. It is one of the Bee Gees all-time best.
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