The Beatles were tremendously popular — but they couldn’t get all of their songs on the pop charts. One of their songs wouldn’t chart until one of the Bee Gees covered it in the 1970s. Here’s a look at the very odd circumstances that led to this cover.
This lesser-known Beatles song is a throwback to 1950s rock ‘n’ roll
Like much of The Beatles’ work, our story begins with 1950s rock ‘n’ roll. That style of music was a huge influence on the Fab Four from their bubblegum days to the end of their career. Although Abbey Road includes some experimental material, it also draws inspiration from the genre.
For example, the Abbey Road track “Oh! Darling” captures the sound and lyrical simplicity of that era. While “Oh! Darling” is charming, it never became one of the more famous songs from Abbey Road. It may have remained relatively unknown among Beatles songs if not for a member of the Bee Gees.
The film based on ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is such an important album, it apparently warranted a film adaptation. The film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a bizarre musical which features a whole lot of Beatles songs — some of which aren’t from Sgt. Pepper — and a whole lot of celebrities. The Bee Gees play the main roles. Alice Cooper, George Burns and Steve Martin make appearances as well. For the film, members of the Bee Gees recorded several Fab Four tracks. The Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb commented on this.
“We write our own music and we love doing it and that’s great,” he told Rolling Stone. “But this is a historical album being made into a film, and we’re proud to sing the music. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like singing Beatles songs. It comes from a basic instinct that you enjoy singing those songs anyway. In fact, we couldn’t wait to get into the studio.”
How the public reacted to the Bee Gees’ take on The Beatles
The Bee Gees enjoyed singing Beatles songs and the public enjoyed their renditions of the songs. The Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb released a cover of “Oh! Darling” which reached No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. This cover became Gibb’s highest-charting single as a solo artist. It’s especially impressive given it performed better than The Beatles’ original. The original version of the song didn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100 at all.
According to Box Office Mojo, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band earned over $20 million. That sounds like a sizeable gross, however, the film cost $18 million. It’s astounding the film performed so poorly considering the popularity of both the Fab Four and the Bee Gees. However, one of the Bee Gees still proved he could bring a song to the pop charts even though The Beatles did not.
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