"One" - Bee Gees
from the album One (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #7 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10
Today's song of the day comes from the Australian pop/disco trio Bee Gees, who had evolved from a 60s twee-pop band to disco powerhouses in the age of Saturday Night Fever in the late 70s. However, with the backlash against the genre at the start of the following decade, the Gibb brothers found themselves having a very hard time coming back to mainstream radio, especially in the States. Contracted to contribute part of the soundtrack to the Saturday Night Fever sequel Stayin' Alive didn't help much, and with the stigma even the totally enjoyable single "The Woman In You" failed to make the top 20 on the pop chart in the summer of 1983.
Instead, the brothers, especially Barry, concentrated on outside project, most notably songwriting and producing for other artists. They had success with such veteran pop powerhouses as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers, and Diana Ross in the first half of the decade. Also, both Barry and Robin Gibb landed top-40 solo pop hits with "Shine Shine" and "Boys Do Fall In Love".
Once the "backlash" had died down a little, the trio released their first studio album since 1981, E.S.P. Eschewing disco for an adult-pop sound completely, they scored one of their biggest international hits with "You Win Again". Spending a month on top of the British singles chart, and top ten all across the world, the United States were still criminally ignoring it, stalling the song at #75 on the Hot 100. However, it did perk up a few ears (including mine), and by the end of the decade, the Gibbs were back with another album.
In Europe, One was released at the beginning of 1989, after an attempt to add brother Andy Gibb to the lineup sadly never came to pass due to his death from heart trouble. The first international single, "Ordinary Lives", went top ten in Germany (#8) and Switzerland (#9), but surprisingly was only a minor hit in Britain at #54. However, that was redeemed by the success of the second single and title track. "One", written by the brothers who co-produced it with Brian Tench, ended up being their biggest hit in America in ten years. And I can hear just a trace of the groove of their classic "Jive Talkin'" in there...
"One" became the Bee Gees' 15th (and final) top-10 pop hit in the U.S. in September of 1989. The song also went all the way to the top of Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart for two weeks. Internationally, the record went to #11 in Canada, and was a top-40 hit in Germany (#37) and Belgium (#38), while is stopped short in the UK at #71.
They followed it up with a lush ballad, "Bodyguard", which missed the pop chart here but was a success on "lite" radio, peaking at #9 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
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Here's the trio performing the song live on the Letterman show...
...and again in 1997 on their massive One Night Only show in Las Vegas...
Up tomorrow: Swedish berry blows some smooches.