Bee Gees – Sweet Heart

The career of The Bee Gees can be broken down into a number of distinct eras. 

  1. There is the pre-fame period. They started playing in bands in 1955 when Barry was nine and the twins Maurice & Robin being six whilst they lived in Manchester, UK. They moved to Australia in 1958 and started their recording career in 1963. They would continue to record in Australia with some success until 1966 when they decided to relocate back the UK.
  2. 1967 – 1969 and the first brush with fame. They also were a proper band at this time with the addition of drummer Colin Petersen and guitar player Vince Melouney. 
  3. 1970 – 1974. The wilderness years and the first solo projects.
  4. 1975 -1979. The disco behemoth. 
  5. 1980 – 1986. More solo records and outside projects. 
  6. 1987 onwards. A return to the top and becoming a heritage act. 

Thinking about it, it amazing how similar in trajectory The Bee Gees career to Fleetwood Mac, especially from 1967 to 1979. Anyway, in this months artists showcase we are going to look at the period between the 1969 and 1970 when The Bee Gees fragmented from a quintet to a duo, and then to nothing at all before reforming with just the Gibb Brothers and hired hands. 

Vince Melouney was the first to go, leaving the group because he wanted to play more blues orientated music than the brothers were producing at the time. Melouney does hold the distinction of being the only non Gibb to have a song on a post 1967 Bee Gees album. His parting was on good terms but not all was well within the Bee Gee camp. Matters came to a head after the release of the ‘Odessa’ album. The only single released from this LP was Barry’s ‘First Of May’. Robin felt that his song ‘Lamplight’ should have been chosen instead but had been relegated to the B-Side of the aforementioned ‘First of May’. Robin feeling that their manager Robert Stigwood was pushing Barry towards being the frontman of the group decided to leave the group and strike out on his own. 

Barry & Maurice soldiered on as The Bee Gees and even showed a doctors note for nervous exhaustion on the ‘Happening For Lulu’ show to explain Robin’s absence. Barry & Maurice decided to produce a film and album under the name of ‘Cucumber Castle’, which had been a song on their 1967 ‘1st’ album. The film consists of Barry and Maurice playing two Princess who have their father’s Kingdom divided up so one if the King of Cucumber, and the other is the King of Jelly. The plot , if it can be described as one, is non sensical. It is essentially a mix of sketches with a curious mix of Medieval imagery combined with scenes with guns that are not exactly from the Middle Ages. The cast includes Frankie Howard, Vincent Price and Spike Milligan. 

These sketches were interspersed with musical numbers from not only The Bee Gees themselves (which on the whole are excellent), but Lulu (who covers Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs Robinson whilst cleaning the castle) and live footage of Blind Faith from their gig in Hyde Park in 1969. That footage is not Medieval at all either. The film was screen on 26th December 1970 by which time, both Blind Faith and The Bee Gees had split up with the latter actually having the time to reform. This did receive a limited release on VHS back in the day but has not seen the light since. It has also been described as one of the rarest VHS releases of all time. 

You can actually watch the whole thing here, as long as it hasn’t been blocked on removed from YouTube. Apart form the music, it is pretty bad. You have been warned. 

On the music front, both Barry and Maurice well very busy. There was even talk of replacing Robin with a singer called Peter Mason. Though he may have helped on the recording of the song ‘Don’t Forget To Remember’, Mason did not end up as a Bee Gee with one theory stating that Stigwood was against the idea as he was hoping the three Gibb Brothers would reunite. Barry would also do some production work for P.P. Arnold with Maurice working with Australian band Tin Tin. These bouts of production would be fitted in work on the next Bee Gees album. Recordings on the ‘Cucumber Castle’  concluded in October 1969 but would not see the light of day until April the following year. You would think that an album by a major recording artist of the late 60’s would want their album out in time for the Christmas market, but this did not happen because on 1st December 1969, Barry announced he was leaving the Bee Gee’s. 

Maurice and Barry would start the new decade recording material for solo albums with both releasing singles. Barry with ‘I’ll Kiss Your Memory’ and Maurice with ‘The Loner’. With Robin also making recordings as a solo artist, 1970 look like a year of Bee Gees overkill. As it was, neither Maurice’s or Barry’s solo records appeared. In June, Maurice and Robin started to work together again and announced that they would reform as The Bee Gees, with or without Barry. Their elder brother came back into the fold and in November, they would release their ‘2 Years On’ album. 

But what if the ‘Cucumber Castle’ album had seen the light of day in December of 1969, and that Barry and Maurice decided to keep working as The Bee Gees? That would leave a gap in 1970 for another Bee Gees album to be released but what material would it consist of. Robin was still out of the picture at this point so we will have to use the songs that were recorded for the still unreleased solo records by Maurice and Barry. There was enough material from those solo recording to make two solo albums so reducing them down to one shouldn’t be too difficult should it?

Well, the production on the songs is as good as you would expect it to be. However, without the others contributing ideas, the songs themselves are not up to the standards you would expect from this period in the band’s career. They lack the spark and harmonies that having brothers singing together can bring. I have kept the songs from the two singles Maurice and Barry released separate from the album and what we have is a good album, but not a classic. It would have been obvious to all that if this had happened, the Gibb Brothers really needed each other to produce the classic material that they are known for. Apart from the singles, very few of these songs have seen the light of day. ‘One Bad Thing’ was covered by a few artists in 1971 and ‘The Loner’ was used in the film Bloomfield. 

Side A

  1. Journey To The Misty Mountains (Maurice Gibb)
  2. The Loner (Maurice Gibb)
  3. Please Lock Me Away (Maurice Gibb)
  4. The Day You Eyes Met Mine (Barry Gibb)
  5. Happiness (Barry Gibb)
  6. Silly Little Girl (Maurice Gibb)
  7. I Just Wanna Take Care Of You (Barry Gibb)

Side B

  1. One Bad Thing (Barry Gibb)
  2. The Victim (Barry Gibb)
  3. Peace In My Mind (Barry Gibb)
  4. Mando Bay (Barry Gibb)
  5. Soldier Johnny (Maurice Gibb)
  6. She’s The One You Love (Maurice Gibb)


  1. Railroad (Maurice Gibb)
  2. I’ve Come Back (Maurice Gibb)
  1. I’ll Kiss Your Memory (Barry Gibb)
  2. This Time (Barry Gibb)

Finding a picture of the two man Bee Gees is not easy, so I took the picture sleeved for the Belgium edition of the I.O.I.O. single. I could edit out the title of the A-Side but the B-Side of Sweet Heart was a bit beyond my skills. The song may have appeared on the Cucumber Castle album, but this would not be the first time the Bee Gees took an album title from a song from a previous LP. I replaced the pink Polydor logo of the original release with the traditional red one, and the catalogue number was the one used by John Hunt at the ‘I Design Album Covers’ site for the unreleased solo albums these songs were taken from.  

As a side note, the ‘Cucumber Castle’ film and album would also be the last time drummer Colin Petersen was involved in a Bee Gees project. He was fired for not turning up to recording sessions and not taking an interest in filming, which is odd as Petersen had been a child actor. Petersen himself put it down the fact that he argued with Robert Stigwood over his role with the band. Stigwood not only managed the band but was their producer, the music publisher and owned the recordings.   

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