Friday, March 21, 2014

"He's a Liar" by Bee Gees

Song#:  0760
Date:  09/26/1981
Debut:  63
Peak:  30
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Many artists had their career derailed when the disco backlash hit near the tail end of the 70s, but arguably it was the Bee Gees who lost the most. From 1977 to 1979, the trio had a string of six consecutive #1 hits and they were worldwide superstars. Unfortunately, they got tagged as the poster children for disco and despite having numerous pre-disco hits (which people seemed to have forgotten), the group was shunned by radio and record buyers. By the time they were ready to issue their first album of the 80s, it was still amidst a hostile anti-Bee Gees environment. Their LP "Living Eyes" was a conscious effort to move away from disco, yet it was one made under pressure from their financially floundering label, RSO. This first single hopped on the chart fairly high up, but stalled quickly and barely made Top 30. It was the thud heard 'round the world and one which the Bee Gees would never really overcome in the US.

ReduxReview:  This is a strange song and single choice. The disco is gone in favor of a rock-ish shuffle and they limit their trademark falsetto vocals, but their staccato melody/delivery remain intact. The spitefully spat chorus line is not really attractive and seems out of character as they are not necessarily known for their bitterness. There are also a few instrumental passages where not much happens. Added up, it just makes a very strange offering from the trio. I think they were just trying too hard to reestablish themselves post disco backlash. I don't think this single was the remedy (and obviously, it wasn't).

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) How bad did this LP do? Their previous album, "Spirits Have Flown," sold over 30 million copies worldwide. "Living Eyes" sold a mere 750,000.  2)  Despite the LP's poor reception, it has a place in music history. It was chosen as the very first CD to be manufactured for demonstration purposes. This was shown on BBC through the show "Tomorrow's World," which aired in 1981. When CDs were commercially available, it was among the first to be sold. However, there were very few pressed and it was not reissued in later years even though the bulk of their catalog had been. CD copies of the album are rare.


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