Friday, September 25, 2020

"You Win Again" by Bee Gees

Song#:  3268
Date:  09/19/1987
Debut:  82
Peak:  75
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Of all the artists that got caught up in the disco backlash of '79/'80 perhaps none caught the brunt of it more than the Bee Gees. By the late 70s they were one of the biggest acts in music. From '77 through to '79, the trio scored six consecutive #1 hits. There was no reason to think that their success wouldn't continue in the 80s, but when disco died, the trio practically became poster children for the backlash. Records were burned and radio stations refused to play their music. Effects were immediate. In the summer of '79, the band was at #1 with "Love You Inside Out" and the associated album Spirits Have Flown had topped the chart. Their next album, 1981's Living Eyes practically died upon release (#41) with its first single, "He's a Liar," stopping at #30. They then worked on the 1983 soundtrack to Staying Alive, which made it to #6, but their single from the LP "The Woman in You" stopped at #24. Nothing was working for them so the brothers stepped away for a bit with all three of them recording solo or soundtrack projects. By 1986, the brothers decided to get back together to give it another go. They switched over to Warner Bros. Records and recorded their seventeenth studio album, E-S-P, with producer Arif Mardin. The LP was finished in the late summer of '87 with this first single getting released. Despite it's decidedly non-disco/dance feel, it seems that the Bee Gees were still persona non grata with US radio stations with many ignoring the track. It stopped low on the Pop chart while getting to #50 at AC. With little support, the song and album (#96) became their lowest charting efforts since 1974. While the trio received a cold shoulder from the US, in other countries this song kicked off their comeback (see below).

ReduxReview:  It was a real shame that this song wasn't really given a chance in the US. After years of trying to overcome the effects of "disco sucks," which included a lack of direction, subpar material, and mediocre solo discs, the brothers finally started to get their act back together again after a needed hiatus. This hooky track with an indelible drum beat/sound was a terrific track to reintroduce the trio for the late 80s. It was a solid pop song that had no shades of dance/disco or even the brothers' trademark high falsetto vocals. The rest of the world got it, but in the US it was unfairly ignored due to the still-strong disco stigma. I liked the song well enough to purchase the album. It had a few other good tracks including the beautiful, haunting ballad "Angela."

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Radio stations and listeners in the US may not have been ready yet for a Bee Gees return, but the story was different in other territories. In the UK, this song became their fifth #1. With that result, the Bee Gees became the first group to score a #1 hit in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The album also did well reaching #5 and going platinum. The song would hit #1 in at least five other countries and reach the Top 10 in several others. The song would earn the brothers the 1987 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. The only place it tanked was the US, which both disappointed and angered the trio as they felt they couldn't get a fair shake from radio stations who were still reluctant to play Bee Gees material.


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