THE ULTIMATE BEE GEES is a double-disc career retrospective featuring the group's many hits and chart-topping singles, performances of a selection of hit songs they wrote for others, and liner notes by Tim Rice. Tim Rice's liner notes accompanying THE ULTIMATE BEE GEES puts the group's extravagant popularity into perspective. 'Within this package is a collection of performances and songs that very few practitioners of popular music of the past could match for quality, originality, and emotion. It's the singing, the harmonies, the arrangements, the sound, the rivalry, the love, the intelligence, the determination, but above all it's the songs.'
Here at Last… Bee Gees… Live is the sixteenth album and the first live album by the Bee Gees. It was released in May 1977. It reached No. 8 in the US, No. 8 in Australia, No. 1 in New Zealand and No. 2 in Spain, and sold 4.6 million copies worldwide. Here at Last was the first official live recording released by the Bee Gees, though many bootlegs have existed throughout the years of earlier performances.
Pianist Guillaume de Chassy insists that Silences is inspired by the example of clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre's late-1950s trio recordings. To be sure, like those records, this album is marked by intimacy and introspection, a strong clarinet sound and no drummer. But Silences, recorded at a French abbey, doesn't sound much like Giuffre's records—nor indeed, like much of jazz, at first blush. It's not at first clear just what this piano-clarinet-bass formation is up to. The helpfully titled "Birth of a Trio" provides clues. It shows just how much this music shares with jazz—improvisation, first of all; and empathy, the musicians listening closely to each other, as for example when de Chassy's piano sidles up to Thomas Savy's soaring clarinet.
It may sound silly to call the 12th album by a group with an eight-year string of gold records behind them a "breakthrough," but that's what Main Course was. The group's first disco album – and, for many white listeners, the first disco album they ever purchased – Main Course marked a huge change in the Bee Gees' sound. The group's earlier LPs, steeped in a dense romantic balladry, were beautifully crafted but too serious for any but hardcore fans. Main Course had a few ballads, such as "Songbird" and "Country Lanes," but the writing was simpler, and the rest of it was made up of catchy dance tunes (heavily influenced by the Philadelphia-based soul music of the period), in which the beat and the texture of the voices and instruments took precedence over the words. The combination proved irresistible, and Main Course – driven by the singles "Jive Talkin'," "Nights on Broadway," and "Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)" – attracted millions of new listeners.
The original double-LP version of this compilation was one of the most generous in the Bee Gees' catalog, assembling 20 of their biggest disco-era hits and most important album tracks in one place, all while the disco boom was still alive in a lot of places. The expanded Reprise double-CD edition of this collection, released in September of 2007, boosts the original compilation's running time by more than 30 minutes, most of the latter made up of remixes and alternate mixes of established hits, such as a 12" promo version and a Teddybears remix of "Stayin' Alive," a Jason Bentley/Philip Steir remix of "You Should Be Dancing," a Count De Money remix of "If I Can't Have You," a Future Funk Squad remix of "Night Fever," and a Supreme Beings of Leisure remix of "How Deep Is Your Love." There's also one previously unissued track, "Warm Ride," without a word of mention about when or where it came from – in its defense, it's as good a song as anything the Bee Gees actually released in the second half of the '70s.