The Unforgettable Day When The Bee Gees Penned Three Billboard Number One Hits

It was an extraordinary day for the Bee Gees. Taking a break from filming the ill-fated *Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band* movie, Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb achieved an incredible feat. In one afternoon, they wrote two future Billboard number one hits: “Too Much Heaven” and “Tragedy.” That same evening, they composed “Shadow Dancing” for their younger brother, Andy Gibb, which also topped the Billboard chart.

“Too Much Heaven,” in particular, had a longer recording process than other Bee Gees tracks from the same period. This isn’t surprising given the song’s complexity, featuring nine layers of three-part harmony, resulting in an astounding 27 voices. The distinctive high falsetto layers, including Barry’s lead and the contributions from all three Bee Gees, made the song truly unique.

Watching the Bee Gees perform “Too Much Heaven” in their prime, remastered in HD, is a treat, free from the blurry, washed-out look of many vintage music videos. The song debuted at The Music for UNICEF’s “A Gift of Song” Concert in January 1979, a brainchild of the Bee Gees, their manager Robert Stigwood, and British television personality David Frost. The event was broadcast the following day, and an LP was released.

“Too Much Heaven” soon appeared on the Bee Gees’ 13th album, *Spirits Having Flown* (February 1979). As the lead single, it knocked Chic’s “Le Freak” off the top of the Billboard chart for two weeks before Chic regained the top spot. The song became a global hit, cementing its place in music history.

On the evening of that productive day, the Bee Gees wrote “Shadow Dancing” for Andy Gibb. The song opens with the line, “You got me looking at that heaven in your eyes.” Barry Gibb, the primary songwriter, drew inspiration from his second wife, former Miss Edinburgh Linda Gray, to whom he was married at the time. Barry and Linda married in 1970 and remain together to this day.

Andy Gibb passed away in 1988 after a well-publicized battle with addiction. In a 2020 interview with The Guardian, Barry Gibb reflected on the impact of fame on his brothers. “My brothers had to deal with their demons, but I was married to a lady who wasn’t going to have it. She never allowed me to go in that direction. I had to deal with my brothers being pretty much out there, but I was lucky.”

Barry Gibb and Linda Gray have four sons, a daughter, and seven grandchildren. Thanks to Linda, Barry found a little bit of heaven on earth amidst the challenges of fame.

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