Happy 45th: Bee Gees, TRAFALGAR
45 years ago today, the Bee Gees released their ninth album, an effort which provided the group with their very first #1 single in the US, even if the song in question failed to chart at all in the UK.
Produced by Roger Stigwood and the Bee Gees themselves, the process of contemplating the album which would ultimately become TRAFALGAR began remarkably close to when its predecessor, 2 Years On, was wrapped up: only two months had passed when the brothers Gibb returned to the studio in December 1970 to lay down four new tracks: “Merrily Merry Eyes,” “Over the Hill and Over the Mountain,” “Together,” and “When Do I.” In the end, only the latter track would actually end up appearing on TRAFALGAR – or on any subsequent Bee Gees LP, for that matter – but, hey, every album has to start somewhere, right?
The next time the Bee Gees entered the studio was in late January 1971, at which point their new backing guitarist, Alan Kendall, was in place, and if Kendall’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he would remain a stalwart in the Gibbs’ stable of musicians for many years to come. During these sessions, they took another stab at “When Do I” while also recording “We Lost the Road,” which they’d ultimately save for their next album, To Whom It May Concern. Most importantly, though, they recorded the future #1 hit that was referenced above: “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.”
Although TRAFALGAR was completed in April 1971 and wasn’t actually released until September, the Bee Gees opted to issue “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” in May, and it’s a good thing they did, given its subsequent chart-topping success. Unfortunately, that success did not instantly turn the Bee Gees into the greatest thing since sliced bread: their next single, “Don’t Wanna Live Inside Myself,” stalled at #53 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Although it would take a few more albums before the group found themselves back at the top of the charts, TRAFALGAR remains one of the Bee Gees’ most critically acclaimed albums and can be found within the pages of1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die. As such, if you haven’t heard it yet, you might want to hit “play” on the accompanying Spotify link. After all, what better way to celebrate its 45th anniversary by being able to say that you’ve listened to it and loved it?