This article is from the Bee Gees FAQ, by David Garcia firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
The lone exception to this period "in exile" was the
soundtrack to the movie "Stayin' Alive". Sylvester Stallone was
hired to direct this sequel to "Saturday Night Fever". Looking
at the film, it is obvious that this was a work crafted in
Stallone's own image. Even John Travolta ended up looking like
Rambo in Spandex.
In directing the film, Stallone was at least somewhat
obligated to include Bee Gees songs in the soundtrack. But most
of the emphasis was given to the music of Frank Stallone, the
director's brother. In contrast, some songs the Bee Gees wrote
were faded out abruptly in the middle of a verse. In any case,
both the film and the soundtrack album failed to measure up to
In between "Living Eyes" and the "Stayin' Alive" film, Robin
released his solo album "How Old Are You" on the Polydor label.
This album was produced by Robin and Maurice, and all the
compositions were by the twins, including the single "Juliet".
The album and single did well in Germany, but were scarcely
noticed in the US. Barry's absence from the album was easily
explained: he had just finished producing Dionne Warwick's
"Heartbreaker" LP, and was about to begin production of "Eyes
That See In The Dark" for Kenny Rogers. Both of Barry's projects
were co-produced by Karl Richardson and Albhy Galuten, and
consisted of songs written by the Bee Gees, and occasional
co-writing by Albhy Galuten.
The next Bee Gees success was to come in under the radar.
"Islands In the Stream" was a huge country hit for Kenny Rogers
and Dolly Parton. It also crossed over and dominated mainstream
pop radio -- one of very few country duets to ever do so. In all
the excitement, people didn't seem to notice who wrote the song.
The biggest country hit of 1983 was written by the same composers
who wrote the disco anthem "Stayin' Alive" -- the Bee Gees had
made a most remarkable transition in their songwriting, and
hardly anyone seemed to realize it.
As if to emphasize the point, the Bee Gees now started
another transition. They began work on an R&B comeback album for
Motown diva Diana Ross. "Eaten Alive" and the single "Chain
Reaction" gave Diana Ross her first major chart success in the
UK. In the wake of "Saturday Night Fever", the Bee Gees had
proven their worth as songwriters and producers with both country
music and Motown style R&B... but at the same time their own solo
careers were going nowhere.
Robin had a brief hit with the "Secret Agent" album's single
"Boys Do Fall In Love", but his followup album "Walls Have Eyes"
failed to attract listeners. EMI later blamed this on internal
changes at the record label. At the same time, Barry's solo
debut "Now Voyager" was unable to spark excitement with record
buyers. While "Shine Shine" did find its way into the top 40, it
was quickly forgotten along with the album. A second solo album,
"Moonlight Madness", was instead diverted to the soundtrack of
the film "Hawks", a British comedy-drama starring Timothy Dalton
and Anthony Edwards.
In 1987, Arif Mardin and the brothers Gibb set their sights
on a renewal of the Bee Gees' career as recording artists. The
"E.S.P." album brought the single "You Win Again", a #1 success
in several countries. The USA, however, wasn't one of them.
Following the tragic death of younger brother Andy Gibb in 1988,
the Bee Gees started to seriously re-evaluate their careers.
Trying to make sense of the tragedy, they also began to feel a
need to truly dedicate themselves to what they've always done
best: songwriting and performing. Regardless of what the radio
stations thought about the Bee Gees, they would be heard.
The 1989 album "One" brought the brothers success on both
sides of the Atlantic. "Ordinary Lives" was the featured single
in Europe, and the title track proved to be the group's
"comeback" single in the US. For the first time in ten years,
the Bee Gees set forth on a world tour.
The 1991 followup album "High Civilization" was less well
received. While the song "Secret Love" did well in Europe, "When
He's Gone" was ignored in the US. The Bee Gees again toured
Europe. But while touring Europe, their thoughts surely were
directed toward the states.