NPR logo The Bee Gees: Who Knew?

The Bee Gees: Who Knew?

The other day, I was walking by Bob Boilen's desk and noticed a bin of newly arrived CDs. On the top of the pile of discs was a small box covered in red velvet with the words "Bee Gees" emblazoned in gold letters. I immediately reached for it, but just then, Bob came out of nowhere and snatched it up, saying with a smile, "This one's mine."

I thought it was a joke. How could Bob Boilen, a man who loathes disco more than anyone, possibly be a fan of the Bee Gees? I was merely curious to see what was in the red box. It turns out the CD was a deluxe reissue of the band's 1969 album Odessa — and, to my surprise, it's just incredible.

As Bob went on to explain, long before they reinvented themselves as poster boys for dewy '70s soft pop and disco, the Bee Gees made wonderfully inventive psychedelic and experimental rock with remarkable harmonies. Many people believed that the band would become the next Beatles. In fact, when the Bee Gees released their first single in the U.S. in 1967, a lot of people believed that they actually were the Beatles, recording under a pseudonym. Some thought the "B" and "G" stood for "Beatles Group." And, if you listen to the early Bee Gees recordings, it's uncanny how much they sound like Lennon and McCartney.

The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees, pre-disco.

I never thought I'd allow the Bee Gees to suck up space in my iTunes library, but I added Odessa and just love it. Now I want to go back and listen to some of the band's other early albums.

Here's one of the songs from Odessa, called "City on the Black Sea."

Are there any bands or artists you once hated but came to like once you learned more about them?