"To Love Somebody" is the second single released by the Bee Gees from their international debut album, Bee Gees 1st.[1] It was written by Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb, Produced by Robert Stigwood. The song's B-side was "Close Another Door"[2]

This single was reissued in 1980 on RSO Records with "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" as its flipside.[3]

Origins and lyricsEdit

At the request of Robert Stigwood, the band's manager, Barry and Robin Gibb wrote "To Love Somebody", a soulful ballad in the style of Sam & Dave or The Rascals, for Otis Redding.[4] The Bee Gees recorded "To Love Somebody" at IBC Studios, London in March 1967 and released it as a single in mid-July 1967 in the U.S. Redding died in an aeroplane crash later that year, before having a chance to record the song. The song was recorded around April 1967 with "Gilbert Green" and "End of My Song" at the IBC Studios in London, England.[5]

Robin said, "Everyone told us what a great record they thought it was, Other groups all raved about it but for some reason people in Britain just did not seem to like it". Barry said "I think the reason it didn't do well here was because it's a soul number, Americans loved it, but it just wasn't right for this country".[6]

Barry Gibb explained in a June 2001 interview with Mojo magazine:

It was for Robert. I say that unabashedly. He asked me to write a song for him, personally. It was written in New York and played to Otis but, personally, it was for Robert. He meant a great deal to me. I don't think it was a homosexual affection but a tremendous admiration for this man's abilities and gifts.[7]

The simple title refrain of the chorus, You don't know what it's like, Baby, you don't know what it's like, To love somebody...the way I love you has the effect of being at once heartbreaking and triumphant, a self-pitying put-down to an unrequited love. There's... a certain kind of light that never shone on me... You ain't got to be so blind, I'm a man, can't you see what I am?, I live and breathe for you, But what good does that do, If I ain't got you?.[8]

Track listingEdit

1980 single reissue[3]
No. Title Length
1. "To Love Somebody"   3:02
2. "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"    


Chart performanceEdit

Charts (1967) Peak
Australia ARIA Singles Chart 6
Belgium Singles Chart 8
Canadian RPM 100 Singles Chart 9
French SNEP Singles Chart 63
Netherlands Dutch Top 40 Charts 13
UK Singles Chart 41
US Billboard Hot 100 17

Michael Bolton versionEdit

End of year chart (1993) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[9] 83

Cover versionsEdit

One of the most famous Gibb compositions, "To Love Somebody" is now considered a pop standard and has been covered by many artists, most notably:

Movie soundtracksEdit

"To Love Somebody" has been used in several movies including:


  1. Show 49 - The British are Coming! The British are Coming!: With an emphasis on Donovan, the Bee Gees, and the Who. [Part 6] : UNT Digital Library
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  4. Melinda Bilyeu, Hector Cook, Andrew Môn Hughes (2004). The Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-1-84449-057-8, p. 134.
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  11. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, Woman, Woman Retrieved September 28, 2011
  12. Billy Joe Royal, "To Love Somebody" Retrieved September 23, 2012.