Bee Gees Wiki

"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 lyrics[]

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 listing[]

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


Chart performance[]

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 version[]

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

Cover versions[]

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:

  • Clay Aiken
  • The Chambers Brothers
  • The Animals (1968)
  • P. P. Arnold (1968)
  • B3
  • Jimmy Barnes
  • The Baronets
  • The Black Crowes [10]
  • Blue Rodeo
  • Michael Bolton
  • Busty Brown & The Upsetters
  • Michael Buble on his 2013 album To Be Loved
  • Kim Carnes on the album Rest on Me
  • James Carr
  • Eagle-Eye Cherry (on Y tu mamá también soundtrack)
  • Joe Cocker
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Billy Corgan feat. Robert Smith found on the 2005 album TheFutureEmbrace
  • Billy "Crash" Craddock from 1989's Back on Track
  • Roberta Flack on the 1971 album Quiet Fire
  • The Flying Burrito Brothers
  • Gallon Drunk
  • Ima on the album Precious
  • Tom Jones
  • Janis Joplin on the 1969 album I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!
  • Ronan Keating feat. Brian McFadden
  • Sandy Lam on the 1997 album Wonderful World
  • Lulu (November 1967)
  • Miguel Mateos, plays in live shows
  • The Mighty Sparrow
  • Little Milton on the 1998 Malaco album For Real
  • Mule
  • Johnny O'Keefe
  • Gram Parsons
  • Gary Puckett & The Union Gap on their 1968 album, Woman, Woman[11]
  • Damien Rice & Ray LaMontagne
  • Johnny Rodriguez on his 1979 album "Sketches"
  • Billy Joe Royal[12]
  • Silver Ginger 5
  • Nina Simone on the album To Love Somebody, and reached #5 in UK.
  • Slobberbone
  • Jimmy Somerville covered the song and his version reached #8 in the UK.
  • Jordin Sparks
  • Dusty Springfield
  • Rod Stewart with Booker T. & the M.G.'s
  • Bonnie Tyler on the 1988 album Hide Your Heart
  • Hank Williams, Jr. on the 1979 album Family Tradition

Movie soundtracks[]

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

  • I Love You Phillip Morris
  • Y Tu Mamá También
  • Melody
  • The Wrong Man
  • My Entire Life
  • 50/50


  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.