Meaning of Words by The Bee Gees & The Story Behind

“Words” is one of the most famous pieces of music by The Bee Gees. A lyrical composition about the power of spoken words was performed solo by Barry Gibb. It became a hit that topped the charts in several countries and was included in the group’s concert program for many years.

The official songwriters of the track are Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. Let’s listen to their memories of the history of the creation of “Words”.

Barry Gibb claimed that the idea for the song came from him:

“Words” was written by me at Adams Row when I was staying with Robert [Стигвуда]. A lot of people started singing this song, so over the years it turned into something like “To Love Somebody”.

Synopsis for the album “Horizontal”

Robin Gibb explained the main idea behind the song:

“Words” reflects the mood. It was written after a dispute. Barry had an argument with someone, I had an argument with someone, and it just so happened that we were in the same frame of mind. [Спор был] absolutely nothing. They were just words. The song is about that: words can make you happy, or words can make you unhappy.

The Bee Gees – Tales of the Brothers Gibb,
Andrew Hughes

In 1996, while on the VH1 Storytellers show, Barry stated that the song “Words” was written for the group’s manager, Robert Stigwood.

The track was recorded in a studio on 3 October 1967 at London’s IBC Studios. Barry Gibb says:

I clearly remember that session. Robin and I have been in the studio since nine in the morning, and Robin was constantly falling asleep over the piano. I wanted him to write the keyboard part for the song and play it, because I’m not much of a pianist. And he just couldn’t open his eyes, so I finished it myself.

The Bee Gees – Tales of the Brothers Gibb,
Andrew Hughes

In January 1968 “Words” was released as a single with the track “Sinking Ships” on the back. The record topped the charts in several countries: Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. It peaked at number eight on the UK charts.

Check out the music video for “Words” filmed at The Bee Gees’ concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“Words” has been covered by many famous artists, including Elvis Presley. A live version of it is on the live album Elvis in Person at the International Hotel. Let’s hear how the “King of Rock and Roll” performed it in 1970.

In 1978, Rita Coolidge hit the UK charts with her version of “(It’s Only) Words”.

According to Maurice Gibb, the version of the Irish boy band Boyzone is the best. Their track rose high in the charts of different countries.

Interesting Facts

  • It is said that the composition was intended for Cliff Richard. But he wasn’t working on the album at the time, so The Bee Gees recorded it themselves. Subsequently, Cliff Richard performed “Words”.
  • It was the first single from The Bee Gees to feature only one of the brothers on vocals.
  • The British voted “Words” their favorite Bee Gees song in an ITV poll.
  • The movie “The Mini Mob” features a cover of “Words” performed by Georgie Fame.

Words lyrics by The Bee Gees

Smile an everlasting smile
A smile can bring you close to me
Don’t ever let me find you gone
‘Cause that would bring a tear to me
A smile can bring you closer to me
Don’t let me know that you’re gone
To keep me from shedding a tear This world has lost its glory
Let’s start a brand new story
Now my love, right now
There’ll be no other time
And I can show you how, my love
Let’s start the story from scratch
Now my love, right now
There will be no other time
And I can show you how, my love, talk in everlasting words
And dedicate them all to me
And I will give you all my life
I’m here if you should call to me
And dedicate them all to me
And I will give you my life
I’ll be here if you call
A single word I say
Not a single word that I say Chorus:
It’s only words, and words are all I have
To take your heart away
It’s just words, and words are the only thing
How can I win your heart? You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
Not a single word I sayChorus x3

Chorus – 3x

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