Listen: (The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts / The Bee Gees
Recalling the first time The Bee Gees got played locally, the disc jockeys at WNDR were promoting the record’s 7PM unveiling for a solid day or two prior. The implication being a new double sided single from The Beatles. Instead, we got The Bee Gees US debut: ‘New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Have You Seen My Wife, Mr. Jones)’ / ‘I Can’t See Nobody’. In the end, a much better result.
Other than an unfair comparison to The Beatles, from that US premier until taking a dreadful left turn into disco during the mid 70′s, the band had a nice run of British sounding hits, despite growing up and starting their musical career in Australia. Nothing wrong with that by the way, but given they were originally the UK, it was clearly in their water.
During the late 80′s, while working at Island, I often tried to convince Marianne Faithfull to cover ‘(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts’. The song just seemed made for her timbre. At the time, she was living in Boston, but despite using that logic as ammo, she never did get round to it.
‘(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts’ is neck in neck with their UK only single, ‘World’, also from ’67, as my favorite. A slight embarrassment, this one only reaching #11 on BILLBOARD’s Hot 100, while achieving #1 pretty much around the world. Both a big accomplishment and a contributor to their astonishing, career spanning sales of 220 million records worldwide.