Butterfly

Album: Brilliant from Birth (1970)

Songfacts®:

  • Maurice, Robin and Barry Gibb wrote this song back in 1966 when the Bee Gees were still making their way in Australia. They penned it around the time of the recording of their Spicks and Specks album at Ossie Byrne's recording studio in Hurstville in southern Sydney.
  • Barry Gibb is lead vocalist. He sings of young love and happy memories of his time with his childhood girlfriend.

    Green fields where we used to wander
    Purple valleys, near my home
    We would play there, beneath the sky
    And then I kissed you, butterfly


    The Gibb brothers' spent their early years on the Isle Of Man, which lies in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. Their time growing up on the island inspired this song's lyric. "I remember the Isle of Man for its beautiful fields, streams, mountains and walking to school as a five-year-old," Barry Gibb recalled to the English newspaper The Sun in 2021. "There was a little place called Spring Valley where we used to go. You can't take any of that away from me."
  • "Butterfly" remained unreleased until it was included on Inception/Nostalgia, a 1970 compilation album of 24 previously unknown Bee Gees recordings from 1966. Sold in Germany by Karussell and in France by Triumph, the album was available for just a short time. The Gibb brothers were unaware of the record's release until Maurice saw a copy during a skiing holiday in Switzerland.

    The song later featured on Brilliant From Birth, a 1998 compilation of 63 of the Bee Gees' Australian recordings, including every track from Inception/Nostalgia.
  • In 2021 Barry Gibb recorded Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol.1, a collection of Bee Gees songs reinvented as country duets. Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings first came to his attention via the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Gibb linked up with the country folk duo to cover "Butterfly" for the album.

    "Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch didn't want to do a song that was well-known, because that's their nature as an act - they're very pure," Gibb told Entertainment Weekly. "They leapt all over 'Butterfly,' which was out in 1966. It just worked out wonderful."
  • The Greenfields album title comes from this song's opening line: "Green fields where we used to wander."
  • Greenfields topped the UK albums chart, giving Barry Gibb his first solo UK #1. As part of The Bee Gees, he'd previously reached #1 on the UK tally once before, with 1979's Spirits Having Flown.

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Gold Coast Australia My son would play on his record player butterfly . He would find the only song butterfly that he loved from all the other songs finding the exact grove which we thought was very unique At many times night or day he would play his song Bradley was a special son never said a word except muum Forever our son love mum dad daughter Barry
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