This moving ballad was released on the first Bee Gees album. Years later, they became one of the most popular disco acts, but in the '60s they were known for slower songs like this one and "Words."
Legend has it that this song was written for Otis Redding, who died before he had the chance to record it. While this is a chance Redding would have recorded the song, that's not who the Bee Gees had in mind when they recorded it.
The Bee Gees wrote the song for their manager, Australian-born impresario and entertainment entrepreneur Robert Stigwood, who was an influential part of London's gay showbiz establishment. 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."
Billy Corgan (with Robert Smith singing backup) included his take on this song on his debut album, marking the first time Corgan let an old song be placed on one of his albums. Corgan sings this very different from The Bee Gees' original. His version is much more sad, and he even changes the words in the second verse, adding "Yeah" on most lines.
Suggestion credit: SJ - Skalj, Denmark
The Animals, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Nina Simone (who had a big hit with it in the UK), Janis Joplin, Michael Bolton and Tom Jones, among others, have recorded this song.
Suggestion credit: Edna - Madrid, Spain
Dexys covered this for their 2016 album, Let The Record Show: Dexys Do Irish And Country Soul. Their frontman Kevin Rowland told Uncut "It's got a different meaning now to The Bee Gees' version. That's a gentle love song. I had to picture someone I felt had hurt me to get to that."
Steven Phillips from MaineOne of the greatest songs ever written
George from Vancouver, CanadaLove, love, LOVE the Beegees -- such range. Compare this soulful ballad with the bopping Stayin' Alive. . . I love them both! & 'most everything in between. Kawa from Tokyo: You make a fair point &, yes, definitely a clever idea if it was the reason. (it worked, didn't it?)
Tom from U.s.In an interview The Bee Gees stated that the song was written for Otis so it’s more than legend
Arthur from New JerseyThe Bee Gees performed the song with Helen Reddy on "The Midnight Special."
Romanong Kurong from PhilippinesMichael Bolton's version in the 1990s is a soulful rendition. Growing up as a teenager in the 90s, I could not just forget such cover and be convinced that Bee Gees first sang it. After all, isn't the challenge or even the prerequisite for a cover is to surpass the original?
Kawa from Tokyo, JapanI think that the first idea of the lyrics of the song, To Love Somebody, came form the tittle of the song, Somebody To Love, by Jefferson Airplane, Because its tittle is very similar to Jefferson's. I think that it was one of the Bee Gees' strategy that they used to use at that time. Because they were not form US or UK, but from Australia. I also think that they thought it was very disadvantage for them to make a big hit in the US at that time and was not difficult for them to use that way to make a hit. So they'd been trying to do it in 60s. If you doubt it, try to check where those ideas of their big hit songs in 60' came from. They'd been trying to write songs in which people living in the US had known. It is very smart way, isn't it!
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 9th 1967, "To Love Somebody" by the Bee Gees entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #79; and on August 20th, 1967 it peaked at #17 (for 1 week) and spent 9 weeks on the Top 100... It reached #6 in Australia and #9 in Canada... Was track three of side two on the trio's third studio album, "The Bee Gees' 1st", and the album peaked at #7 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart... Two other tracks from the album also made the Top 100; "New York Mining Disaster 1941" (peaked at #14) and "Holiday" (reached #16)... R.I.P. Maurice (1949 - 2003), Robin (1949 - 2012), and Barry will celebrate his 68th birthday this coming September 1st, 2014.
Enrique from Lima, -The live version of this song that appears in the album HERE AT LAST... is, IMHO, better than the studio recording. Played a little slower makes it even more beautiful than it already is.
Don from Sevierville, TnMichael Bolton also recorded this song. What's interesting was that Bolton started off playing hard rock. I think early B0lton sounded a lot like Foreigner or Rainbow (Joe Lynn Turner era).
Rick from Belfast, MeA good song....why wasn't the song "Lonely Days, Lonely Nights'" included here?...as the song says..."lonely days, lonely nights, where would I be without my woman?"...a true classic
Tyler from Waterbury, Ct"To Love Somebody" was in the 1971 British film "Melody" (U.S.) "S.W.A.L.K." (UK) starring the famous child actors Mark Lester, Jack Wild, and Tracy Hyde. It was about puppy love between two pre-teens and how they ran away to get married. All songs for this film were by the Bee Gee's except "Teach Your Children" which was by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Other Bee Gee songs in this film were "In the Morning", "Melody Fair", "Give Your Best", and "First of May".
Boomer from Oklahoma City, OkActually, To Love Somebody isn't the song that was intended for Otis Redding, but another Bee Gees song titled End Of My Song (offcially unreleased by the Bee Gees but has been available on bootlegs). Redding was still living when the Bee Gees's own version had been recorded and released as a single in the summer of '67. Redding's death in a plane crash took place in December of that year. To Love Somebody is one Bee Gees song shown as being written by Barry and Robin Gibb, yet some releases of the song by other artists add Maurice's name to the writing credits. The brothers often spoke of the song as being written by all three rather than what's shown on the labels.
P.a. from Paris, FranceThere is also covers by Rod Steward, Leonard Cohen, I saw Damien Rice and Ray Lamontagne perform it live in a French TV show, each one playing on an acoustic guitar: great...
Farrah from Elon, NcHow sad that Otis Redding died before he had the chance to record this fabulous song. He would have been perfect for it.
Robyn from Belmar, NjThe Bee Gees originally wrote this song for Otis Redding but he died in a plane crash before he had a chance to record it.