To be straightened out this on the, I Started a Joke song by the BeeGees:
Dec. 1968, Idea album, then vince melouney left to elsewhere
dea is the fifth album by the Bee Gees. Released in September 1968, the album sold over a million copies worldwide. The album was issued in both mono and stereo pressings in the UK. The artwork on the Polydor release designed by Wolfgang Heilemann featured a lightbulb with a group photo in its base, while the North American ATCO release designed by Klaus Voormann featured a composite head made from each band member. It was their third internationally released album – the first two albums being released only in the Australian market.
“I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” and “I Started a Joke” were both released as singles in North America. In the UK, Message was only released as a single and “I Started a Joke” was only an album track, though another album track, “Kitty Can“, was featured on the B-side of “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” for buyers who could not afford the album.
Idea, released in September 1968, was the Bee Gees’ third international album. “We were in friction at that point,” says Barry. “We weren’t getting on, and that was it. I think it was a mixture of the group not getting along very well and egos. Ego, I think, is the key word for this group. It’s not unlike any other group in that everybody wants to be the one that gets the attention. Unfortunately, I think that happens a lot. Certainly it happened to us.”
Many of the songs on the album’s second side reflect a yearning for escape (When the Swallows Fly, I’ve Decided to Join the Air Force, Swan Song) while Vince Melouney’s Such a Shame was, by his own admission, about how it was a shame that the group was disintegrating.
The band recorded its previous album Horizontal between July and December 1967. The last song recorded was “Swan Song,” but this was not released until 1968 on Idea. “Words” was released as a single in place of “Swan Song.”
The band started recording Idea on January 1968 after a Christmas holiday in Australia, and few weeks after the Horizontal sessions. The songs recorded were “Chocolate Symphony”, “The Singer Sang His Song“, “Down to Earth”, “I Can Lift a Mountain”, (“Gena’s Theme” was finished in June,) “Jumbo” was released as a non-album single, “Bridges Crossing Rivers”, and “She Is Russia”. The February songs are “In the Summer of His Years” and “I’ve Decided to Join the Air Force”. By March, Barry, Maurice, and Colin participated on the track “By the Light of the Burning Candle” The Marbles, a newly formed band at that time made up of members Graham Bonnet and Trevor Gordon. Between June and July in 1968, they recorded “Kitty Can“, “I.O.I.O.“, “Let There Be Love“, “Stepping Out”, and “No Name”. In June, Robin recorded “The Band Will Meet Mr. Justice”, “The People’s Public Joke”, “Indian Gin and Whisky Dry”, “The Girl to Share Each Day”, “Come Some Halloween or Christmas Day”, “My Love Life Expired”, and “Heaven in My Hand”, a mono tape of seven songs which was credited only to him. In the same month, they recorded “Completely Unoriginal”, “Kilburn Towers“, the Vince Melouney composition “Such a Shame”, “Indian Gin and Whisky Dry”, “When the Swallows Fly”, “Idea”, “Come Some Christmas Eve or Halloween”, “Maypole News”, “Men of Men”, and “I Started a Joke”.
The other songs recorded around 1968 included “Sitting in the Meadow” and “Another Cold and Windy Day,” both recorded for Coca-Cola, “In the Middle of Grass,” “Let Your Heart Out,” and “The Square Cup”. “Everything That Came From Mother Goose” was written by Colin Petersen and Maurice Gibb, and Petersen mentioned this song in an interview in September 1968. In July, “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” was recorded in the same session as “I Laugh in Your Face” (released on Odessa, 1969) following the completion of the album, but was only included on the US version.
Release and reception
This album features “Such a Shame”, the only non-Gibb Bee Gees song, written and co-sung by lead guitarist Vince Melouney. The song was included on the British version of the album but deleted from the American issue, which in turn included their recent hit “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You”, not on the UK LP. When the album was issued on CD in the 1980s, both tracks were included. “I Started a Joke” was not issued as a single in the UK, but it reached No. 6 in America. The UK sleeve had a lightbulb on a dark blue ground. In 2006, Reprise Records reissued Idea (using the European cover) with both stereo and mono mixes on one disc and a bonus disc of unreleased songs, non-album tracks, and alternate mixes. “I Started a Joke” was not released as a single in the UK. After the release of Idea, the band went to Brussels for the TV special Idea in September, and European tour in October and November. After that, Vince left the band saying, “I was just too young, too naive.” His final album with the band was Odessa, which was recorded in August that year.
Allmusic‘s Bruce Eder described “I Started a Joke” as very much of piece with their early work. Eder said that “Kitty Can”, “Indian Gin and Whisky Dry” and “Such a Shame” sounded like the output of a working band with a cohesive group sound, rather than a harmony vocal group with accompaniment.
Track listing (UK)
All songs written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, except “Such a Shame”, written and composed by Vince Melouney.
|1.||“Let There Be Love“||Barry and Robin||3:28|
|2.||“Kitty Can“||Barry and Maurice||2:31|
|3.||“In the Summer of His Years”||Robin||3:05|
|4.||“Indian Gin and Whisky Dry”||Robin||1:55|
|5.||“Down to Earth”||Robin||2:28|
|6.||“Such a Shame”||Vince||2:28|
|1.||“Idea”||Barry and Robin||2:51|
|2.||“When the Swallows Fly“||Barry||2:22|
|3.||“I Have Decided to Join the Airforce”||Barry and Robin||2:06|
|4.||“I Started a Joke“||Robin||3:03|
|Studio album by Bee Gees|
|Recorded||8 January – 12 July 1968
IBC Studios, London
|Genre||Psychedelic rock, psychedelic pop, baroque pop, folk pop|
|Producer||Robert Stigwood, Bee Gees|
|Bee Gees American albums chronology|
|Singles from Idea|
It was released also in September on the Atco label, and was released in stereo. “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” was included on this version instead of “Such a Shame”. Its cover was a composite head by Klaus Voormann, the artist who also did the Bee Gees’ 1st art.
|1.||“Let There Be Love“||Barry and Robin||3:32|
|2.||“Kitty Can“||Barry and Maurice||2:38|
|3.||“In The Summer of His Years”||Robin||3:11|
|4.||“Indian Gin and Whisky Dry”||Robin||2:01|
|5.||“Down to Earth”||Robin||2:38|
|6.||“I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You“||Robin and Barry||2:55|
|1.||“Idea”||Barry and Robin||2:50|
|2.||“When the Swallows Fly“||Barry||2:29|
|3.||“I Have Decided to Join the Airforce”||Barry and Robin||2:11|
|4.||“I Started a Joke“||Robin||3:07|
|[show]2006 reissue (disc one)|
|[show]2006 reissue (disc two)|
- Barry Gibb – lead, harmony and backing vocals, guitar
- Robin Gibb – lead, harmony and backing vocals, organ
- Maurice Gibb – bass guitar, piano, organ, mellotron, harmony and backing vocals
- Vince Melouney – guitar, harmonica, lead vocals on “Such a Shame”
- Colin Petersen – drums
- Additional personnel and production
- Bill Shepherd – orchestral arrangement
- John Pantry – engineer
- Damon Lyon Shaw – engineer
- Klaus Voormann – art cover (US version)
Though this song is considered old in musical reference, it still springs new to the masses who perpetually discover and rediscover the talents of the Bee Gees. Even those of us who have been fans for the span of a generation find new meaning in old lyrics as life carries us into dimensions we have never before explored.
Often seen as a spiritual commentary on Robin’s part, he has never claimed that to be the basis of the piece, as such. Experience draws us all in a diversity of directions, often all at once, and inspiration is the trickle-down of that overload.
I am not one to climb into the great minds of our times and autopsy their brainchild of work but I have an awareness of something woven into the lyric here that I’ve never before seen discussed. The piece encompasses only eight lines of poetic statement, clean and straight-forward in appearance and delivery, yet steeped in the mystery of a thousand ages. This song leaves naked, parts of the soul we tend to keep covered, even from our own deeper selves.
We see in it, our own personal sins of omission that do not look so pretty in black and white and are even more haunting when presented in a package of understated music and single-voiced verse. Although I do see where the spiritual intonation peers through the lyric at us, I see here, too, the personal commentary of an inner moral dilemma being posed by the subject and the step by step process by which he rationalizes his justification for not following his inner personal voice. This person wants desperately to shed his etiquetted skin and stand on the purity of truth rather than cower in civilized silence in the face of injustice.
He theorizes the consequences of such an action on his part. He knows his statement will upset the world that, up to this point, was living comfortably in its own shallow self-deception. Because his view is so different from everyone else, he knows this will upset the sedate tranquility of those around him. In defensive retaliation, rather than re-examining, reforming, and admitting to the error of their ways, society would turn its collective, disdainful back on his statement and proclaim the fundamental truth he has exposed to be merely the folly of a prankster.
He goes on to see that he will not be taken seriously and cries in the frustration of being the only one who has had this vision of truth and reality. He feels alone and small in the cosmos. At this, he knows the world will take great delight in his outward appearance of weakness and defeat and in their arrogance he knows they will unite in crushing declamation and mercilessly taunt him wherever he goes, all the days of his life.
He looks up, seeking heavenly approval and resolve of the issue. He attempts to clear his eyes searching for a sign of the miraculous awakening of those around him. Just as he begins to dry his eyes in the faith that, because of his sincerity of heart, there will surely now be change, he tumbles out of his dream-state into reality. He falls hard from grace back into the moment.
The enormity of the entire situation crashes over him like a tidal wave as he sees the ramifications of what he has started by his simple statement of truth. He is paralyzed in thought and can no longer make sense of his own words as they drown in the whirlpool of confusion between human emotion and soulful truth. He eventually dies a broken man because he knows the truth but never pursued it to the fullest of its intent due to his lack of courage in his own personal convictions. He saw himself as wholly inadequate to challenge what he did not approve of in this world so he never stood up for what he believed in.
After his death, civilization perpetuates itself in its blithe ignorance, unscathed by the voice of truth he held within. He is gone, and with him, the potential threat he posed to a thinly-skinned euphoric society.
In the end, he sees that he had indeed been right and that society was truly wrong. He knows then, all too late, that he would have made a difference if only he had not given in to his own imagined fears.
He wasted a lifetime repressing himself and the truth he had once envisioned. He had become his own worst enemy. He had shackled his own soul down – not the society that he had tried to hold accountable for his lack of action. He ultimately became the very thing he once morally raged against – a silent, self-deceiving member of a pretentious urbane society.
Yes, the joke WAS on him.