|Studio album by|
|Released||June 1975 (US) |
August 1975 (UK)
|Recorded||6 January – 21 February 1975 |
Criteria Studios, Miami, Florida and Atlantic Studios, New York City
|Genre||Pop rock, funk, R&B|
|Bee Gees chronology|
|Singles from Main Course|
Main Course, released in 1975 for the RSO label, is the 13th album by the Bee Gees, and their last album to be released by Atlantic Records in the US under its distribution deal with Robert Stigwood. This album marked a great change for the Bee Gees as it was their first album to include mostly funk-influenced songs. It created the model for their output through the rest of the 1970s. It was the group's thirteenth album (eleventh worldwide). Main Course was the first album to feature keyboardist Blue Weaver. The album cover with the band's new logo designed by US artist Drew Struzan made its first appearance here.
Working with Atlantic producer Arif Mardin, who had also produced their previous album, Mr. Natural, and engineer Karl Richardson at Criteria Studios in Miami, their music became much more influenced by Funk sound over a base of R&B style being produced in Miami at the time. Main Course also featured the first prominent use of Barry Gibb's falsetto. From Mr. Natural, the brothers retained new drummer Dennis Bryon and longtime lead guitarist Alan Kendall but added a new keyboard player in the form of Bryon's former Amen Corner colleague Blue Weaver who would become one of only a small handful of non-Gibb musicians to receive composition credits on Bee Gees songs. At the suggestion of Eric Clapton, the Bee Gees moved to Criteria Studios in Miami, to start recording their next album. Barry recalled Clapton's suggestion when he was trying to make a comeback: "Eric said, 'I've just made an album called 461 Ocean Boulevard in Miami. Why don't you guys go to America and do the same and maybe the change of environment will do something for you?' I think it was really good advice." 
Maurice Gibb, on the other hand, cites their manager Robert Stigwood as the first to suggest Miami as the best place to record new songs. "He [Robert] showed us the picture on the cover [of 461 Ocean Boulevard] and said, 'You can rent that place and live there and record and get a sun tan.' We decided that it was our big chance to get serious about our music again so we went out there and did Main Course."
According to producer Arif Mardin, when the Bee Gees arrived in Florida, they started to record new material and some of the numbers were still in their old ballad style, and the Bee Gees at that time were listening to a lot of American R&B groups' songs as Mardin is a R&B producer. Mardin also suggested they listen to current R&B artists including Stevie Wonder.
The sound became more technological with the use of synthesizers and dual bass lines (synthesizer bass by Blue Weaver and bass guitar by Maurice Gibb) on many of the songs, which came about after Weaver overdubbed a synthesizer bass line on the original demo of "Jive Talkin'." Weaver later commented that "nothing new has been invented to make such a tremendous difference to the sound as the synthesizer did, compared to an orchestra."
At first, the brothers were still writing in their old ways, with many of the songs being slower ballads. The first song recorded for the album was an unreleased track "Was It All in Vain?". The next songs recorded were "Country Lanes" and "Wind of Change". After Robert Stigwood heard these songs, he urged them to record in a more R&B style and "Wind of Change" was re-recorded again in February in its more familiar version. Another unreleased track, "Your Love Will Save the World" was recorded on 9 January, though it was later recorded by Percy Sledge. Once the Gibb brothers changed their style of writing, songs like "Jive Talkin'", "Nights on Broadway" and "Edge of the Universe" were recorded with an R&B influence, though ballads like "Songbird" and "Come on Over" were more country than R&B. The final song recorded for the album was "Baby As You Turn Away" which featured Barry singing the verses in falsetto, though not the strong falsetto which he would develop and use on future songs like "You Should Be Dancing" and "Stayin' Alive".
|Christgau's Record Guide||B+|
The album peaked at No. 14 on the US Billboard album chart in 1975 and remained on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart for 74 weeks until December 1976 on the strength of its three singles that charted on Billboard's single chart: "Fanny (Be Tender with My Love)" at No. 12, "Nights on Broadway" at No. 7, and "Jive Talkin'" at No. 1. A live version of a fourth song, "Edge of the Universe" from the album Here at Last... Bee Gees... Live, reached No. 26. "Come on Over" later became a moderate hit (#23) in a cover version by country/pop artist Olivia Newton-John. The album also peaked No. 1 at the Canada's RPM Albums Chart.
|1.||"Nights on Broadway"||Barry, Robin and Maurice||4:36|
|3.||"Wind of Change"||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb||Barry and Robin||5:01|
|4.||"Songbird"||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Blue Weaver||Barry, Robin and Maurice||3:35|
|5.||"Fanny (Be Tender with My Love)"||Barry, Robin and Maurice||4:06|
|1.||"All This Making Love"||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb||Barry and Robin||3:03|
|2.||"Country Lanes"||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb||Robin (with Barry)||3:31|
|3.||"Come on Over"||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb||Robin and Barry||3:27|
|4.||"Edge of the Universe"||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb||Barry and Robin||5:25|
|5.||"Baby As You Turn Away"||Barry and Maurice||4:29|
- Barry Gibb - vocals, rhythm guitar
- Robin Gibb - vocals
- Maurice Gibb - bass, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals
Bee Gees band
- Joe Farrell - tenor saxophone
- Don Brooks - harmonica
- Ray Barretto - congas
- Strings conducted by Gene Orloff
- Produced and arranged by Arif Mardin
- Engineered by Karl Richardson and Lew Hahn
Certifications and sales
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
- Hughes, Andrew. The Bee Gees - Tales of the Brothers Gibb. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- Joseph Brennan. "Gibb Songs: 1975".
- Allmusic review
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: B". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
- Rolling Stone review
- Kent, David. Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 24, No. 18". RPM. 24 January 1976. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- "charts.nz Bee Gees – Main Course" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
- "Allmusic: Main Course : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- "Album Search: Bee Gees – Main Course" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "RPM Top Albums/CDs – Volume 24, No. 14, Top 100 Albums of 1975". RPM. 27 December 1975. Archived from the original on 24 July 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "RPM Top Albums/CDs – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, Top 100 Albums of 1976". RPM. 8 January 1977. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "Top Pop Albums of 1976". billboard.biz. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- "Canadian album certifications – Bee Gees – Main Course". Music Canada.
- "American album certifications – Bee Gees – Main Course". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.