It's hard to believe that there was a time in the '80s when the Bee Gees were snickered at by most of the record buying public. Sure, their wardrobe may have left something to be desired during the height of the Saturday Night Fever craze, but how could you ever deny the extraordinary songwriting talents of the Gibb brothers? It's rare when a band is already known for one particular style of music, does an about face, and gains even further success with a completely different style, but that's exactly what the Bee Gees accomplished, as evidenced by the 19 tracks that comprise the 2001 collection, History. Starting out obviously influenced by the Beatles (albeit in a 'string heavy' sort of way -- "New York Mining Disaster 1941," "Massachusetts," etc.), by the mid-'70s, the Gibb brothers had shifted gears, and in the process, touched off the 'disco movement,' with such hits as "Stayin' Alive," "Jive Talkin'," "Night Fever," and "More Than a Woman." Despite being targeted by many narrow-minded rock fans at the time, these aforementioned dancefloor hits contained just as many hooks as any pop hit at the time, and compared to what dance music eventually became (outside songwriters, overabundance of electronics, etc.), there's simply no comparison. The Bee Gees deserve a second look by many, and this finely assembled overview does nicely.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato