The Robert Stigwood Orchestra was a studio ensemble assembled by Bee Gees arranger/conductor Bill Shepherd in 1967 for an album of instrumental versions of the Bee Gees' songs. No credits were ever given for the membership in the orchestra, but it's obvious that these are some of the top players in London, and are almost certainly many of the same people who were playing accompaniments on the Bee Gees' recordings of the period. They recorded ten songs composed by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, and Maurice Gibb over a three-day period in December of 1967, which Stigwood chose not to release until eight months later. Shepherd also arranged and conducted a pop-chorus album of songs by the Gibb brothers around that same time, entitled Aurora. All of these albums, along with the Atco Records release Rare, Precious & Beautiful, containing a selection of the Bee Gees' Australian recordings, appeared during the somewhat extended gap in between the group's third album, Idea, and their double-LP set Odessa. And both Shepherd-conducted albums were an obvious effort by Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood to generate wider interest from pop artists, producers, and arrangers -- it was also significant that Stigwood and Shepherd allowed a release that focused on several somewhat lesser-known songs.
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