The song was part of a hit singles string released by the brothers Gibb between 1967 and 1968
In 1967 the Bee Gees climb to the top of the charts with their massive hit “Massachusetts”
Ten years before they were crowned as the Disco kings, the Bee Gees had begun to rise to Pop stardom with their melodic and sometimes Beatlesque songs. In 1967, the brothers Gibb released one of their most popular songs ever and their earliest big hit, “Massachusetts”. The song, which is aka “(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts” and “Massachusetts (The Lights Went Out in)”, was written by the brothers Gibb in a New York City hotel room (reportedly a little bit under the high influence), during a tour of the United States. At the time, they had never actually been to Massachusetts despite singing “it’s one place I have seen”, Robin Gibb, who sang lead vocals in the song, later explained that “We have never been there but we loved the word and there is always something magic about American place names. It only works with British names if you do it as a folk song.”
Intended as an antithesis to flower power anthems of the time such as “Let’s Go to San Francisco” and “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”, the idea expressed in the song lyrics of the lights having gone out in Massachusetts was to suggest that everyone, including the protagonist, had gone to San Francisco and now, and was now feeling homesick. Originally, they wrote the song for The Seekers, but after being unsuccessful in reaching the band, they recorded it themselves. Recorded in London, it was first released as a single in the U.K on 19 September 1967, titled “Massachusetts (The Lights Went Out in)” and backed with “Barker of the UFO”, the subtitle was later dropped when it was released in the U.S on November 1967. Quickly after it’s release, “Massachusetts” became the first of the group’s five No. 1 hits in the UK, where it peaked to the top of the singles chart on October 18, 1967. It also reached No. 1 in twelve other countries, peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of the best selling records of 1967 and eventually went on to become one of the best-selling singles of all time, selling over five million copies worldwide. In 1968 it was included on the Bee Gees album “Horizontal”. “Massachusetts” it’s part of the Bee Gees string of hit singles released between 1967 and 1968 which also included “New York Mining Disaster 1941” and “To Love Somebody” in 1967 and “Words”, “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” and “I Started a Joke” in 1968. In the history of British radio the song also holds a special place, as it was the second record played on BBC Radio 1, the first being “Flowers in the Rain” by The Move.
Watch the Bee Gees performing “Massachusetts” at the German TV Show Beat Club in 1967
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