Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

To Love Somebody (song)

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B-side  "Close Another Door
Format  7", 45rpm
Length  3:02
Released  June 1967
Recorded  April 1967
Label  Polydor (United Kingdom) Atco (United States) Spin (Australia)

"To Love Somebody" is a song written by Barry and Robin Gibb. Produced by Robert Stigwood, it was the second single released by the Bee Gees from their international debut album, Bee Gees 1st, in 1967. The single reached No.17 in the United States and No.41 in the United Kingdom. The song's B-side was "Close Another Door". The single was reissued in 1980 on RSO Records with "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" as its flipside. The song ranked at number 94 on NME magazine's "100 Best Tracks of the Sixties". It was a minor hit in the UK and France. It reached the top 20 in the US. It reached the top 10 in Canada.


The song has been recorded by many other artists, including Nina Simone and Michael Bolton.

Origins and lyrics

At the request of Robert Stigwood, the band's manager, Barry and Robin Gibb wrote "To Love Somebody", a soulful ballad in the style of Sam & Dave or The Rascals, for Otis Redding. Redding came to see Barry at the Plaza in New York City one night. Robin claimed that "[Otis Redding] said he loved our material and would Barry write him a song".

The Bee Gees recorded "To Love Somebody" at IBC Studios, London in March 1967 and released it as a single in mid-July 1967 in the US. Redding died in an aeroplane crash later that year, before having a chance to record the song. The song was recorded around April 1967 with "Gilbert Green" and "End of My Song" at the IBC Studios in London, England.

Robin said, "Everyone told us what a great record they thought it was, Other groups all raved about it but for some reason people in Britain just did not seem to like it". Barry said "I think the reason it didn't do well here was because it's a soul number, Americans loved it, but it just wasn't right for this country".

Barry Gibb explained in a June 2001 interview with Mojo magazine:

It was for Robert. I say that unabashedly. He asked me to write a song for him, personally. It was written in New York and played to Otis but, personally, it was for Robert. He meant a great deal to me. I don't think it was a homosexual affection but a tremendous admiration for this man's abilities and gifts.

The simple title refrain of the chorus, "You don't know what it's like, Baby, you don't know what it's like, To love somebody...the way I love you" has the effect of being at once heartbreaking and triumphant, a self-pitying put-down to an unrequited love. "There's... a certain kind of light that never shone on me... You ain't got to be so blind, I'm a man, can't you see what I am?, I live and breathe for you, But what good does that do, If I ain't got you?".


  • Barry Gibb – lead vocal, rhythm guitar
  • Robin Gibb – harmony vocal, organ
  • Maurice Gibb – bass guitar, piano, rhythm guitar, organ, harpsichord, Mellotron
  • Vince Melouney – rhythm guitar
  • Colin Petersen – drums
  • Bill Shepherd – orchestral arrangement
  • Cover versions

    One of the most famous Gibb compositions, "To Love Somebody" has been covered by many artists. Some of the most notable versions include:

  • 1968: The Sweet Inspirations recorded the song, which reached #30 on the R&B charts.
  • 1969: James Carr released this song as a single and reached #44 on the R&B Charts.
  • 1969: Nina Simone covered "To Love Somebody" released on the album of the same name, and reached #5 in UK, became her second British hit single after "Ain't Got No-I Got Life".
  • 1969: Janis Joplin covered "To Love Somebody" released on her album titled "I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!" She performed the song on the Dick Cavitt show and also at Woodstock.
  • 1977: Narvel Felts released the song, reaching #22 on the Hot Country Singles chart.
  • 1989: Billy "Crash" Craddock from Back on Track; peaked at number 91 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada
  • 1992: Michael Bolton released it as a single as well as including it on the album Timeless: The Classics and his version reached #11 on the US Hot 100 Chart.
  • 2013: Michael Bublé covered this song for his eighth studio album To Be Loved, the album's fifth single.
  • Movie appearances

    "To Love Somebody" has been used in several movies including I Love You Phillip Morris, Y Tu Mamá También, Melody, The Wrong Man, My Entire Life and 50/50. Also this song has been used in a trailer for Joy (2015).


    To Love Somebody (song) Wikipedia