For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. – Matthew 12:37
Smile an everlasting smile
A smile could bring you near to me
Don’t ever let me find you gone
‘Cause that would bring a tear to me
You know the feeling, right? It’s intense. And things like a glance or smile, or even just the smell on the shirt or jacket he/she left at your place can stir your heart mightily. Little things, but they can mean so much.
This world has lost it’s glory
Let’s start a brand new story
Now my love, right now there’ll be
No other time and I can show you
how, my love
You feel like you’re living in a world of your own, just the two of you. Others pass by, darting in and out, occasionally interrupting but only superficially. You pay them no mind.
Talk in everlasting words
And dedicate them all to me
And I will give you all my life
I’m here if you should call to me
And then one day, IT happens. No, not that…it’s those words you just said. Hanging out there in the air. You can almost see them, as if captured in one of those comic strip “speech bubbles”, with the arrow coming out of your mouth. You’re frozen, unable to move or speak further.
Sometimes this can be a good thing, but more than often than not our mouths can get us in a lot of trouble. Sometimes a few carelessly spoken words hurt the ones we love more than anything else we can do. And once spoken, we can never get them back.
The Bible is full of warnings regarding the evils of the tongue and all the havoc it can wreak in our lives. To the point of our own condemnation. In the Book of James, it says that no human can tame the tongue and that it’s filled with evil. It cautions even those most pious, that to live with an unbridled tongue is to make their religion worthless.
It’s amazing how this tongue our Lord has blessed us with, can be such a force for good and happiness, yet can just as easily become a vessel of evil and heartache. Even so, many of us give very little thought to the impact that our words can have on others.
You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
It’s only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away
If the Beach Boys are America’s original “brother” band, then certainly the Bee Gees (the Brothers Gibb) are the U.K.’s (though some might argue they were Australian).
The Bee Gees had two very distinct periods of success: from 1967-1975 (pre-disco) and from 1975-forward (post-disco). Their 1975 single “Jive Talkin'” was definitely the turning point, if you ask me. Even though their success after the release of 1977’s Saturday Night Fever was far greater than their earlier works – SNF alone sold over 15 million albums – I’ve always thought their pre-disco period material was superior. (That being said, I must admit “How Deep Is Your Love” is a favorite of mine and will always hold special meaning for me.)
“Words” was released in 1968 and charted at #15 here in the U.S and at #9 in the U.K. Interestingly, most all of their pre-disco songs featured Robin’s clear vibrato on lead vocals and most of the post-disco songs had Barry’s soul-infused falsetto, but “Words” was the exception. Barry took the lead on “Words” and it was also the first time one of the brothers solo-ed on one of their songs.
“Words” always stood out to me – it had that familiar Bee Gees sound, but was missing the harmony vocals. And with that unique “compressed” piano (sounded like 10 pianos playing at once), it had a spare, lonely, haunting sound that definitely stood out among the other songs swirling Top 40 radio at that time.
Barry actually wrote the song after the brothers had a few too many arguments in the studio, and to point out how hurtful some of the things the brothers had said to one another were. I guess you could say it was kind of an inter-group “make-up” song.
A few interesting notes about the song include:
- Like a lot of their songs, they wrote it for someone else; in this case Cliff Richards. He never got around to recording it, so they did.
- Elvis Presley chose to perform it in many of his early 70’s concerts.
- The song was not on one of their albums; it was written for a movie soundtrack, The Mini Affair.
- It reached #1 on the charts in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands and China.
The Bee Gees went on to sell over 220 million records worldwide, making them one of the best selling acts of all time. The Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 and their citation says “Only Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees.”
When my son, Trey, was about 13, he and I were traveling on a camping trip and I had the Bee Gees live masterpiece, One Night Only, playing in the car. After listening quietly to a few songs (with Barry on lead vocals), Trey turned to me and asked “Dad, why does he sing like that?”. I looked at him and said, “Son, because he can!”.
Listen to the original studio version here:
Listen to Barry and the Bee Gees live on Ed Sullivan 1968 here:
Almost 30 years later in Las Vegas:
Sources for this article include: