Too Much Heaven

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"Too Much Heaven"
Toomuchheaven.jpg
Dutch vinyl single
Single by Bee Gees
from the album Spirits Having Flown
B-side"Rest Your Love on Me"
Released24 October 1978 (UK)
21 November 1978 (US, Canada)
FormatVinyl record (7" 45 RPM)
RecordedJuly 1978
Criteria Studios, Miami, Florida
GenreR&B, soul
Length4:58
LabelRSO
Songwriter(s)Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Producer(s)Bee Gees, Albhy Galuten, Karl Richardson
Bee Gees singles chronology
"Night Fever"
(1978)
"Too Much Heaven"
(1978)
"Tragedy"
(1979)

"Too Much Heaven" is a song by the Bee Gees, which was the band's contribution to the "Music for UNICEF" fund. They performed it at the Music for UNICEF Concert on 9 January 1979. The song later found its way to the group's thirteenth original album, Spirits Having Flown. It hit No. 1 in both the United States and Canada. In the United States, the song was the first single out of three from the album to interrupt a song's stay at #1. "Too Much Heaven" knocked "Le Freak" off the top spot for two weeks before returning to #1 again. It also rose to the top three in the United Kingdom. In the US, it would become the fourth of six consecutive No. 1s in a single year, equalling the record set by Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles for the most consecutive No. 1 songs.

Robin Gibb reportedly said on the Bee Gees' interview for Billboard in 2001 that this track was one of his favourite songs of the Bee Gees.[1]

Background and recording[edit]

Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb wrote this track with "Tragedy" in an afternoon off from the making the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie; that same evening, the Gibbs wrote "Shadow Dancing" for Andy Gibb (but that song was later credited to all four Gibbs)[2]

The recording process was the longest of all the tracks on Spirits Having Flown as there are nine layers of three-part harmony, creating 27 voices, though the high falsetto voices are the most pronounced in the final mix:[3]

  • Barry on falsetto lead three times
  • falsetto high harmony three times
  • falsetto low harmony three times
  • Barry on natural voice lead three times
  • high harmony three times
  • low harmony three times
  • Barry, Robin and Maurice together on lead three times
  • high harmony three times
  • low harmony three times[3]

Imbued with their falsetto style, it is also notable for being one of two songs on the album featuring the Chicago horn section (James Pankow, Walt Parazaider and Lee Loughnane); the other track that features the Chicago members is "Search, Find", in return for the brothers' appearance on the Chicago song "Little Miss Lovin'". On its demo version, Barry begins with count-in. This track does have some backing vocals. The demo lacks the full orchestral feel of the final song.

Release[edit]

"Too Much Heaven" was released nine months after "Night Fever". At the time, this had been the longest gap in The Bee Gees' distribution of singles since 1975.[citation needed]

The single "Too Much Heaven" was released in the late autumn of 1978 (it had originally been intended for use in the John Travolta movie Moment By Moment, but was pulled before the film's release reportedly because Barry Gibb thought the movie was awful when he was shown a rough cut),[citation needed] and started a slow ascent up the music charts. In the first week of 1979, preceding the Music for UNICEF Concert, the single first topped the charts in both the United States and Canada. In the United Kingdom, the single peaked at number three late in 1978. A slow ballad that was unlike the previous two singles off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Barry Gibb noted that the group wanted to "move in an R&B direction, still maintaining our lyric power, and our melody power as well."[citation needed] In the summer of 1978, the Gibb brothers announced their latest project at a news conference at the United Nations in New York City. All of the publishing royalties on their next single would go into UNICEF, to celebrate the International Year of the Child, which was designated to be 1979. The song earned over $7 million in publishing royalties. Then-United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim heralded the move as "an outstanding and generous initiative."[citation needed]

The Bee Gees were later invited to the White House, where President Jimmy Carter thanked the group for their donation. At the ceremony, the brothers presented Carter with one of their black satin tour jackets. Carter remarked that he was "not a disco fan" but knew enough about their music because his daughter Amy was a big fan.[citation needed] In later years, the brothers performed the song with only Barry's guitar and keyboards, with all three singing in their normal range. This version was part of a medley the brothers did as part of their 1989 One For All tour, and is also included on the Tales from the Brothers Gibb box set alongside the original version.

"Too Much Heaven" also reached No. 2 in Cash Box charts in six weeks between 30 December 1978 and 3 February 1979 behind Chic's "Le Freak".[4][5]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[27] Platinum 150,000^
France (SNEP)[29] Gold 728,000[28]
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] Gold 500,000
United States (RIAA)[31] Platinum 2,000,000
Total certified sales: 3,150,000

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Nana version[edit]

"Too Much Heaven"
Single by Nana
from the album Father
ReleasedDecember 1, 1997
FormatCD maxi
Recorded1997
GenreHip hop
Length3:56 (single version)
3:59 (album version)
LabelMotor Music
Songwriter(s)Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Producer(s)Bülent Aris, Toni Cottura
Nana singles chronology
"Bible in My Hand"
(1997)
"Too Much Heaven"
(1997)
"Remember the Time"
(1998)

In 1997, Nana covered the hit for his album Father. Compared to the original, this version is increasingly listening to rap passages while retaining much of the original's lyrics. Nana is responsible for the rap, while Van der Toorn sings the lyrics and chorus of the original. In German-speaking countries, this cover version was a full top ten success. In Germany, this version was also awarded with Gold[32].

Music video[edit]

The music video plays both in a sky setting and in a detached house. In a family home, the coexistence of a large family is the focus. In parallel, Nana mimics the song in the sky and beamed to the extended family. In the course of the video, the parents argue in the video, but find themselves together again in the end[33].

Track listing[edit]

CD maxi

  1. Too Much Heaven - 3:56
  2. One Second (Nana feat. Alex Prince) - 5:40
  3. Lonely - 6:09

Charts[edit]

Chart (1997-98) Peak
position
German Singles Chart 2
Austrian Singles Chart 6
Swiss Singles Chart 7[34]

Other cover versions[edit]

  • In 1979, the Cantonese singer Alan Tam covered and released it as 唱一首好歌 ("Sing A Good Song").
  • German boy band US5 released a cover of "Too Much Heaven" in 2007 as a duet with Robin Gibb. "Too Much Heaven" was their first single with new member Vincent.
  • Norwegian pop duo M2M used the chorus from "Too Much Heaven" in the chorus of their own song "Our Song" which appears on their debut album Shades of Purple.[35][36]
  • British soul singer Beverley Knight released a cover version of "Too Much Heaven" in 2009 on her album 100%. Knight's version featured backing vocals at the request of Robin Gibb, as they had previously collaborated on the song live.
  • Nana (darkman), German rapper and DJ used the chorus from "Too Much Heaven" in the song "Too Much Heaven" (1997)
  • Paul McCartney recorded this song in December 2004 in Sussex as a tribute to Maurice Gibb but not released.[37]
  • Rebecca Conklin, an avant garde gypsy funk sound stylist based in Bucharest, performed an electronic rendition at the Romanian Pavilion of the Shanghai World Expo 2010.
  • American gospel recording group Winans Phase 2,[38] released a cover of "Too Much Heaven" on their 2000 album, We Got Next.
  • In 1999, South Korean singer, 조관우 (Joe Kwan Woo) covered the song on his album Special 99 Edition.[39]
  • American R&B singer-songwriter Criss Starr released a cover version of "Too Much Heaven" for his Yours 4Ever CD in 2013.[40]
  • The original Bee Gee's recording was featured in the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Bee Gees: 35 Years of Music". Billboard: 27. 24 March 2001. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Tragedy by Bee Gees". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1978". Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Cashbox Top Singles - 1978". Cashbox. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  5. ^ "Cashbox Top Singles - 1979". Cashbox. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Songs Written by the Gibb Family on the International Charts - Part 3" (PDF). brothersgibb.org. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ a b "Austrian Chart". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Bee Gees - Too Much Heaven". ultratop.be. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Canadian Chart". www.collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 3 February 1979. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. 10 March 1979. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  13. ^ "German Chart" (in German). Charts.de GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Irish Charts". Irish Charts. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  15. ^ "Dutch Chart". Dutch Top 100. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Bee Gees - Too Much Heaven". charts.nz. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. 31 March 1979. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Bee Gees - Too Much Heaven". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Swiss Charts" (in German). Charts.de Swiss Hitparade. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  20. ^ "UK Charts". The Official Charts Company UK. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  21. ^ "Bee Gees Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  22. ^ a b "US Charts". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  23. ^ "Cashbox Top 100". Cashbox Archives. 30 December 1978. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  24. ^ Bac-lac.gc.ca
  25. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1979". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  26. ^ "Cashbox Top 100". Cashbox Archives. 3 February 1979. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  27. ^ "Canadian certifications – Bee Gees – Too Much Heaven". Music Canada. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  28. ^ "Les Singles en Or :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  29. ^ "French certifications – Bee Gees – Too Much Heaven" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 29 March 2012. Select BEE GEES and click OK. 
  30. ^ "British certifications – Bee Gees – Too Much Heaven". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 March 2012. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Too Much Heaven in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  31. ^ "American certifications – Bee Gees – Too Much Heaven". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  32. ^ Musikindustrie.de
  33. ^ Music Video in Youtube.com
  34. ^ hitparade.ch
  35. ^ Paoletta, Michael (11 March 2000). "M2M: Shades of Purple". Billboard: 26.
  36. ^ "M2M chats with fans on AllPop". Canoe.com. 3 April 2000. Archived from the original on 30 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  37. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 2004". Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  38. ^ "Winans Phase 2 - We Got Next CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 2 July 2002. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  39. ^ "조관우 - Special 99 Edition [compilation] (1999)". Maniadb.com. 28 March 2006. Archived from the original on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  40. ^ "CRISS STARR~"Too Much Heaven"". YouTube. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2014.

External links[edit]