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Too Much Heaven

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"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. In the United States and Canada, it became the latest in a long line of chart-toppers, and rose to the top three in the United Kingdom, as well.

Imbued with their falsetto style, it is also notable for being one of two songs on the album featuring the Chicago horn section they are James PankowWalt Parazaider andLee Loughnane the other track with the Chicago members being "Search, Find". 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 All for One Australian concert, and is also included on theTales from the Brothers Gibb box set alongside the original version.

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Recording

Recording[edit]Edit

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:

  • 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[citation needed]

The horn section from the band Chicago play on the song, 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]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]

Charts and certifications[edit]Edit

Charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1978/1979) Peak

position

Australia (Kent Music Report) 5
Canada Top Singles (RPM) 1
Germany

Media Control Charts

10
Ireland (IRMA) 2
Italy (Musica e Dischi) 1
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 3
US BillboardHot 100 1
Swiss Singles Chart 1
Spain AFYVE 1
South Africa Singles Chart 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 13
Argentina Singles Chart 1
Brazilian Singles Chart 1
Chile Singles Chart 1
Chinese Singles Chart 5
Finland Singles Chart 4
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 2
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 1
France (SNEP) 2
Norway (VG-lista) 1

Sales and certifications[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[2] Platinum 150,000^
France (SNEP)[3] Gold 728,000[4]
United Kingdom (BPI)[5] Gold 500,000^
United States (RIAA)[6] Platinum 2,000,000^
Total certified sales: 3,150,000

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Cover versions[edit]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" - "Nobody gets too much heaven no more / It's much harder to come by/ I'm waiting in line / Nobody gets too much love any more / It's as high as a mountain / And harder to climb". The song can be found on their debut album Shades of Purple.
  • 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 2004 as a tribute to Maurice Gibb for his album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard but not released.
  • 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,[7] 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.[8]
  • The Minneapolis based singer-songwriter Criss Starr, released a cover version of "Too Much Heaven" for his Yours 4Ever CD in 2013.

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