Rhino Factoids: The Bee Gees Meet Ed Sullivan
48 years ago today, the Bee Gees made their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, an occasion which particularly thrilled them because there’d been talk that it was going to happen about three years earlier than it actually did.
On July 31, 1964, a newspaper in Sydney, Australia ran a small news item about how the Bee Gees were planning a trip to America in January 1965, one ostensibly tied to an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. That appearance, however, never came to pass, and it would be the better part of four years before the group finally set foot on Sullivan’s stage for the first time.
On March 17, 1968, the Bee Gees performed “Words” and “To Love Somebody” on The Ed Sullivan Show, and although their visit to America wasn’t a lengthy one on this particular occasion, it was a valuable one. “Promotion is all important,” Barry Gibb said at the time. “Not in the matter of gimmicks and stunts, but in doing the right work at the right time. You have to have a basic talent and also the right promotion. We do what we think boosts our career – avoid that danger of sitting back and saying, ‘Right, we’re number one, so there’s nothing more we can do.”
But the truth of the matter is that they were doing plenty. Vince Melouney was the guitarist for the Bee Gees as they were experiencing their first huge burst of worldwide fame, and in a 2013 interview with The Big Takeover, he indicated how startling it was for the whole bunch of Bee Gees.
“It came upon us too fast,” said Melouney. “Before we knew it, we were flying first class, doing The Ed Sullivan Show in New York, staying in very expensive, flash hotels. Coming from Australia only a few months earlier, which at that time, was at the end of the earth, we were like kids in a lolly shop.”
Well, one thing’s for sure: finding that kind of success that quickly sure was sweet.