November 6, 2009 – 12:51 pm

Recently we received a lossless version of this lost album. It came with a photocopy of the box where the master reel was kept. Amazing quality.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork. This artwork is modified from a Made-in-Malaysia boot.

A Kick In The Head Is Worth Eight In The Pants (UPGRADE)

Studio recordings made at IBC Sound Recording Studios, Portland Place, London in February 1973.

Many Bee Gees fans will probably fall into two categories - fans of the “early” Bee Gees will clamour for songs such as Words, New York Mining Disaster 1941, Massachusetts, I Started A Joke, First Of May and I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You. Then there are those who prefer the Bee Gees of Saturday Night Fever and the disco and post-disco era. But in the early ’70s, Bee Gees fans had a tough choice to make. Melody Fair was a big hit and so was Run To Me from To Whom It May Concern (1972). The following year, the group released Life In A Tin Can. At the same time, their contemporaries were offering loud, opinionated and passionate rock. Life In A Tin Can was an unfortunate album title.

Depending on who you read, the next album, now commonly known as A Kick In The Head Is Worth Eight In The Pants (1973), was said “to be rejected by their record company as ‘not good enough’.” As reported on the internet, according to Ahmet Ertegun and others remembering in 2000, the album was probably withheld by Robert Stigwood, based on poor sales of Life In A Tin Can and the Wouldn’t I Be Someone single. No matter what, the new album was never released. The brothers Gibb have since dismissed this as a weak album.

But two tracks stand out. Both seemed out of sorts for a Bee Gees album, like a “kick in the head” - Jesus In Heaven and Dear Mr Kissinger. Both offered social commentary with the Kissinger song voicing concern over the Vietnam War. He was, of course, the US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Other songs had an element of soul-searching in a ballad form. The boys never made this lapse again, cementing their songwriting permanently on love songs for the next decades. Of the other songs that were recorded, King And Country and Elisa eventually found their way into the Tales From The Brothers Gibb boxset released in 1990. A different version of It Doesn’t Matter Much To Me can be found on the Tales boxset. The Jesus song and Dear Mr Kissinger have since remained locked in the vault.

Many fans feel that it was the rejection of this album that led the Bee Gees to a rethink and a new musical path that was more R&B based that culminated in Saturday Night Fever. It was also probably the last album where Barry Gibb wasn’t as nasal as he would later become, starting from Mr Natural (1974). When Maurice Gibb died, he didn’t strike a worldwide sense of loss that John Lennon’s death summoned. The sentiments of Saturday Night Fever are very far from Imagine. - Stephen Tan

Below is the tracklist according to what was written on the box of the master reel.

And a big thank you to Philip Cohen for his generosity, feedback and comments.

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are very high quality MP3s - sample rate of 320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, with the exception of three tracks, the rest have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Side A
1. Elisa (2:49m) - omitted
2. Wouldn’t I Be Someone (5:40m) - omitted
Track 03. A Lonely Violin (3:14m) (7.3MB)
Track 04. Losers And Lovers (3:16m) (7.5MB)
Track 05. Home Again Rivers (3:16m) (7.4MB)
Track 06. Dear Mr Kissinger (4:07m) (9.4MB)
Track 07. Jesus In Heaven (3:25m) (7.8MB)

Side B
Track 08. Harry’s Gate (3:31m) (8.0MB)
Track 09. Rocky L.A. (3:54m) (8.9MB)
Track 10. Castle In The Air (3:45m) (8.5MB)
Track 11. Where Is Your Sister (3:11m) (7.2MB)
Track 12. It Doesn’t Matter Much To Me (4:32m) (10.3MB)
13. King And Country (5:20m) - omitted
Track 14. (Life) Am I Wasting My Time (3:02m) (6.9MB)

The Brothers Gibb have just released The Ultimate Bee Gees (2CDs, 1DVD). Buy it here.

  1. 11 Responses to “UPGRADE”

  2. Though the recordings were assembled onto reels at IBC Studios in London, the recording sessions were at The Record Plant in Los Angeles. These recordings were made simultaneous with the recordings on “Life in a Tin Can”, and can be considered to be the “Life in a Tin Can” outtakes. Because “Life in a Tin Can” was the group’s least popular album up to that point(a flop album and no hit single), it was understandable that Atlantic Records(the then- U.S.A. distributor of R.S.O. Records) would not be eager to release more recordings from these same sessions, especially after the single they released as a preview of the forthcoming album( “Wouldn’t I Be Someone” and “Elisa”) was not a hit. Atlantic wanted a change of musical direction. The Bee Gees’ friend(and fellow R.S.O. recording artist) Eric Clapton suggested that the group record at Criteria Studios in Miami, where the group collaborated with arranger/producer Arif Mardin. The result was the album “Mr.Natural”. While not a huge hit, it got some airplay, and was clearly a step in the right direction, especially the disco-flavored “Down The Road”, which hinted at their upcoming musical comeback.

    By Philip Cohen on Nov 6, 2009

  3. A glorious collection of lovely songs. I have an earlier “KickInTheHead” recording. What are the specifics of this “UPGRADE”? Thank you, Mr. Cohen & Big-O.

    By Timmy on Nov 6, 2009

  4. The “Upgrade” is improved sound quality. By the way, the omitted songs were released on the Polydor 4-CD set “Tales From The Brothers Gibb”.

    By Philip Cohen on Nov 7, 2009

  5. Thanks again, dear BigO … and again thanks to Philip Cohen. Seems I’ll remember your name, Philip — very friendly of you to do such favours to the community of music lovers.

    By Tom on Nov 7, 2009

  6. Oh, yeah, I can hear the improved sound quality. From the opening notes of the piano, on “Lonely Violin” I’m aware of the fact that I must replace all my older files with these. Thanx again!

    By Timmy on Nov 7, 2009

  7. To Tom,
    You’ll be hearing more stuff from my collection(by other artists) next month.

    By Philip Cohen on Nov 11, 2009

  8. Hi, thanks so much for the mp3s; nice to have the songs in such good quality. Many Bee Gee fans consider these songs as much better than Life and can’t figure out why one was released and the other shelved. Thanks, Phillip, for your thoughts and contributions. Just a couple of additions. Mr. Natural was produced by Arif Mardin and done in England, I believe, but definatley not Miami. The next album, Main Course, was again produced by Mr. Mardin but was the first of their albums done in Miami. Thereafter, all of their albums were written and recorded in Miami, either in Criteria Studios or, starting with Living Eyes, in their own studio, Middle Ears. Ironically, the Fever songs were the exception, having been written and, I believe, mainly recorded in France, of all places (tax reasons).

    By Yasmine Ali on Jul 22, 2010

  9. Phil….you are THE MAN!!!!!

    By Todd Meehan on Sep 7, 2011

  10. looking forward to hearing these upgraded. thank you.

    By milo on Sep 11, 2011

  11. Phil, wow! Thanks…I’ve had this is so many poor quality versions and was so happy to find this! Castles In Air and Dear Mr. Kissinger didn’t download but the rest are spectacular in comparison. Thanks

    By Lorin on Aug 28, 2012

  12. Great to hear the songs in great quality, Was Lucky enough to get the Songs in The late 1980s And Still Think the Songs are great even though Atlantic thought they were to Political, so therefore they didnt want to release the songs in 1973.

    By Fred.Kaarls on Dec 11, 2012

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