Spicks and Specks (song)

Released September 1966 (Australia)
February 1967 (United Kingdom)

Format 7″, 45 rpm
Recorded July 1966
Length 2:52

“Spicks and Specks” is a song by the Bee Gees, written by Barry Gibb. When the song was released in September, 1966, the single reached No. 4 on the Go-Set Australian National Top 40, (No.1 on other Australian charts) and when the song was released in other countries in February, 1967, it reached No. 28 in Germany, No. 2 in The Netherlands and No. 1 in New Zealand.

“Spicks and Specks” is dated to early July by the memory of Geoff Grant (Geoffrey Streeter) who played the trumpet. Grant recalls working three nights in a row on four songs including this track, “I Am the World”, “All by Myself”, and “The Storm”. There were no charts; Barry sang what he wanted live, and Grant copied it. Some of the artists whose disks came out in August recall hearing “Spicks and Specks” being worked on or completed, further confirming that early July is the approximate date of the song’s recording. “Spicks and Specks” was a ballad around a strong piano beat, Barry writing off a riff by Maurice in a way that would later get a joint writer credit.

The 1967 cover of the single features four-piece Bee Gees including the brothers with the band’s new member, Colin Petersen.

The single entered the Sydney charts at the end of September and stayed in the top forty for nineteen weeks, peaking at number 3. It appeared on the Go-Set National Top 40 for sixteen weeks, where it reached number 4 early in November. By the middle of October the Bee Gees were dead set on returning to England. It did finally convince their producer, Nat Kipner, and Festival to release an LP, and it must have helped convince Polydor (England) to sign the group.This was their first single released in England. An instrumental version of the song is part of the soundtrack for Melody, which also featured several other Bee Gees songs.

In 1966, they performed it on Australian television with Barry singing and Robin and Maurice behind to share backup vocals. On that show, Maurice is playing a guitar and also wears shades. In 1971, they performed in Festival Hall at Melbourne, Australia, and filmed in a black and white version in July with Maurice on piano. In 1974, they also performed in Melbourne from their Mr. Natural tour. In 1989, they also performed in Melbourne from their One for All Tour, and instead of Barry holding his microphone while singing the song, he played his guitar for the first time on the song, singing the song with Maurice on piano. In 1998–1999, they performed this song on the One Night Only tour in Australian shows only.


Barry Gibb – lead and backing vocal
Maurice Gibb – piano, bass, electric guitar
Russell Barnsley – drums
Geoff Grant – trumpet
Steve Kipner – backing vocal
Robin Gibb – backing vocal
Nat Kipner – producer