It’s Only Words

Or is it?

My husband and I have very different takes on music. He pays absolutely no attention to the lyrics. I, on the other hand, am all about the lyrics. It’s the words that draw me into a song. And it’s the message those words form that keep me connected to the song long after it fades away from the mainstream.

As a defenseless romantic, I’m a sucker for melancholy songs. And the song Words by the Brothers Gibb is one of my go-to’s when I’m feeling sad and lonely.

Words is short on words but dynamic in meaning. No surprise. The Bee Gees are legendary musical storytellers.

One of my current projects takes place in the midst of the late 1960s music scene. So it correlates that I chose this song to write about. It was written in 1967.

And when I was a moody tween, I listened to this song over and over again. My parents didn’t get me (of course), so I fantasized that he was singing that song just for me. And, if you check out the YouTube video below, it doesn’t hurt that Barry Gibb was sizzling back in the day. So my hunch is that there are plenty of female Bee Gees fans out there who yearned with the same ache when Words came on the radio.

Words is short on words but dynamic in meaning.. No surprise. The Bee Gees are legendary musical storytellers. Two of them have passed on. But their musical messages continue to resonate.


For this listener, the words in the song create a portrait of what soulmate connection looks like. And not necessarily in the romantic sense. It could just as easily be about magnetic connection between parent and child, sibling and sibling, or between two friends:

Smile, an everlasting smile, a smile can bring you near to me.

Don’t ever let me find you down, ‘cause that would bring a tear to me.

Right now, there’ll be no other time, and I can show you how, my love.

Talk in everlasting words, and dedicate them all to me.

And I will give you all my life,

I’m here if you should call on me.

You think that I don’t even mean, a single word I say.

It’s only words.

And words are all I have

To take your heart away.

copyright Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb

According to Barry Gibb in VH1 Storytellers, it was written for Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood. Barry’s brother Robin said the song was written after an argument he described as “about nothing”—“only words.”

That may be true. But for some of us, those meaningless words pack a powerful punch. Maybe that’s why Words continues to resonate. It’s been covered in the U.S. by everyone from Rita Coolidge, Glen Campbell and Engelbert Humperdinck to Roy Orbison, Shawn Colvin and Elvis. International covers include artists Sweden’s Lill Lindfors, Italy’s Loredana Maiuri and Ireland’s Daniel O’Donnell and Boyzone to England’s Cliff Richard and Cilla Black. Barry Gibb and Dolly Parton revised it in duet this past January. And who can forget Andy Gibb‘s cover?

At any rate, thank you, Brothers Gibb, for your music and the messages it carried.


I’m currently working on a novel. (I know, isn’t every blogger?) Here’s a little bit about it:

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Published by Missy Kavanaugh-Carryer

Missy Kavanaugh-Carryer is a content writer and author of two children's books and a board book series for young children. She's currently working on her first novel.

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