Monday, May 21, 2012

Thank You, Bee Gees

I went with my mom to see Saturday Night Fever.  That wasn't awkward at all.

Of course, we had no idea what the movie was about.  All we'd seen were the promos with John Travolta dancing.

The Bee Gees are indelibly connected to Saturday Night Fever, and thus, to disco music.  That's not entirely fair.

If you weren't around, listening to the radio, in the mid-to-late nineteen sixties, you would think that the Bee Gees sprang onto the stage in 1977 (dressed all in white, of course), the minute that John Travolta strolled out onto the floor and started.....DAAN-CIN....YEA!

But no.  They began their career in their native Australia, in the early nineteen sixties, but didn't really catch fire until around 1967.

It's always been said that, for duos (or in this case, trios), you can't match the sound of family harmony.  The Everly Brothers are one famous example.  That family sound can only be matched by you singing with yourself, and of course, you can only accomplish that in the studio.  It's difficult to take the You & You duet out on the road. 

Thus, the Bee Gees created a beautiful sound.

Here are some of their earlier (pre-SNF) hits:

 How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

To Love Somebody

Massachusetts (one of my favorites)

 Words (good grief ~ when I saw this, I thought it was Andy!)

I've Gotta Get a Message to You

I'm not sure if this next song was done as a joke on country music or not, but even if it was, I still like it!

Don't Forget to Remember Me

 Lonely Days

The sea change began around 1975.  Yes, before Saturday Night Fever.  The Bee Gees' sound began to evolve.

Take a look:

Jive Talkin'

I've always found the word "jive" amusing.  I can't help but think of this:

 Nights on Broadway

Again, sorry, but I am now reminded of this:

And here we go!  A little night fever!

 You Should Be Dancin'

I think this next song is beautiful:

How Deep Is Your Love

Sorry, this was the best video I could find of:

More Than a Woman

 Too Much Heaven (I like this)

Oh, look.  Who's that walking down the sidewalk?

For better or worse, the Bee Gees will always be remembered most of all for this next song.  And you know, it's been parodied, and it's been pilloried, but it's a catchy song!  I'm not a big falsetto fan, but it worked.

Think about the singles that will be pulled out of a time capsule in the year 2077; the songs that exemplified the past 100 years of popular music and popular culture (of course, no one would actually have a turntable, so they'd just look at the discs quizzically and scratch their heads.  And then someone would say, "Oh, I know!  I heard that people used to throw these things to each other, and to their dogs!  It was some kind of sport, I guess!  Or am I thinking of something else?")

This single would be there; no question:

Stayin' Alive

It's the end of an era, really.  I know that cliche has been used a million times, but if you look back at the career in pop music that the Bee Gees had, from the mid-1960's through, well, the 1990's, that's thirty years of  hits, and thirty years of being embedded in our consciousness.

That's a hell of a thing.

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