Tuesday, May 22, 2012

bee gee are eye pee

I was never a particular fan of the Bee Gees, so all I'll say in the aftermath of Robin Gibb's death this week is that it was Robin who sang on most of the hits they had at what I consider to be the more interesting end of their career, the late 1960s, on songs like New York Mining Disaster 1941 and Massachusetts. That first clip segues into To Love Somebody, on which Barry sings - note that he's singing in a pretty normal voice here compared to what I once read described (aptly, I think) as the "monstrous braying falsetto" he sported once he'd taken over lead vocal duties for most of their mid- to late-1970s hits.

It seems that the association with disco eventually became a source of irritation to the Bee Gees, especially when the craze wore off and its demise took their hits and record sales down the toilet with it. In the interviews I saw and read with them over the years (of which the notorious Clive Anderson one was just the most extreme example) they always came across as charmless, humourless (about, among other things, being ripe for parody) and generally bitter about not being taken as seriously as the Lennons & McCartneys they aspired to being ranked with. All of which seems a bit churlish when set against the lavish lifestyle, yachts and top-quality orthodontics that their success afforded them.

Finally, two random observations connected to Diana Ross's 1985 hit single Chain Reaction, which the Bee Gees wrote for her. Firstly that they seemingly re-used the exact same backing track, bar at most the odd chord here and there, for their own 1991 hit Secret Love (try singing Chain Reaction over the top of it - easy, isn't it?); secondly, a close examination of the lyrics to Chain Reaction reveal it to be one of the most sexually explicit songs ever written (or ever to be number 1, anyway). Check this out:
You make me tremble when your hand moves lower
You taste a little then you swallow slower
Nature has a way of yielding treasure
Pleasure made for you, oh


You let me hold you for the first explosion
We get a picture of our love in motion
My arms will cover, my lips will smother you
With no more left to say 
Utter filth.

No comments: