The Nation’s Favourite Bee Gees Song

knights in white satin

This was a fairly unimaginatively formatted programme looking at the songs voted the top twenty Bee Gees tracks of all times, but I enjoyed it because I’m a huge fan of Paul Gambaccini. He has a lovely voice and always speaks with such authority, thoughtfulness and wry intelligence, so it was a pleasure to hear him.

“If you’re a female vocalist vocalist with half a brain,” he said, “you’re going to want to have a Bee Gees song.” All the divas have recorded their songs and had massive hits with them. Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Dolly Parton, Dionne Warwick. Even Celine Dion. I’ve always liked men who like women.

Very far from being a ‘manufactured’ boy band, the Maurice, Barry and Robin were brothers who sang together because they wanted to from a very young age. Born in the Isle of Man, they spent a childhood in Manchester before emigrating to Australia. Then the boys returned to Blighty to start their career. They have, in fact, worked their socks off creating the huge catalogue of hits over five decades, and writing some pretty terrific songs on the way.

I think, aside from really enjoying their music and the stories behind them (they had no idea what “jive talkin'” actually meant), what really struck me about this documentary was the powerful, enduring fraternal relationship. It’s why they always sang in perfect harmony. And it’s not been easy. They’ve suffered terrible ‘tragedies’ of their own. The death of the one really handsome Gibb, younger brother, Andy, at the age of thirty. The sudden death of Maurice in 2003.

Now, I know they’ve never really been cool, but I love the Bee Gees. There I said it. I’ve probably danced around the kitchen singing along to their songs more than anyone elses. It’s all too easily mockable, as Clive Anderson realised when he took the piss out of them so much on his 1996 chat show that they walked out. The bouffant hair. The hairy chests. The tight white satin trousers. All very daft and utterly them in a nutshell. Quite literally.

But do you know what? That fame didn’t come easily. And those boys have earned some respect. Shame on you Clive. You’re just jealous of the hair.

Posted by Inkface

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