Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nobody Gets Too Much Heaven No More.

News headlines are pouring in about the final moments of and hopefully graceful, peaceful death of Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees. He was proceeded in death by his parents, two of his brothers; his twin, Maurice, and his younger brother, Andy. He was 62 years old and battled colon and liver cancer for several years, and rebounded miraculously recently after pneumonia threw him into a coma. The truth of the matter is that God's plan was for him to have just a few more delicate, loving moments with the people he loved--his wife and children, and older brother, Barry. (Photo: Left to Right: Barry, Robin, Maurice.)

Immediately, the interconnection of Donna Summer's death last week in tandem with Gibb's death today generated blanket "Two Disco Legends Die in One Week" in the press. Donna Summer was a disco artist, by genre, and followed that up with some successful R&B singles after disco officially died (much to the average rock fan's delight, though you had legit "rock" bands and singers doing disco: The Stones' "Miss You," KISS' "I Was Made For Lovin' You," and Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" all come to mind.). It's a natural line to draw regarding Summer and disco. With Robin Gibb, though, it's on a much broader spectrum that winds through the strands of 20th and 21st century rock/pop music.

Certainly, it's fair to say that the era of disco and the Bee Gees doing the soundtrack to the box-office frenzied "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack was their greatest success. It opened them up to a new generation of audiences who preferred them as a disco-jiving group. It's passe of me to admit, but I totally dug disco. It's what I grew up with when I was a wee one, as my mom really liked their stuff and had 8-tracks (which she still has) of Bee Gees music. 

The Brothers Gibb set a precedent for all other disco artists with their brilliantly crafted dance music. But the larger point is that the group grew with the culture of their time. Personally, I prefer their earlier hits. I don't *dislike* the disco, but it's not their best work.

Robin had the more melodic, delicate voice of the group. You would always see him onstage with a hand over his ear so he could hear himself sing (later he'd wear special ear monitors) so he wouldn't drop off key. While Barry had probably the best of the falsettos, Robin always had a strong, melodic harmony if he wasn't singing lead. Maurice was the quiet one, who played the piano or keyboards with the band, though he sang sometimes as well, certainly backup.

Steven and I are both more fans of the earlier, pre-disco songs. The Bee Gees were great storytellers through song, with a lot of passion behind each track. Where do I START with clips? Certainly with our favorite, "I Stared a Joke."



and a newer tune, from 1997, "Alone"

Robin, thanks for all the great music. The Bee Gees will NEVER be forgotten. God bless!

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