It’s been ages since I’ve done a post like this. My last one was the Lauryn Hill one. I’ve been meaning to do for ages but just never got around to it. Until now, when on Twitter I saw the sad news that Robin Gibb from The Bee Gees had passed away. That’s the second big music loss this week, the first being the passing away of Donna Summer. So since I’m now listening to Bee Gee songs, I felt compelled to write about my memories and experiences.
I can’t remember the first time I ever heard The Bee Gees. My Mum used to have a vinyl of theirs and she recorded some of the songs from it onto a cassette tape (the other side had some Kristy McColl songs). It was one of the staple tapes she had for car journeys (along with Elton John and Jimmy Sommerville!). Because it was recorded from a vinyl, the sound was low and scratchy but I still enjoyed listening to it (most of the time anyway! Sometimes we used to beg to listen to the radio for more modern songs!). Only recently my boyfriend said ‘I didn’t know Massachusetts was a Bee Gees song!’ which shocked me as how could you not know it was one of their songs?!
When we were in the house we used to play the vinyl, often when my older cousins were babysitting and we used to dance around to the upbeat songs (one favourite was You Should Be Dancing). The Bee Gees were still release songs when I was that age, NOW 36 was one of my first CDs and their song Alone was on it.
Even if I hadn’t heard any Bee Gees as a child, I couldn’t help but be surrounded by cover versions as a child and a teenager. One of the first songs I ever remember recording off the radio (ah, those were the days!) was How Deep Is Your Love by Take That. I still love both versions of that song. The of course there was the Boyzone cover of Words (Used to love the video to it!), 911 version of More Than A Woman (I remember listening to late night radio and falling asleep to that!), Steps version of Tragedy (I bought the single and I knew the dance!), Jimmy Sommerville’s version of To Love Somebody, I Started a Joke by The Wallflowers (from the Zoolander soundtrack). There just a handful of covers done out of the Bee Gees back catalogue. All the versions I mentioned were ones that I listened to regularly.
The Bees Gees were more than a band though. They also wrote loads of songs for other people. The ones that are closest to me are Chain Reaction for Diana Ross, for which they sang backing vocals for. Though the Steps cover version was probably how I first came across that song! Emotion by Destiny’s Child was also another one written by them, Islands in The Stream by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and Grease by Frankie Valli. This is my favourite song from Grease, I used to rewind the beginning of the VHS just so I could watch the beginning and listen to it again. And while we’re talking about films (and John Travolta ones at that!), how can you not mention Saturday Night Fever?! A bunch of Bee Gees (among others) rolled into one film with fabulous costumes and awesome dancing! Here’s a link to the iconic opening scene to Stayin’ Alive.
This Christmas gone by my siblings and I bought my aunt a Greatest Hits of Bee Gee songs. Which resulted in us all dancing around the kitchen to the music. And me doing gymnastic routines to Tragedy with the gymnastic ribbon my sister got as a present (best present ever!).
Thanks to Glee, a whole new generation have been introduced to Bee Gee songs. I hope they are inspired to go search out the originals. For more info on cover versions, go here, all of them are listed. I’ve added links to all the songs mentioned above (cover version links are under the name of the artist covering the song, the original versions are linked in the name of the song). There’s no denying that the Bee Gees have left an incredibly legacy and I’m grateful for all the memories they have given me.