« photobloggies | Main | comicblogging »

maurice gibb

1949 - 2003

beegees3.jpgAs much as I pontificate here about having been a disco-hating punk rocker in the late 70's, I've always had a secret affinity for the Bee Gees.

The fiasco that was Sgt. Pepper not withstanding, the Gibbs, as well as younger brother Andy, formed a background score to the most influential years of my young life. And though Maurice Gibb was the harmonizer and back-up singer, he was the Bee Gees to me.

Growing up, I was surrounded by music. Always the stereo - which back then was a giant piece of wooden furniture with a built in television - or the radio, a huge tuner with spinning dials that seemed to play nothing but doo-wop and the current pop trends. My mother was constantly singing, humming, making us listen to show tunes and standards from the 30's and 40's. I hated her for it then, I thank her for it now.

In 1967, The Bee Gees released their single New York Mining Disaster 1941>. I don't know if that is the exact year that it first made its way onto the wooden stereo system in our house, but I do remember the song's impact on me.

In the event of something happening to me
There is something I would like you all to see
It's just a photograph of someone that I knew

Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones?
Do you know what it's like on the outside?
Don't go talking too loud, you'll cause a landslide, Mr. Jones

The lyrics gave me a funny feeling in my stomach, one that I could not understand when I was younger, but I fully understood later on, when the concepts of death and wistfillness were not so foreign to me. I would be reminded of those feelings later on with David Bowie's Space Oddity (tell my wife I love her very much). I still, to this day, cannot listen to Mining Disaster without getting that same feeling I had when I was a child; that need to hold on to someone.

A few years later, I've Got to Get a Message to You was a hit, and it had that same underlying tone as Mining Disaster. Another main awaiting his death, but wanting to send his love to someone before he died.

I've just got to get a message to you, hold on, hold on.
One more hour and my life will be through, hold on, hold on.

Sure, this particular man was evidently a murderer, but the sorrow evident in the lyrics and singing tone still made me sad for him.

Other Bee Gees songs crept into my youth and carved their little places in my mind. Lonely Days, Lonely Nights, a song that was on the jukebox in the firehouse party room, and I can almost smell the beer and hear the dings and buzzes of the pinball machine that was tucked away in the corner ever time I hear that song.

Perhaps no non-disco song of the Bee Gees ate at my soul more than I Started a Joke. My mother used to insist the lyrics were about Jesus or God. I suppose everyone has a way of putting their own feelings into it when analzying a song; in my young mind the song was about feeling lonely and unwanted, as if you were a big joke that was set upon the world. Either way, it's one of the saddest songs I have ever heard.

Everything changed for the Brothers Gibb in 1975 with the release of Main Course. Nights on Broadway and Jive Talkin' set a course that would take the Bee Gees to new heights - and the top of the disco charts.

I was 16 years old when Saturday Night Fever came out. I loved the movie, but the soundtrack drove me crazy. The song Stayin' Alive is forever etched in my mind not as part of Saturday Night Fever, but as the song Jack and Elaine were dancing to in Airplane! when the bar patron was stabbed in the back and everyone thought he was doing a funky dance.

It was about that time that I stopped listening to music with my mother and barricaded myself in my bedroom instead, headphones on or stereo turned up way too loud, trying to drown out the strains of whatever mom was listening to at the time.

I still love the old Bee Gees. I still get those pangs of melancholy when I hear Mining Disaster or I Started a Joke. And I will still deny that I ever danced to Jive Talkin' while in a drunken frenzy on my eighteenth birthday.

So long, Maurice and thanks for the memories.

TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference maurice gibb:

» How Deep is Your Love... from Big Pink Cookie
I'm so bummed. I had seen the news the other day that Maurice Gibb was in critical condition, but I [Read More]

» How Deep is Your Love... from Big Pink Cookie
I'm so bummed. I had seen the news the other day that Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees was in [Read More]

Comments

That's a great tribute. I loved the Bee Gees too, but I even love the disco stuff!

Two down, two to go!

yeah.. i listened to the BeeGees growning up and i knew how to disco.. i even owned a shirt with ruffles down the front and some tight black pants.

I graduated high school in 1978 and spent a lot of time listening and dancing to the Bee Gees. It was hard not to as their music was everywhere. Plus, it was fun.

Damn...

Thanks Michele. I didn't even know they'd done anything before saturday night fever. Duh. My fave after snf is "how can you mend a broken heart."

Great stuff...
I idolized them, and my cousin is has been mistaken for Maurice Gibb on a number of occasions.

I'll be in the corner, heartbroken, if you need me.

Baby you don't know what it's like,
baby you don't know what it's like,
To love somebody,
to love somebody,
The way I love you............

Oh no! I had been watching the news that he was in critical condition - I didn't know that he had died. Wow. I could babble so much more here, but instead I'll turn it in to a long post on my site.

How deep is your love... is your love ... how deep is your love.... I really need to know... 'cause we're living in a world of fools, breaking us down, when they all should let us be ... we belong to you and me ...

How can one mend a broken heart?
It's just the way I feel about tomorrow-knowing you won't be there by my side-
it's only words, and words are I have to take your heart away...
I'am just the man in the middle- acomplicated man, the only man in the middle...
and be the greatest man, in the world
Blue tomorrow, where in the world, will I be...
and the sun will shine-it shine for you...
when I was small and christmas trees were tall and you don't ask the time of day...but you and I our love will never die...don't ask me why-come first of may
and so on and so forth...the songs are too numerous to mention and tooo long of a list to ever pick out a favorite BeeGees songs...but eternity is forver and that's as long as I have loved guys...
Thanks for being who you are-Be who you are-we were......

this is a very cool web page and i think there should be more of them just like this!!

I too think the "I started a Joke" was Jesus talking. During the 60's when the song was written people were saying 'God is dead'. I think the song is trying to say Jesus was really just an ordinary person who started the joke that he was the Messiah. People believed him and were happy, weeping, etc. But Jesus ended up getting crucified with a crown of thorns on his head for the things he said. I don't think that's what he really thought would happen so his joke backfired. The Gibbs won't say what the song really means. I think because if it truely is Jesus talking it would be like saying Jesus is a joke. it would cause too much of a rukus just like what happened when John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Well, that's my opinion.

I too think the "I started a Joke" was Jesus talking. During the 60's when the song was written people were saying 'God is dead'. I think the song is trying to say Jesus was really just an ordinary person who started the joke that he was the Messiah. People believed him and were happy, weeping, etc. But Jesus ended up getting crucified with a crown of thorns on his head for the things he said. I don't think that's what he really thought would happen so his joke backfired. The Gibbs won't say what the song really means. I think because if it truely is Jesus talking it would be like saying Jesus is a joke. it would cause too much of a rukus just like what happened when John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Well, that's my opinion.

Does anyone know if "I've Just Got To Get A Message To You" was ever used as part of a movie soundtrack?

Thanks...Steve