Bee Gees!

Hello again, and welcome to another edition of 羽曳野古市英会話の英国音楽!

You don’t have to be a disco fan or a child of the Seventies to enjoy the Bee Gees, but you just may become one within a few minutes of listening to them!

“Staying Alive”

Something funny happened the other day. I stepped into a fashion shop in Osaka. I had been looking for a specific garment all afternoon without much success, and I had been subjected to a lot of obnoxious music in the process (well, by “obnoxious music,” I suppose I mean music that disagrees with my snobbish disposition…). Here, my ears relaxed instantly. My soul was mysteriously appeased. The caressing voice of a female singer was singing the Bee Gees’ mega hit “Staying Alive.” I didn’t care much for the cover itself. What struck me is how good the song itself was! I have always enjoyed the Bee Gees’ songs whenever I have chanced upon them. I contend that it is in fact physiologically impossible to dislike them. But I had never truly, mindfully, consciously paid attention.

The Bee Gees ruled the world.

I went home and played the original track. Then I played another song and another. I played all of their songs that are available on YouTube first, then their entire catalogue on Spotifyーtheir music is highly addictive, and I have a propensity to binge… But seriously, the Bee Gees have left us a tremendous body of work, and I am still to hear a bad song in their catalogue. They have had so many hits you just can’t keep count. Then there are the songs you didn’t know had been written by the Bee Gees (Diana Ross’ “Chain Reaction”, Tina Turner’s “I Will Be There”, Barbra Streisand’s “Guilty” and “Woman in Love”, Dionne Warwick’s “Heartbreaker” and “All the Love in the World”, Celine Dion’s “Immortality”, Destiny’s Child’s “Emotion”, Status Quo’s “Spicks and Specks”, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ “Islands in the Stream”, and Olivia Newton-John’s “Come On Over”). There was a point in the history of the 20th century when the Bee Gees simply ruled the world.

Everyone needs warmth.

The hairdos, the tight flashy disco clothes, the exposed hairy chests do not even disturb me as they should, neither does some of the production done in the Eighties with its sometimes soft, dated and tacky instrumentation (some Eighties music already sounded dated and tacky to me back in the Eighties, but that’s a different story…). Nothing disturbs me because the songs are so good, so perfect, so smoothly and slickly interpreted. When you witness masters at the top of their field, it doesn’t matter whether you are personally interested in their particular style, you just applaud with awe because mastery transcends style. With the Bee Gees, you are in awe, but you also feel all warm inside. A French politician once put it like this when asked if he liked the Italian singer Dalida: “Yes, I loved Dalida. Everyone needs warmth.”

So I proclaim it to the world, I love the Bee Gees. Everyone needs warmth. And disco.

PS: And I did find the garment I was looking for in that same shop…

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