Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees died yesterday, 5 weeks following reports of his impending death. I’ve got a horrible knack for occasionally posting inappropriate-if-deeply-personal obituaries, but Robin Gibb’s death saddens me to an appropriate level. The Bee Gees, in my book, were among the Good Guys of Music. I know nothing about who they really were, how they treated the Little People, etc, but their love for music seemed to guide all their weird turns as artists. It’s all about the music, man, and the Bee Gees exemplified that. I mean, what other group of white artists—Australians cum the British Invasion, no less—got through the disco era without charges of “Sell Out?” It was preposterous that this whitest of white, toothy trio would be the Kings of Disco. And they meant it, man.
It’s sad that 3 out of 4 Brothers Gibb died young. Momma Gibb, who I’ve seen in Bee Gees documentaries, is still alive. No mom should have to live through the death of 3 of her sons. That’s really sad, even if I didn’t like the music of the Bee Gees. But like their music I do!
My Mom was so into the Bee Gees’ disco records—and then their astounding contributions to Saturday Night Fever! The Disco Era marked the period in her early 30s when she “found herself,” as we used to say. She grew into her own skin during those really tough years following my parents’ divorce. The girl who used to dance on American Bandstand, as she reminded me she did following Dick Clark’s recent death, was spending her precious free time on the weekends out on the disco floor, looking for Mr. Right, or Mr. Goodbar, as it might have turned out. Getting out for a night of dancing was pure joy for her, something that never made sense to me, but it was cool to hear her talk about her exploits, the guy she met who had “so much rhythm.” As I always feel, it was cool to hear her express her love for dancing to the Bee Gees. At first I’d cringe when she’d put on one of their disco-era records and begin dancing, but eventually her love for the music—and the brothers’ love for making that music—won me over. Thanks for reminding us how to care during the Me Generation, Robin, Maurice, Barry, and now and then even Andy.
A few oddities follow…