Midvale School for the Gifted Alumni Association

Monday, August 22, 2011

Do You Know What It's Like On The Outside?

The Bee Gees are an integral part of the soundtrack to my life. My mother was a huge, huge fan. I can remember their records in the stack by the stereo, mixed in with Dad's Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac. She won tickets to see them at the Providence Civic Center in 1979, within the first 10 rows, and she was ecstatic. Because of this, I also knew that the Bee Gees were not simply disco. Everyone knew "Stayin' Alive" and "Jive Talkin'", but their earlier music from the middle to late 60s showed them to be pop songwriters of great talent, who were likely overshadowed by bigger British acts, never mind Australian acts. WERE there Australian pop musicians known in the US before them?

My high school friends were fascinated by my mother's love for this band; I think they just heard the disco first. I remember Brian and Dave constantly wanting to see her tour program, with the outrageous cover picture. Silver satin pants and shirts, open to the waist, chest hair and medallions resplendent, Barry's lion locks flowing in the breeze. Barry never seemed to be without a wind machine. My mother quietly took their teasing about the over the top disco, and basically waited for them to see the light. Brian was particularly derisive. Until he heard this song.

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...

He was awestruck. And then became the obsessive collector he's always been, and conveniently "forgot" he once found this band foolish.

Good songwriting is good songwriting, satin pants and disco balls aside. Some of my earliest pop music happiness came at the hands of this band, and my mother. So when I found a documentary about their career on the TV tonight, I stopped to watch. A lovely reward after a long day of work, and cleaning the house, and really feeling that vacation was over.

New York Mining Disaster, 1941 - The Bee Gees

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Midvale School For the Gifted

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