AUSTRALIAN ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE ARTICLE --- July 2005
THE BEE GEES - By Darren Hayes
THERE IS AN OLD SAYING: "You're only as good as your last hit." But even that is a delicate, generous softening of the brutal truth. In the decade that I've been making pop records, the road seems to be littered with the casualties of a more apt expression: "Here today, gone tomorrow"
The Bee Gees, long before Madonna, were the true royals of re-invention. Under¬rated and more prolific than most people realise, they've had a profound effect on my relationship to music, melody and the con¬cept of survival. To an Australian from Brisbane, the Bee Gees were legends. I knew the folklore: although they were born in England, the Brothers Gibb had made their mark as teenagers in my hometown. And what a mark! Their achievements are far more than just selling over 40 million copies of the soundtrack to "that John Travolta movie". In fact, they sit comfortably in an elite group: the top five biggest selling artists of all time. Only Elvis, The Beatles, Jackson and McCartney surpass them in sales.
What fascinates me about Barry, Maurice and Robin is their ability to adapt. In the I950's the beginning of their career had them aping a sort of Mills Brothers vocal harmony group. Performing to distracted moviegoers in Manchester cinemas, they were thrown in the deep end, a sort of performance class 101. By the time the family moved to Aus¬tralia in 1958 they were hinting at a precur¬sor to the Beetles phenomenon. Melodic. Harmonic. Soulful. White Listen to "Spicks and Specks" today and the fallout is every¬thing from the Everly Brothers to E.L.O. Songs like "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" to this day still tease me with their resonance and make me want to write just to compete with that kind of timelessness.
The more public part of their story involves the disco era. So often attacked, and yet so classic. If you straighten out those bass lines, you filter out the Arif Mardin production, what emerges is songs like "How Deep is Your Love". I put this song on my secret Top 20 list of best songs ever writ¬ten, along with "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys, "With or Without You" by U2 and "Imagine" by the true messiah.
The Bee Gees' disco created crossover records. Apart from Elvis, here was the first time a group of white men gained the respect of urban radio in America. Years later, when that same white America that embraced the disco inferno began fuelling their fires by burning Bee Gees records, they entered their third phase: underground super-¬producers. Writing for others, (Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Diana Ross) Barry took the heat off for a while, paid the bills and re-entered our subconscious. I take away four lessons from the Bee Gees. A career consists of ups and downs. People can love you, hate you, then love you again (you aren't supposed to remember the middle bit). Falsetto is cool. And, if you want to be remembered, write a melody.
Source: Rolling Stone Magazine Australia
Thanks to Lyn for article and scan
Darren Hayes Articles 2005