The Galaxy – He started a joke, and now the whole world is singing….

Robin Gibb, c. 1969

Robin Gibb, c. 1969

We start the show this evening with a remembrance of Robin Gibb, one of the three Brothers Gibb (four, if you count Andy, who was never officially a member of the singing group), who passed away late last Sunday evening.  It would be easy to just fill the set with some of the Bee Gee‘s disco classics, which we will naturally be doing in short order.  But, to have a true understanding of their important place in music history, I think we need to start with some of their early material.  The reality is that not only were they great singers with a special brotherly harmonic sense, but they were also songwriters of the first order.  In my eyes, while the disco songs were also well written, their songwriting talents were on special display in the early, pre-disco era.  These are true pop songs, ’60s/’70s style, yet they have such a universal quality to them that they could just as easily be country songs.  Truly, these are songs that stand the test of time.  (Note: many of these early songs feature lead vocals by Robin, or Robin and Barry.)

  • Holiday
  • I’ve Gotta Get a Message To You
  • I Can’t See Nobody
  • I Started A Joke
  • Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You (an album cut from their first album, also used as the b-side to the Holiday single; the song was later covered by the Flaming Lips)
  • New York Mining Disaster
  • Run To Me
  • Massachusetts
  • How Do You Mend A Broken Heart
Bee Gees, c. 1975

Bee Gees, c. 1975 (l-r: Robin, Maurice, Barry)

Then, we have the disco era.  While there are some who would probably prefer to forget disco, the inescapable fact is that, as with their pre-disco material, their music was marked by rock-solid composition and a gorgeous harmonic sense.  The material wouldn’t have been successful as disco music if it didn’t have the solid bass/drum rhythm construction.  These things just don’t happen by accident – they were inspired by funk, but they didn’t just imitate it, they took the funk and made it their own.  This aspect of their disco-era music is most easily heard in songs like You Stepped Into My Life and Nights On Broadway

  • Jive Talkin’
  • You Stepped Into My Life
  • You Should Be Dancing
  • If I Can’t Have You (The b-side to Staying Alive; it was also recorded for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack by Yvonne Elliman, and was the fourth #1 hit from that soundtrack, reaching the top spot in March of 1978.
  • Too Much Heaven
  • Nights On Broadway
  • Love So Right
  • More Than A Woman
  • Stayin’ Alive
  • How Deep Is Your Love

Now, given that today is Memorial Day, I can’t help but want to play something that could fall within a Memorial Day theme.  After some thought and consideration, my conclusion was to play a Glenn Miller set.

  • In The Mood (1939)
  • Pennsylvania 6-5000 (1940)
  • Blueberry Hill (some may remember the song for the version made popular by Fats Domino; here, the vocal is sung by Ray Eberle)
  • Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me) – vocals by Marion Hutton, Tex Beneke, and the Modernaires
  • A String of Pearls
  • Along the Santa Fe Trail -v. by Sgt. Johnny Desmond
  • Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar
  • Peggy, the Pin-Up Girl (1944, -w- Sgt Johnny Desmond, T-Sgt Paul McKinley)

We close tonight’s show with some Smashing Pumpkins: Rhinoceros, and Fristessa, both from 1991.

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