David N. Meyer's The Bee Gees: The Biography (Da Capo) is only the second prominent attempt to tell the story of a band of brothers named Gibb who carried the recording industry on their white-suited backs in the late '70s, producing, as Meyer notes, a body of songs such that nearly every sentient being on Earth knows at least one. For three weeks in 1977-78, five of the top 10 singles were written by a Gibb.
If the insular family band felt like neglected outsiders on their path to the top, that feeling only increased as disco became a cultural embarrassment. Mastering melody and rhythm doesn't get you far if rock intellectuals won't defend you for representing some approved social or personal meaning. The Bee Gees were only highly successful avatars of pure aural pleasure, so the superegos of music history and cultural memory neglect them. Meyer's juicy but not very thoughtful book won't change that, but re-listening to their best records would.
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