Miami Colon Disaster, 2003

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With so many other pressing stories in the news, you may be asking how the untimely death of Maurice Gibb last month affects you, but read Brian's excellent look at the beloved Bee Gee's unmourned passing and you'll understand.

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  1. May Maurice rest in peace, and may a really, really squalid era of pop music history rest with him.

  2. Nuts to you. The Bee Gees made some of the greatest pop music in the last few decades.

    I’ll take them over some earnest drip with an acoustic guitar mewling about his feelings and relationships, or some bonehead pre-fab NuMetal “alternative” idiot screeching over a bunch of mediocre, derivative, and loud guitar, or this month’s hip-hop Thug of the Moment, or the manufactured teen midriff we’re all supposed to be obsessed with this week, or the staggeringly boring corporate country that infests the airwaves.

  3. Two moments that are burned in my brain from watching too much VH1.

    The first is Elvis Costello revealing that the secret shame of many of the 1970s British punk/new wave musicians was that they were big fans of ABBA. It was apparently something discussed amongst themselves, but never revealed to the public for fear of losing their credibility.

    The second is Alice Cooper making a similar revelation about American rockers and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album. Many of them secretly loved the album, though they’d never publicly admit it.

  4. The words “good” and “pop music” should very rarely be used in the same sentence. So, I suppose relative to the quality of other pop music in the last few decades, the BeeGees are okay. Music in general has gone downhill since the mid-1970’s. There are still a few good artists out there (some of them were making music before the mid-1970’s), but one has to look pretty hard to find it sometimes.

  5. Tim: best title of a post since Hit and Run began.

    Brian: While I can’t say I enjoy listening to the bee gees, I enjoyed your article quite a bit. I’m still a little unclear on what motivates the vast rock conspiracy. Why was Joey Ramone lionized again? Wasn’t he supposed to be leading the charge against the Rock establishment? It’s a cliche, but I think what really moistens the gussets of the guardians of rock’s legacy is the appearance of being an insurgent. It doesn’t really matter what kind of music you make or what bastilles you’re storming. That’s why punk has street cred and why the Bee Gees, who, you’ve got to admit, were not the originators of Disco, do not.
    Maybe part of it is due to the fact that disco’s image – it’s politics (hedonistic, excessive, etc.) – was so contrary to rock rock/cultural critics, but I think a good bit is that they were seen as a folk-pop group cashing in on a fad. Whatever you think about that assertion, and I know you disagree, it’s a death-knell to your musical immortality.
    Critics are so in thrall to the idea of the ‘outsider’ that they cram anyone they respect under that umbrella.

    The true test of this theory will come when Ralf Hutter dies…

  6. Your headline’s reference to a “Colon Disaster” conveyed a (perhaps) inadvertent impression. I was half-expecting news that the Gibb death was some kind of gerbil-related incident.

  7. Maurice’s legacy will win in the end. I feel relatively certain that half the planet can still hum Stayin’ Alive. As a side note, if you’d like to see what Strummer and Jones were capable of when no one was looking, check out Spirit of St. Louis by Ellen Foley. She was dating Jones at the time and he and his partner wrote much of the material and produced it. It’s classic, albeit quirky, pop.

  8. Charles Oliver mentioned the “secret shame” of British punk/new-wave musicians in the ’70s who liked ABBA. It’s not considered so unhip or corny to like ABBA anymore now. There are some current indie pop musicians — most notably Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields — who openly cite ABBA as an influence. Not exactly “secret” or “shame.”

    It’s not uncommon for pop music artists to be considered really cheesy and cornball while they’re actually around, only to look not so bad in retrospect. Speaking for myself, I know that there are quite a few artists who made me want to barf at the time — including the Bee Gees — that I appreciate a lot more at this vantage point.

  9. Thanks, Brian. The Bee Gees were the first group I loved — way prior to SNF — and even today when I hear “Jive Talkin'”, the song that hooked me, I smile.

    RIP, Maurice.

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