Monday, May 21, 2012

1977: Then softly leave

One bored afternoon back in 1977, I decided that I would join a fan club. At the time, as a 12-year-old, my favourite groups were Boney M, Abba and The Bee Gees. I bought How Deep Is Your Love and adored the whole Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, despite never having seen the film. But everyone loved it. I was no different.

In the days before the internet it was really quite hard to track down info on your favourites. I bought Record Mirror and Look-In, though I thought I was getting to old for the latter. I had asked my newsagent to order me the Abba magazine, but it never turned up, so I realised that the only way I could keep abreast of what was going on in the lives of the bands I loved was to join their club.

There was no Boney M fan club listed in Look-In, but there was a Bee Gees one. So I wrote off, did the whole stamped address envelope thing, got mum to post it and waited. And waited. And Waited. Nothing ever turned up.

Oh well. I was reminded of this today was I was driving to work. In place of his usual Golden Hour, Simon Bates was playing a selection of Bee Gees songs to mark the passing of Robin Gibb. I'm sad about this, as only in recent years have I truly come to appreciate how utterly amazing the Bee Gees actually are.

Like everyone else, I loved them in the Seventies, went off them in the Eighties and never gave them much thought. Of course, I had my favourite songs like Massachusetts and I've Gotta Get A Message To You, but I'd totally gone off the whole disco era stuff and, if I'm honest, feel it's been played out. Night Fever is guaranteed to see me exit the dancefloor.

But their pre-SNF stuff, especially at the turn of the Sixties, is a goldmine. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, Melody Fair, Jumbo, Idea, IOIO, the Odessa Album. What's not to like?

So in tribute to Robin Gibb, we won't have How Deep Is Your Love. That was just a hook to hang it on. We'll have my very favourite I Started A Joke. It's possibly one of the oddest lyrics I've heard and I've mulled over the meaning in my mind. I guess I'll never know. A bit like Saturday Night Fever. To this day I've still not seen it.


  1. Do you think you never CAN see SNF now? Has it just gone too far? I wonder if it could ever live up to how you've imagined it (assuming you have.).

    Robin Gibb looks very sweet here - his huge grin at the beginning is just full of joy, like he's only just realised how much the audience want to hear him sing. It must be awful for Barry, having seen all of his three younger siblings out.

  2. Never too late, but I just haven't ever got round to it. But I'm making it my mission to do so.

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  4. You've got to see SNF Jon. Like you I loved all the tunes, knew every picture from inside the OST gatefold sleeve, bought the poster mags and anything else Fever related. Night Fever, More Than A Woman etc, the parodied moves - give the impression of a Grease prequel in disco drag. It's nothing like that - explosive amounts of effing and jeffing, suicide, drugs and rape.

    I went to a Snowboy and Chris Hill ( of The Goldmine and Lacy Lady) talk on soul, funk, disco and dance music last week - hosted by Daryl Easlea, Who, said if SNF had been directed by Scorsese and starred De Niro - it would be spoken about in hushed tones.

  5. Don't know whether you'll love this or hate this (cover versions of your favourite songs always evoke extreme feelings one way or another). But I like Kathryn Williams' version of I Started A Joke

  6. Ooh, thanks Drakeygirl. The Beautiful South do a nice version too. I think it's one of those you can't really go wrong with if you get the sentiment right.

  7. Mondo's right, Jon - it's well worth seeing and very, very dark. The disco scenes are so strong because they contrast so abruptly with the miserable, disappointed daily lives of the characters. But I'm giving away the plot...

  8. Well I've popped it on my Lovefilm list as a priority, so here we go.