The name of this band will go down in history as being synonymous with disco, and while they were arguably the classiest and most savvy practitioners of the form, there are other dimensions to the Bee Gees’ musical artistry that ought not escape the attention of anyone who appreciates a well-crafted pop song. This trio of brothers, Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, came on the music scene in the mid-sixties, singing smooth, sweet ballads in polished three-part harmonies that made a lot of people think of a certain Fab Four out of Liverpool. Unlike The Beatles, they failed to incite mania, but they did produce a long string of classic pop hits including Massachusetts, Holiday, I Started A Joke, and the very Beatlesque New York Mining Disaster 1941.
Then came the late 70’s, and that phenomenon we called disco. Tapped to do the soundtrack of a modest little movie called Saturday Night Fever, the boys found themselves instant icons when the movie became a hit, then a craze, then a cultural touchstone. The blue-eyed funk they had cooked up at Miami’s Criteria Studios became, with the music of fellow booty-shakers KC and the Sunshine Band and Euro-diva Donna Summer, the official recipe for the genre.
A string of chart-topping albums followed, fueling their continued popularity into the early 80’s. But being so identified with disco hit them hard when the fad died, and their audience fell away. An added blow was the personal tragedy of losing their younger brother Andy, a popular solo performer who, sadly, became a victim of the culture’s physical excesses. Nevertheless, the brothers Gibb continued to write and perform the sparkling pop music which was their hallmark. After a modest comeback in 1989, they maintained their presence with five more albums in the 90’s, and remained active until Maurice’s death in 2003, after which Barry and Robin agreed the Bee Gees were, in fact, no more.