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‘Idea’: Incredible pop-psychedelic Bee Gees TV special, 1968


 
There was a time, long, long ago—as ridiculous as this might sound today—when being a Bee Gees fan was something one didn’t admit to in polite company. By the mid-80s, the Brothers Gibb had more or less been relegated to the “guilty pleasures” category and their second career wilderness. If you liked them, it had to be, you know, “ironic” or something.

But fuck that. It was around that time, when I was in my early 20s, that I personally started to go absolutely nuts for their music. In my world, only an asshole doesn’t like the Bee Gees. If you don’t like the Bee Gees, best to keep it to yourself around me if you want to retain my respect for your musical tastes. It’s like admitting to being secretly Republican.

I’m serious. I’ll just cut you off!
 

 
That said, as big of a Bee Gees fan as I am—I have nearly everything—I was never, ever able to get my hands on a copy of their 1968 Idea TV special from German television. This morning, while looking for something else entirely, I came across some pop art style promo clips for two of their songs that I’d never seen before and they blew me away. I assumed that these were from the wonderfully art-directed French TV series Dim Dam Dom, but upon doing a little searching around, I found that they were were in fact from Idea and that the entire special was on YouTube in very high quality. It’s phenomenal!

The German Idea TV special coincided with the release of the Bee Gees’ fifth album, Idea, in 1968 but was actually shot in Belgium. At the time, they were a five-piece band, the brothers Gibb along with Vince Melouney on guitar and vocals and Colin Petersen on drums. Their special guests are Brian Auger and The Trinity with Julie Driscoll (who are incredible) and Lil Lindfors, a Swedish singer who performs “Words” in Swedish.
 

 
It was directed by Jean-Christophe Averty, who also directed three of my very favorite things ever: the short film “Melody” aka “Histoire de Melody Nelson” starring Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, his WILD (and technically advanced) adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, and the incredible 1966 documentary A Soft Self-Portrait of Salvador Dali, which is hands down the very best film ever made about the painter. Averty has had a long and distinguished career in French TV, film and radio. The art direction, which owes much to the Beatles’ then-new Yellow Submarine, was done by the grand Guy Peellaert, the Belgian artist best-known for his cover for David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and the Rock Dreams book.

The whole thing is amazing, but here’s the title number to whet your appetite. If you don’t get high from watching this, I can’t help you.
 

 
After the jump, the entire Bee Gees’ ‘Idea’ TV special…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Disgruntled Bee Gees walk off talk show
11.04.2013
02:06 pm

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Bee Gees
Clive Anderson


 
This ten-minute clip from 1997 is almost excruciating in its sublime awkwardness. The Bee Gees agreed to come on Clive Anderson All Talk (the show was a reworking of a previous incarnation in which it was called Clive Anderson Talks Back), and the lack of chemistry between group and host reached something like an all-time high. Anderson, who was trained as a lawyer before succeeding in showbiz as an odd variant of presenter, is best known in the U.S. as the host of the improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway? Even in the best of times, he is best taken in smaller doses. 

It’s not really clear who comes off worse here, Anderson or Barry Gibb. There’s little argument that Anderson was being annoying that evening, but he’s not much different than everybody else who occupies that kind of role, and it’s unclear why Barry let Anderson get under his skin to the extent that he did. Anderson has a nattering style of humor that can be described as “I take the piss, you take the piss, everyone takes the piss.” So as part of his droll-esque comments, Anderson chose to poke fun at 1970s fashions, Barry’s famous falsetto, Australia’s former status as a penal colony, and who knows what else. It’s not so much that Anderson was making light of the Bee Gees, it’s that his every utterance bought into a kind of superficial understanding of the topic at hand, whether it be sibling rivalries, the sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll lifestyle, the songwriting process, or whatever. Whether Anderson was a big Bee Gees fan seems implausible but is completely beside the point—he was content to trade in barbs that accepted as a given the punchline logic of every imaginable human interaction.

Be sure to watch the whole video—it’s a slow build, and there’s no big unmistakable infraction that makes Barry’s departure inevitable—this is a case where it definitely takes two to tango. By the halfway point, Barry is visibly annoyed by Anderson’s inanities. The straw that breaks the camel’s back is apparently Anderson’s reaction to the news that the brothers once called themselves “Les Tossers”—when Barry gets up to leave a few minutes later, he takes a moment to call Anderson a “tosser” too.

The poleaxed look on Anderson’s face after the musical trio departed the set is priceless.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Bee Gee Maurice Gibb’s drunken John Lennon impression fooled even Yoko (and many Beatles fans, too)
09.10.2013
10:19 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Beatles
Maurice Gibb
Bee Gees


 
“Have You Heard The Word” used to appear—frequently—on Beatles bootlegs as a ‘long lost’ Beatles recording. It’s not, but it’s easy to see why the bootleggers thought that it was. In fact the song was recorded by Maurice Gibb, who showed up at a recording session for an Aussie band he was working with called Tin Tin, the story goes, totally fucked up on painkillers after he’d broken his arm falling down the stairs of the mansion he shared with his then-wife, Lulu.

Taking advantage of some booze around the studio, the well-lubricated Bee Gee, his brother-in-law Billy Laurie and the two members of Tin Tin, Steve Kipner and Steve Groves, crowded around the mics and did, apparently, a single take of “Have You Heard The Word” with Gibb very deliberately doing his absolutely spot-on John Lennon impression.

It was a bunch of drunk guys clowning around, too drunk to sing properly, just having a good time. Never intended for release, nevertheless the song appeared on a 45 in 1970 on the Beacon record label in the UK credited to “The Fut” with an (unrelated) instrumental on the b-side. How it got released remains mysterious to this day and although the initial release should surely be considered a bootleg, the single was sold in regular record stores at the time.

As would later happen with an album release by the Canadian prog rock group Klaatu, the single was rumored to be a “clandestine” Beatles number. Again, it’s fairly easy to see why folks might have thought this.

In 1975, “Have You Heard The Word” was released AS an unreleased Beatles number on a bootleg of the same name and then it kept appearing on subsequent Beatles boots.

In 1985, Yoko Ono tried to register a US trademark on “Have You Heard The Word” as a John Lennon composition, but the request was refused due to a 1974 US copyright that had already been granted to the composers, Kipner and Groves. Even when certain Beatlemaniacs would know, for sure, that it wasn’t the actual Fab Four on the track, they still had no idea who was behind this rather convincing Beatles pissed-take and it wasn’t until the Internet era that the real story was sorted out.

Steve Kipner went on to write and produce Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” hit and write “Genie in a Bottle” for Christina Aguilera. He’s also worked with acts like Heart, Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Laura Branigan,The Temptations, America, Cheap Trick, LFO, Westlife, Huey Lewis & the News, Joe Cocker, Al Jarreau, Wilson Phillips and Rod Stewart.

Now here’s the odd part, found on a newsgroup:

On Saturday, October 13, 2007 3:22:24 PM UTC-7, Steve Worek wrote:

I was just flipping through “Tales From The Brothers Gibb”, that several hundred page massive official biography of the Bee Gees, and something caught my eye - on page 265, Maurice Gibb, despite stories to the otherwise, actually ADMITS that John and Paul were on “Have You Heard The Word”! He tells a story about how they showed up to the session drunk, and with Maurice and the members of Tin Tin had a little jam session… which is what came out on the record.

The exact quote: “It was me, Steve Kipner, and Steve Groves, Tin Tin guys.. [John and Paul] turned up and we were having drinks. We were just jamming, everyone just started jamming, and the tapes were going. John was smashed as usual, and everyone was pissed.” He then goes on to mention that while John denied his involvement in the record, Paul didn’t! (Bizarrely, the book goes on to COMPLETELY contradict this on the very next page, by claiming that the vocals were simply Maurice doing a Lennon impression.)

Stranger and stranger… that book also claims that the word “fuck” pops up in that song too, but being that it’s total gibberish, who could tell?!

Let’s take Steve Kipner’s word for it, shall we? What’s really odd about this is why did Maurice Gibb feel the need to embellish the story to say that Lennon and McCartney were present???
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Nile Rodgers’ pre-Chic Big Apple Band plays ‘You Should Be Dancing’


 
From one disco legend to another, Nile Rodgers has just posted this to his Facebook wall, saying:

“Our pre-CHIC tribute to the Bee Gees “You Should Be Dancing.” Robin Gibb RIP”

The Big Apple Band was indeed Rodgers’ pre-Chic project, and are not to be confused with composer Walter Murphy’s disco outfit of the same name. The sound of The Big Apple Band is rawer and grittier than either Chic or the Bee Gees (even though the Chic rhythm section of Rodgers on guitar, Bernard Edwards on bass and Tony Thompson on drums are all present and correct).

Rodgers says this of the Big Apple Band (who have another clip, this time performing Earth Wind And Fire’s “Get Away,” here):

It’s The Big Apple Band, which is us pre-CHIC playing live in a video recording studio. It was made by Kenny Lehman, the co-writer of CHIC’s debut single “Dance, Dance, Dance.” Kenny was also a booking agent who was trying to get us gigs doing high-school proms. We never got one prom gig but did lots of gigs on the chittlin’ circuit, and the seeds of CHIC were being planted.

In my memoir “Le Freak,” I tell how Bernard and I were developing into sophisto-funkers while others around us weren’t quite convinced. Notice that only he and I are wearing suits while our band mates are more Rock & Roll casual. The band was forced to change its name after composer/arranger/producer extraordinaire Walter Murphy, had major success with a great disco reworking of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. He called it “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band.

It’s been a bad few weeks for fans of disco and soul, with the passing of Donna Summer, Donald Dunn and now Robin Gibb. Rodgers himself has been very ill recently with cancer (which he writes about movingly on his blog), so here’s hoping he’s not added to that list.

And here’s a great testament ot the songwriting genius of the brothers Gibb. Rest In Peace Robin: 

The Big Apple Band “You Should Be Dancing”:
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb in coma
04.14.2012
11:56 am

Topics:
Current Events
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Bee Gees
Robin Gibb


 
British media is reporting that Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees is in a coma in a London hospital.

From the Coventry Telegraph:

BEE Gees star Robin Gibb is fighting for his life after contracting pneumonia in his battle against cancer. The 62-year-old singer’s family have been keeping vigil at his bedside at a hospital in Chelsea, west London.

Robin had surgery on his bowel 18 months ago for an unrelated condition, but a tumour was discovered and he was diagnosed with cancer of the colon and, subsequently, of the liver.

It had been thought his cancer was in remission as early as last month, but the latest deterioration in his health coincides with reports of a secondary tumour.”

In this live footage shot in 1974 in Australia, Robin’s angelic voice is in full flower.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Bee Gees song performed inside an empty half-million gallon tank
05.06.2011
11:34 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Bee Gees
Half-million gallon tank

image
 
David Paul is a musician and electrician in Kansas who when presented with the fortuitous opportunity of late night access to an empty half-million gallon steel water tank did the only thing a sensible person could do: Went inside and whipped out a smashing rendition of The Bee Gees’ early psychedelic classic Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You. Pretty fucking glorious, actually !

When it was finished and painted inside and out, they’d left the hatch unbolted, and we got the idea to take some instruments in there in the evening after work. With flashlight in hand, we proceeded to check it out.  The sound bounced around in there so much that we could barely understand each other when we tried to talk – simply mind-boggling.  Steve commenced to experiment with his guitar, and me with my mandolin, not really playing any songs in particular, just bouncing notes around. We only had cell phones and a digital camera as a means to capture the experience.  There was just such a magical feeling and sound inside the tank – especially when you turned off the flashlight… total darkness, only your mind’s eye at work. Every little sound was something new to your ears! It could be angelic, or to the other extreme. I wish there had been more time (and inspiration), and better equipment to really take advantage of the rare opportunity. We could have/ should have done so much more with it. And then as usual, all things must pass and the tank hatch was sealed and filled with water, of which the town of Belleville now drinks.

 

 
The original from the Bee Gees first album (1967). What are they chanting??  It sounds to me like Oh sodomy or Lord sat down on me. I know it’s neither of those. Right?:

 
Via Office Naps

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Bee Gees: Tales from the Brothers Gibb
05.11.2010
07:38 pm

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
Bee Gees
Barbara Steisand

image
 
Why does there seem to be some sort of cultural amnesia about the pre-disco era music of the Bee Gees? In America at least, most people do not seem to be aware of all of the absolutely amazing music made by the Brothers Gibb before Saturday Night Fever. The Bee Gees started having hit records in Australia in 1967. By 1968 they were #1 in the charts the world over and getting compared to the Beatles. They had tons of amazing songs. I’d easily grab a Bee Gees box set for a desert island stay, but I’d prefer one that was half pre-disco ear and half after. I’m partial to all eras of the Bee Gees, even the more recent material is fantastic.

Barry Gibb is a musical genius. If all you know about the Bee Gees is Stayin’ Alive and You Should Be Dancin’, there are some really classic Barry Gibb songs for you still to discover. Just listen to him sing the plaintive love song Words below. How awesome is this clip?
 

 
Click here to listen to the incredible song the Bee Gees wrote and produced for Barbara Streisand, Woman in Love. I had not heard this song in years and it was on the radio the other day. Overwhelming! Everything about this song is pop perfection! She holds a note for twelve seconds. Twelve seconds!

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment