Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Ironies abound.  The Bee Gees were an Australian band, who had been nowhere near Massachusetts when they wrote the song. Nor had most of the people in my band in college when we sang the song. But the wonderful feel of the harmonies as they hit on the word "out," was enough for us to go forward. Plus, we got all the Bee Gees fans on our side - this was in their pre-disco days - and the people who actually came from Massachusetts, once I dropped into the intro that I lived there. Playing cheap bars and college pubs in Virginia, you used everything you could get your hands on to keep your audience from moving on. (Really cheap bars, you didn't mention being from anywhere north of Richmond.  Even Fredericksburg was suspect.)  Sha-Na-Na did 50's revival, we did 60's revival before anyone: Walk Away Renee, Can't Find The Time, Ruby Tuesday. That retro thing people started doing about 15 years ago of humming TV theme songs and making the audience guess? We were doing it in 1973. We were truly cutting edge in marginally cool performance tricks.

Nor had they been anywhere near New York when they wrote The New York Mining Disaster of 1941, a much better song. (Embedding disabled, but a great video.) So why did we sing the song that was less good?  Audiences didn't respond to it.  Poignancy and human drama don't matter that much to young drunks on a Friday night, unless its their own personal dramas and poignancies.


Texan99 said...

When I was quite young, I was nuts about a Bee Gees song called "Good Morning, Mr. Sunshine," which I played over and over on my little 45rpm machine. I didn't hear anything more about the band until ten or twelve years later, when "Saturday Night Fever" exploded on the scene.

Texan99 said...

PS, it was really called "Lonely Days, Lonely Nights."

And you're right, geeky song, but worth it for the "out." I'm a sucker for those harmonies.