STAYING ALIVE: The Disco Inferno of the Bee Gees

STAYING ALIVE: The Disco Inferno of the Bee Gees

SIMON SPENCE    Book Number: 87834    Product format: Paperback

For UK audiences, The Bee Gees were those drippy 60s harmony-singing brothers whose hits such as their 1967 number one Massachusetts and 1968 I Gotta Get A Message to You, were difficult to dislodge from the memory. Two of their other hits had become standards covered to greater effect by others - the schmaltzy love song 'Words' by Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison and the epic 'To Love Somebody' has since been covered over 200 times by notables such as Janis Joplin and Nina Simone. As a band they had never quite escaped the suspicion that they were just clever Beatles copyists. They had also during their fame cultivated a 'no drugs, no alcohol' anti-psychedelic image that had not dated well. Fast forward 20 years and 'Saturday Night Fever' still remains synonymous in the public imagination with the disco era. Whenever the 70s are evoked, it remains a safe bet that someone will strike the John Travolta disco pose and attempt a Bee Gees-style falsetto. Propelled by a succession of number one singles from the soundtrack album, 'How Deep Is Your Love?', 'Stayin' Alive' and 'Night Fever' all by the Bee Gees, 'Saturday Night Fever' became a huge success around the world. Travolta became a superstar. Disco was the hottest trend. The success of both the soundtrack and the movie was dubbed Fevermania and the press began calling its author Cohn 'Fever Man Chon.' The high-priced double album sold in the multi-millions, fast becoming the bestselling soundtrack of all time. It is estimated that Cohn made over a million dollars from his cut of the album sales. Cohn thought Travolta was 'superb' but he did not rate the movie, calling it hackneyed, 'a rehashed problem teenagers flick from the 50s updated with four-letter words and gang bangs.' Here are the Bee Gees arriving in April 1974 at Batley Variety Club, an ugly cabaret venue in Yorkshire on the brink of bankruptcy, a long way from Brooklyn and the heat of disco fever. 'Maurice had been drinking since breakfast and was unsteady on his feet during rehearsal? by showtime he could barely stand. The crown predictably responded badly to the group's newer material.' In the late 70s the Bee Gees spectacularly revived their careers and became the biggest disco group in the world, but when the disco boom crashed, they went from icons to punchlines overnight. The band was inescapably frozen in time, all long, flowing manes, big teeth, falsettos, medallions, hairy chests, and skin-tight satin trousers, one finger forever pointing in the air. The Bee Gees would spend the next 40 years trying to convince people that there was more to them and the book finally lifts that millstone by reappraising and celebrating their iconic disco era. We are taken into the excesses of the most hedonistic of music scenes and how three brothers from Manchester transformed themselves into the funkiest white group ever. 288pp in softback with colour and vintage photos.
Published price: £14.95
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Additional product information

ISBN 9781911036272
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