Tx. 19.12.14. 9.00pm-10.00pm, BBC Four
In customary BBC Four fashion, an hour long biography of a band serves as the main course (sorry) for a sweet dessert of archive clips.
Once over the icon busting intro (more than a flourish of falsettos, ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and office parties… ) this is a moderately satisfying documentary which is nevertheless hopelessly condensed compared to say The Bee Gees: Tales of the Brother Gibb which runs to more than 700 pages. As a fan of the band’s pre-RnB and disco eras, I was happy enough that we reach 1971 almost exactly half an hour in.
Surprise contributor John Lydon waxes lyrical about the Bee Gees‘ ‘brave beyond belief’ lyrics. Gary Brooker tells how the orchestral Odessa inspired Procol Harum’s A Salty Dog, at last joining up the dots between prog and pop camps.
Record producer Mykaell Riley finds the Bee Gees just on the cusp between an addictive quality and monotony (though I would say that applies most aptly to the disco period). Amusingly he compares Otis Redding’s ‘punch in the face’ take on soul to the Bee Gees’ ‘tickle’ which can nevertheless reach out and grab you – but I know what he means. These songs have a habit of getting under your skin.
I would be interested to know which Bee Gees songs Barry doesn’t want to listen to these days.