The Bee Gees : The Biography Hardback
by David Meyer
The first narrative biography of the Bee Gees, the phenomenally popular vocal group that has sold more than 200 million records worldwide-sales in the company of the Beatles and Michael Jackson.
The Bee Gees is the epic family saga of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, and it's riddled with astonishing highs-especially as they became the definitive band of the disco era, fueled by Saturday Night Fever and crashing lows, including the tragic drug-fueled downfall of youngest brother, Andy.
In recent years, a whole new generation of fans has rediscovered the undeniable grooves and harmonies that made the Bee Gees and songs like Stayin' Alive, How Deep is Your Love, To Love Somebody, and I Started a Joke timeless.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 416 pages, 16 pages black-&-white photos
- Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
- Publication Date: 13/11/2012
- Category: Rock & Pop music
- ISBN: 9780306820250
Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.
Review by akblanchard
The Bee Gees have sold over 250 million records, but as individuals they remain mysterious. Although I'm only a casual listener, I was curious about Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, (as well as their younger brother, solo artist Andy Gibb, who gets a chapter of his own) so I chose to read this book. David Meyer's <em>The Bee Gees</em> is an opinionated, entertaining look at the 50-year career of the vocal group. It follows the lives of Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb from their impoverished childhoods in Australia, to their success as a teen vocal group in London. With the massive popularity of <em>Saturday Night Fever </em> in the mid-1970's, they became even bigger stars. When disco fell from favor, so did they, but Barry Gibb has reinvented himself as the behind-the-scenes songwriter of other vocalists' hits. The other Gibb brothers are deceased.As is typical in a rock-star biography, there are lots of broken relationships and substance abuse. Robin's speed use, Maurice's alcoholism and Andy's addictions to cocaine and heroin are all explored in great detail. Barry's studio perfectionism and controlling personality are also highlighted. It's interesting: at their peaks of creativity, both Barry Gibb and the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson worked at the "genius" level of composing, meaning they could "hear" completed music in their minds. Their task in the studio was to recreate this internal music on record. Brian Wilson is universally regarded as a genius, but Barry Gibb is usually seen as a competent hitmaker at best. What's the difference? Was it that the Bee Gees made bad fashion choices and were associated with the much-maligned genre of disco music (the Beach Boys, I would point out, also made bad fashion choices and were associated with the much-maligned genre of surf music)? No, I think the difference was that for most of their careers the Bee Gees were under the management of Robert Stigwood, who forced them into that horrible <em>Sgt. Pepper</em> movie, among other sins. Also, for all their emotionalism, the slickness of Bee Gees's recordings often made their emotional content seem superficial (Meyer, for his part, can't decide if the Bee Gees's records are too emotional or not emotional enough). The book is honest about the Bee Gees' triumphs and failures, but as do many rock biographers, the author often assumes that his readers agree with whatever he asserts. For example, Meyer writes, "The less said about 'Fanny [Be Tender with My Love]', the better. It's a Robin one-off dirty joke, either for the benefit of, or at the expense of, their gay audience." (p. 131). Huh? Meyer makes similar claims about "How Deep is Your Love?" and "More than a Woman" (p. 172). I get the double entendres in the titles, Mr. Meyer, but you haven't proven that these songs are "dirty jokes". But, all in all, if you are not embarrassed to admit you like the Bee Gees, this book is well worth reading.