I was never a Bee Gees fan, not in their ’60s teenage “New York Mining Disaster” years and certainly not in the very “Jive Talkin’ ” disco era. They were about as apolitical as possible, given the social upheaval of their glory years (they made The Kinks sound like The Maoists). That didn’t stop me from writing a cover story profile for my old magazine Crawdaddy in 1978, at the height of Saturday Night Fever fever.
They were so hot then the only time they had for an interview was aboard a commercial jet flight from New York to their home base in Miami. Robin, Barry and Maurice were all swell Aussies, and I recall them being greeted by suntanned spouses and children at they came off the exit ramp at the Miami airport—with their very large dogs rushing out first to greet them.
Now Robin has passed away at age 62, leaving Barry as the only bro to carry on. While their ’70s disco hits may be most beloved (though not by me), my favorite Bee Gees tunes, co-authored by Robin, are two ’60s ballads—not in their original forms but covered by others. “To Love Somebody” lives in wonderful versions by Janis Joplin and Gram Parsons with the Flying Burrito Brothers, among many others, including, oddly, Leonard Cohen, with my favorite a stirring treatment by the great Nina Simone (see below). My second choice for immortality: Al Green with a mesmerizing “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart.”