I recently watched what, to me, was a very interesting and touching documentary on the life and career of the Bee Gees (HBO).
To give a little perspective, I was born during what might be considered the heyday of this Australian band, so that by the time I have a conscious memory of listening to the radio, mostly in my parents’ cars, the world was largely moving on to other bands and other genres (Hello, Johnny Cougar. I see you over there, Phil Collins. Put some clothes on Madonna, I’m 12!).
But, of course, some of the Bee Gees music has a near ubiquitous identity, being indelibly linked with a distinct period of Americana. Arguably the most identifiable is the toe-tapping, shoulder-strutting stroll down the inner-city sidewalk of the short-lived disco era that is “Stayin’ Alive”. According to the doc, it was this song, and its album, that introduced the world (and the Bee Gees themselves) to the distinct Bee Gees falsetto.
I digress, and I’ve gotta get a message to you. Ok, that was bad.
Anyway, there were two things about this documentary that touched an overly-sentimental soul like mine.
One is a fairly superficial thing that I enjoy when I watch these kinds of movies, namely the glimpse into how someone’s art, someone’s music, someone’s words have become even a small part of the cultural tapestry. That song that you’ve heard or sung hundreds of times had a beginning, a birth, one nurtured through an oft-grueling process. Often such songs (or books or movies or paintings or poems, etc) end up much different in their final form than they started, being shaped by a fascinating creative process.
Sometimes a song starts as a chord that a guitar player can’t shake, or a phrase that a songwriter finds profound. Sometimes a beloved international smash hit or a culture-shaping anthem was originally intended to just be an album filler, before the world, or a slice of it, had other plans.
Brothers go into a room with a dream and some ideas, and weeks later come out with a piece of art that influences the culture. I just enjoy that.
The second thing that I appreciated very much about this documentary was a constant reminder of something we all know deep down (or at least I believe we do), and that we all witness on a regular basis, but that we often, in our singular wisdom and self-assured mantras tend to suppress:
Success and fame and money and (insert anything but our Creator) do not and cannot solve issues of the heart, mind, and soul.
Two phrases stuck with me long after the end of the documentary:
“I owned six Rolls Royces before I was 21. I have no idea where they are now.”Maurice Gibb on the craziness of young fame
“I would give up all the hits just to have them (his brothers) back now.”Barry Gibb, on being the lone survivor on the Bee Gees
I’m sure fame is a wild ride, and there is nothing wrong with success. And sure, who wouldn’t enjoy knowing that your art has become an indelible part of history (while driving around in a fine English super-sedan). But, as we see time and again, from those who have experienced the apex of what the human heart longs for and returned to share their tales, it can never replace relationships, and it cannot ultimately satisfy.
Here’s hoping yet another tale from the top sinks in for us.
If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.C. S. Lewis
seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.Jesus
6 thoughts on “Life and The Bee Gees”
Wonderful post. I want to say more, but I’m kinda speechless right now!
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Thank you Linda Lee! Really appreciate the comment.
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This is a great post, Phillip! Thank you!
Thank you sir! Appreciate you taking time to comment
I just came across this quote yesterday: “A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth”–Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), Nazi propagandist under Hitler. The lie that fame, fortune, and success will satisfy has been propagated for so long, people believe it. You provided convincing evidence to the contrary, Phil. Well done! P.S. Love that C. S. Lewis quote–another to add to my collection!
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Thanks for the great comment Nancy! I will add THAT quote to my collection!
I am continually fascinated how we, myself included, tend to think that we will be the exception to the “If I only get (fill in the blank), I will be fulfilled” curse. Such a lie, but for some reason we tend to believe that we are different. I’m very thankful to be able to be reminded from others that it’s not the case. It’s why hearing and sharing stories is so important, in my opinion!
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