A reprised documentary under a new title and with updated footage, In Our Own Time‘s release coincides with the Brothers Gibb’s 50th anniversary in music.
Fifty years. Now that’s saying something, even if you’re not a fan, and believe me, I live with a nonbeliever.
When my daughter was a baby, I’d try to find a gentle song to ease her fussiness and end the crying on those occasions when she’d wake up in the middle of the night.
One night, I randomly selected “I Started a Joke” and I found that my gentle singing of it actually made the baby scream louder. Before anyone thinks that this was because of my inability to carry a tune (which is completely true), I tested this song on future middle of the night “gigs” and discovered beyond a doubt that it was baby’s hatred of this 1968 Bee Gees’ hit and not my singing.
If I made it to the “And I fell out of bed / Hurting my head / On some things that I said” line, my daughter’s cries escalated into blood curdling wails.
It’s hard to convince anyone how great the Bee Gees really were because of three words: Saturday, night, and fever. But the reality is that there are two vastly different eras of the band, the Beatle-inspired early years and the band’s more famous disco period. The former made them occasional chart visitors while the latter made them superstars. For half a decade in the ’70s, there was barely a moment where you wouldn’t hear a song by or featuring the talents of the Brothers Gibb. And when it wasn’t them, their younger brother had a few chart toppers to consider.
I grew up in a time where it was socially encouraged among rock circles to despise disco, and for a while, I dutifully voiced my disdain for the genre. I’ve since come to terms with that premature dismissal, but I remember how hard it was during that time contending with my love of early Bee Gees albums. Prior to Saturday Night Fever, I had amassed a few of those original albums and enjoyed them immensely. But when the band became fixtures for the gold medallion crowd and when the “Gibb Sound” seemed to be on every other song on the radio, I purged those initial records and for years forgot how wonderful they were. I recently began to pull some of those early Bee Gees albums back out and there’s one that stands out as the best of the lot and is prime for (re)discovery.
Spread apart two vinyl sides and packaged in soft red felt, Odessa was intended to stand alongside other definitive statements like Sgt. Pepper’s, Tommy, Disraeli Gears, etc., but nearly forty years later, it gets barely a mention when experts compile their lists of essential albums of that period. What’s more, Odessa can easily best many of those albums in terms of scope, execution and sheer timelessness.