Friday, May 12, 2006
You Can Be Beautiful Too
A few years back I wrote a small piece about overrated and underrated artists. I was feeling particularly contrarian and I went on about how Gram Parsons wasn’t really as great as everyone wanted to believe – sure he wrote several near-perfect songs, but because of his self-destruction and early demise he never realized his potential. I had recently interviewed Chris Hillman and he was clearly a bit tired of the Saint Gram thing. Hillman seemed to feel that the worship of GP was a perfect example of enshrined hippie excess.
Around the office a few people made fun of me because they had never heard of Gram Parsons (so how could he be overrated?). Taking an easy shot, I also wrote about how lame and bloated most of Eric Clapton’s music is. I expected hate mail for that one. But none came.
For the underrated section, one of the groups I picked was Nazareth. The other was the Bee Gees.
I was basically saying that the early Bee Gees were as good as the Beatles, and that their disco era success had sort of sucked attention away from all the lovely early stuff. A few weeks later, we got a hand-written letter thanking us for championing the oft-neglected Bee Gees, and yes they were geniuses and pop visionaries. People have strong feelings about the Bee Gees. There’s a now-defunct web site that was devoted to people’s poetry about how the Bee Gees music had changed their lives.
Jefferson Airplane don’t have one of them I bet.
Here are two from the brothers’ wonderful Odessa. The Bee Gees knew how to drop a seafaring riff now and again, and a little military or technological history (see "Trafalgar" and "Edison") wasn’t off limits either. Here they seem to be celebrating a certain kind of domesticity ("Marley Purt") and offering a little Celebrity Make-Over tips to the young ladies.
Send us a poem if it changes your life.
"Marley Purt Drive" – the Bee Gees
"Melody Fair" – the Bee Gees