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Radio.com Minimation: The Bee Gees and Life After ‘Saturday Night Fever’

By Brian Ives 
On Minimation, we comb through the archives of legendary New York radio station WNEW-FM and animate interviews with legendary rock artists. This installment is taken from a 1988 interview with the Bee Gees, where they discusses the effect that ‘Saturday Night Fever’ had on their career. This one is a bit bittersweet, in retrospect: Maurice and Robin Gibb do most of the talking (Barry was present, but had a cold). And of course, Maurice and Robin are, sadly, no longer with us. This Minimation was created for Radio.com by Max Werkmeister.
What do you think of when you think of the Bee Gees? The Beatles-eque young lads of “New York Mining Disaster 1941″ fame? How about the guys who did the definitive version of “To Love Somebody,” later to be covered by Rod Stewart, Janis Joplin and Gram Parsons?
Let’s be real: you think of the white suits, feathered hair, and disco jams. Today, “Stayin’ Alive,” one of their monster smashes from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack is a much celebrated classic that even Bruce Springsteen has covered. But the post-disco era was very much an anti-disco era, and the brothers Gibb were smarting from the backlash.
“We are songwriters, mostly,” Maurice said. “We are performers secondly.”
“And,” he added, “We don’t deal in trends and images.”
Robin noted, “We didn’t even write them for the movie.” The band were recording their next album in France, and Robert Stigwood, their record label head and manager asked to use three of the songs for a film he was producing. “We were R&B,” he said, as opposed to a disco act like Donna Summer or Chic.
Not mentioned in this excerpt was their more ill-fated decision to co-star with Peter Frampton in a disastrous film version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. By 1988 when this interview was conducted, the stink was still on them, a decade down the road.
But, years later, all was forgiven. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. And “Stayin’ Alive” was one of the songs they performed at the ceremony



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the story behind the song NY Mining Disaster 1941

Music History #8: "New York Mining Disaster 1941"By Bill De Main september 2012
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Image credit:  Getty Images
“New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Have You Seen My Wife, Mr. Jones)”
Written by Barry and Robin Gibb (1967)
Performed by Bee Gees


The MusicWhen the Bee Gees debut US single was released in April 1967, a lot of people thought it was The Beatles masquerading as another band. Even the name Bee Gees was read as code for “Beatles Group.” But within a year, brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb established themselves not only as hit makers in their own right, but as chart rivals to the Fabs. “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” the first of thirty-some hits, is one of those rare pop songs in which the title never appears in the lyrics. Most people still refer to it by its subtitle “Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones.” Inspired by the Aberfan mining disas…