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Music DVD Review: Bee Gees: In Our Own Time

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In a career as extensive and artistically diverse as that of the Bee Gees, perhaps the one prevailing theme has been the group’s near-prodigious ability to compose songs that are both of their time and timeless. It’s what makes classics like “To Love Somebody,” “Massachusetts,” and “How Deep Is Your Love” seem as vital and moving today as when they were originally released. And it’s this distinction that underscores In Our Own Time, a new Eagle Rock documentary that commemorates fifty years of music by the Brothers Gibb.

The retrospective is told by the artists themselves, including all-new commentary by Barry and Robin Gibb as well as select and pertinent clips of the late Maurice Gibb, who died in January 2003. Along with a slew of archival footage — from a performance of “Words” on The Ed Sullivan Show to a recording session of “Tragedy” for the group’s 1979 LP, Spirits Having Flown — the overall presentation is as enlightening as it is irresistibly entertaining.

In chronicling the highs and lows of their history — including the all-too-brief life and career of their younger brother, Andy — the film traces the Gibb’s evolution as songwriters and composers. Indeed, when the Bee Gees endured the consequences of oversaturation in the aftermath of the Saturday Night Fever phenomenon, they possessed the wherewithal — and the talent — to switch gears and write for other artists. In so doing, they notched sizable hits with the likes of Diana Ross (“Chain Reaction”), Dionne Warwick (“Heartbreaker”), Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton (“Islands in the Stream”), and Barbra Streisand (“Guilty”), among others. As such, their career continued unabated; it just took a different shape for a while.

The immense achievements and stature of the Bee Gees merit more of a concentrated assessment — something along the lines of The Beatles Anthology or Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who — yet In Our Own Time nonetheless does a fine job of profiling one of the most legendary and beloved groups in pop music history.

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About Donald Gibson

Donald Gibson is the publisher of www.writeonmusic.com and a freelance music journalist whose byline has appeared in such publications as No Depression, Spinner, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, Cinema Sentries, Blinded by Sound, and Blogcritics, where he was the Senior Music Editor (2011-2012) and Assistant Music Editor (2008-2011). He has interviewed and profiled such artists as Tony Bennett, Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Allen Toussaint, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Marr, Charli XCX, Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Susanna Hoffs, Bruce Hornsby, Delbert McClinton, Jonny Lang, Alan Parsons, Bill Frisell, Rickie Lee Jones, Christina Perri, Don Felder (The Eagles), Jimmy Webb, Katie Melua, and Buddy Guy, among many others.
  • I hope you don’t mind my repeating here what I’ve just written on Facebook: This will illustrate how all-pervasively popular remain the Bee-Gees. This week I re-watched Billie Crystal in his comedy “Mr Saturday Night” from the early 2000s. It was almost a laugh a line but one of the best scenes is when his ageing comic character starts singing “Almost Alive, Almost Alive”. But then you may retort that you have to be my age to enjoy the joke.


    Certainly the nicest group of all times. They are simply the best for me, better than the Beatles who are considered to be more important. But in fact, the Bee Gees have created much more and experienced a longer era, that is to say more styles and more creativity. To love the Bee Gees is to love a way of singing, to love a voice (voices), and to go through listening deeply to songs/albums like Living Eyes, The Woman In You, Shine Shine, Stay Alone, Childhood Days, Toys, Blue Island …where one can learn to know better the lovely creations of the brothers Gibb.

  • Jamie

    I can’t wait to get hold of this disc. They are an awesome group!