More proof, I think, that I have no taste, and also that – even if you don’t like the Bee Gees as vocalists (They overused the falsetto, I think; sorry), they were amazing songwriters: The Take That version of “How Deep Is Your Love,” which I unashamedly adore, and prefer to the original. It’s more 1990s easy listen-y in its arrangement, sure, but nonetheless, there’s a relaxation and calmness to it that I find weirdly appealing here… Plus a video that features the death of the band’s lead singer and songwriter, in what was – at the time – their farewell single. More boybands should have such a sense of humor.
And here’s the original, for those who’d rather have the classic version:
I was reading an obituary for Robin Gibb yesterday that talked about his sense of humor, and that came as little surprise; I’ve long considered “Staying Alive” home to one of the funniest – and, let’s be honest, one of the downright greatest – opening lines in popular music: “Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk.”
There’s so much to unpack there, whether it’s the weird (unintentional?) double entendre of being “a woman’s man” (Sure, a man who likes women, obviously, but if a “man’s man” denotes masculinity and machoness in society, what does a woman’s man denote – especially when you’re singing in such a falsetto?), the idea that you can tell that from the way he walks (Bowlegged from so much sex? Is it a particular wiggle in his butt? Is he just walking fast to go please more women? WHAT?), or the spectacular “No time to talk.” Why not? Maybe he is walking fast and that’s how you can tell that he’s a woman’s man. Maybe being a woman’s man is all about not having any time to hang around. It’s just such a wonderful opening that makes you want to know more, find out what he’s going to say next. Put it up against the spectacular guitar riff and hi-hat-crazy beat and it literally becomes an irresistible piece of pop. Stardom was guaranteed – and well deserved – for the Bee Gees as soon as they’d come up with this, let’s face it.
Bizarre but true fact about “Have You Heard The Word” #1: That’s Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees singing, you know.
Bizarre but true fact about “Have You Heard The Word” #2: Yoko Ono once believed this song was a genuine John Lennon recording, and tried to copyright it as a result.
You can’t really blame her; sure, the vocal isn’t exactly 100% Lennon, but it’s pretty close, and between that and the song itself (with heavy, McCartney-esque bassline, and tempo change towards the end) really does sound convincingly like an unfinished sketch for a song from the latter days of the Beatles. Apparently, it’s actually the result of a drunken recording session by the Bee Gees’ Gibb and friends from 1969 that ended up being released without their permission a year later under the purposefully vague name “The Fut,” beginning the obsession of many a Beatle fan that it was, in fact, a leaked Beatles demo just as the band was splitting up.
I’ve never been the world’s biggest Bee Gees fan, but for this alone, Gibb will always be a-okay with me. I just wish that there had been a Fut album, way back when.