Till My Head Falls Off 01.14.03: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?

For Your Listening Pleasure

Michael Jackson – Off the Wall

News to You

Cody, Jeff and Adam did a great job covering the news this weekend, and I’m too distraught after watching the Raiders knock my Jets out, so take a look at their news recaps for the latest in the world of music.

Although… I think it’s impossible to give too much attention to this little tidbit:

A few months after our favorite gloved freak Michael Jackson compared Tommy Mattola to the devil, the Sony Music head has announced his resignation after 14 years with the company. He is reportedly planning to start a new, artist-friendly record label where, in exchange for their souls, musicians will receive…

Never mind… I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

Maurice Gibb, one third of the Bee Gees, died while awaiting emergency surgery this weekend.

You might be thinking “the Bee Gees?” Come on, right? Weren’t they a DISCO band? Wasn’t he OLD? Of course, he was only 53 years old, they weren’t just a disco band, and believe it or not, there’s a special place in my heart for the Brothers Gibb.

Like many of you, my first exposure to music was whatever my parents were listening to at the time. Mom has always loved pop music: anything that you can dance to, clean to, and sing along with. One prerequisite: for mom to listen to your music, you must have a good voice. Outside of the occasional Rage Against the Machine tune, you’ll usually catch her singing along with Barbra, Celine, Mariah, or a show tune or two.

As far as my father goes, as a little kid, I was always convinced that his musical taste was restricted to the “B”section of our record collection: Beatles, Beach Boys and Bee Gees (with some Billy Joel thrown into the mix here and there). Yes, my records — then tapes and CDs — have always been alphabetized… but you knew that, so don’t even bother being a wiseass about it.

Anyway, my first music memories were listening to Abbey Road and Band on the Run with my dad, who made sure I learned as much Beatles (and Wings, as the case may be) trivia as possible before I even started nursery school. I might have been the only four year old who knew who Pete Best was. I knew all the words to “Octopus’s Garden” and “Here Comes the Sun”, and seeing Steve Martin as dentist Maxwell Edison in the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band movie probably scarred me for life. Of course, this movie didn’t star the Beatles, but rather Billy Preston as Sergeant Pepper, Peter Frampton as Billy Shears, Maurice, Barry and Robin Gibb as the Hendersons, and other assorted stars from Alice Cooper to Steven Tyler, George Burns, Leif Garrett and Frankie Valli.

Laugh all you want, but this was my childhood. Yikes.

Needless to say, I have a special fondness for the Bee Gees, even though I don’t own any of their albums, and haven’t listened to them intentionally in years. “I Started a Joke” is one of the sweetest songs I’ve ever heard — a song that can move you no matter who sings it, from the Bee Gees to Faith No More to the Wallflowers. I’m surprised “New York Mining Disaster” wasn’t played more after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, ’cause it was definitely playing in my head. And while I may have been too young to related to that famous opening scene of Saturday Night Fever, with John Travolta struttin’ to “Staying Alive”, Sesame Street Fever was one of the first albums I owned. Don’t lie, you or your older brothers and sisters had it too.

So, for today, let me respect my mother’s love of good voices and songs you can sing to, along with dad’s affinity for the B-bands, and say thank you to Maurice and the other Brothers Gibb for my fond memories of my musical taste as a kid, before I was old enough to have musical taste of my own.

peace. love. moe.

– Matt

Till My Head Falls Off can be found weekly on 411 Music (old columns are archived in the pull-down menu below). Already hit everything on 411? You can find more from Matthew Michaels at moodspins and 1-42.