Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Donna Summers and Robin Gibb R.I.P.

Two artistes who gave me lots of peace and excitement in my adolescent years through their music were Donna Summers and Robin Gibbs. Donna Summers was irrepressible with her songs. Her 'Love to love you baby' was almost banned for its explicit sounds of orgasmic love making and was an instant hit naturally with all the adolescent kids. It was a good number and one of those tunes you'd never forget. But what I remember Donna Summers most for was for her album 'Bad Girls'. I had borrowed this album, a cassette, from my friend Mani and settled down with it playing on a small cassette player and Mario Puzo's Godfather in my hand on a weekend. As I flipped through the Godfather, reading the novel in amazement, Donna Summers kept crooning side after side after side. The Godfather was one of the few books that I read without a break in those days and almost entirely through the reading of that book Donna Summers kept me company and I remember all those tunes even now. I don't remember the names of those songs though - 'Hot Stuff' was one, 'She works hard for her money' was another that I remember. Donna Summers was a safe bet with racy numbers, catchy lyrics and nice youthful sounds.

Robin Gibb was part of the Beegees which was a group that seized our imagination along with ABBA and Boney M in the late seventies and early eighties. The movie 'Saturday Night Fever' with John Travolta was a rage and all the hit songs were sung by the Beegees. Posters were acquired from the magazines and put up faithfully and cassettes borrowed and songs listened to. 'Stayin Alive', 'How Deep is your love', 'Tragedy'. 'Night Fever' were some of the hit songs of the Beegees that come to mind. I could not understand where the female member was in the group - Barry Gibb's falsetto had me fooled for a long time! But I owned many cassettes - albums and greatest hits, one of Saturday Night Fever and had almost their entire collection with me. The song 'Words' haunted me for almost twenty years and I searched for all the female singers of that generation in the seconds market outside VT in Mumbai - until I found it in one of the Beegees collections!

But more than the Beegees songs I remember Robin Gibb (or was it Andy Gibb) for an album he released solo which I had borrowed from Mani again. there was one particular song that I really liked and I remember listening to that many many times as I slept. I forget the name of the song though the melody is right there - just outside. The group was known to be brilliant songwriters, composers and musicians. I was rather shocked to find that Robin's two brothers, his younger brother Andy Gibb and twin brother Maurice Gibb died in 1988 and 2003 respectively. Robin is survived by his mother and his older brother Barry. The BeeGees are ranked next only to Elvis Presley, Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney in terms of record sales which totalled over 220 million. They were inducted into the 'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame'.

For providing hours of escape into a life I could only imagine and taking us on trips of happiness and ecstasy that only music can take you on, Donna Summers and Robin Gibb, my two partners of another time, a huge thank you. I will now revisit all your music for the next few days!

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