Jive Talkin’

18 May

Bee Gees Documentary: In Our Own Time

BBC1: April 24th, 2011

Available to watch on BBC iPlayer

A musical journey from childhood fame to the discovery of Barry’s unique falsetto voice which gave the band their Disco Kings title.

The story of Maurice, Barry and Robin Gibb told through their own eyes and those closest to them.

I didn’t quite catch the title and spent the first half hour of a two hour show thinking I was watching a Beatles documentary.

It’s all well and good celebrating your influences, but come on boys, give yourself some credit. But I suppose when you’re one of the most successful groups of all time, with 220 million records sold and countless Brits and Grammys under your belt, you don’t mind sharing the attention.

The Gibb’s brothers display all of their dirty laundry in a touching, confessional way through personal home videos and interviews with their mother and wives. We see their childhoods, their marriages, their good times and their tragedies. Andy Gibb’s death is handled with a reflective acceptance, as the brothers’ laugh about old times, their bond genuine.

More of a Brothers Gibb family scrapbook, the documentary lacks in creative flare where it gains in poignant honesty. The documentary is made all the more moving with the short interview with Maurice Gibb’s, filmed shortly before his death in 2003.

You don’t have to be a Bee Gee’s fan to enjoy the documentary; interviews with various affluent names in the music industry and a look at the British invasion in the sixties invites a range of music lovers.

Perhaps a little too similar to the bands 2000 DVD biography This Is Where I Came In, the documentary could be seen as a mere stepping stone from their previous lily pad. Yet such potent power of the Gibb’s trio with their stories of the dizzy heights of superstardom told through matter-of-fact modesty as they openly admit to clinging to the coattails of The Beatles, we can forgive them.

Eagle Rock Entertainment, the producers behind the documentary, make no effort to define the hazy footage from the sixties and seventies, yet this gives the clips authenticity and reminds us of the instantly recognizable scene in Saturday Night Fever which shot the brothers to fame quicker than John Travolta could swivel those hips.

If anything, In Our Own Time reminds us of a fading treasure. Marking an end to an era with the sudden death of Maurice, it manages to display the breadth of their musical talent through constant excerpts of their countless hits. It may leave you wanting to don your gold shell suit with the zip down with a one way ticket to Discoville… or it may not.

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