If ever I came up with a title that would draw the interest of each and every reader, that was it. You know how when you see the word “sex” on a page – even if it’s in size four font and in Arabic in the middle of a treatise on the Taliban – you see it? The words “Bee Gees” are like that, too. At least for me. I’m sure it’s the same for you.
I just opened the old chest that serves as my coffee table, writing desk, nocturnal stumbling block, and valuables locker and was greeted by the ivory-tusked smiles of Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. It was akin to witnessing a high-powered firework at close range, and once my sight returned a lot of memories came flooding back to me. One memory was more special than the rest – that being the thought of my old Bee Gees belt buckle. All three of them are holding their pants up with the exact same buckle on the front of my “Official Bee Gees Fan Club” folder. Well, not the same buckle, but the same model. Get your head out of the gutter.
This is one striking piece of belt accessory art. The silver Bee Gees logo is featured across a blue, fish-scale holographic background. Impressive, to say the least. Surprisingly, I remember it only cost me six bucks, but that is probably around four or five hundred dollars today.
The year was 1979, and I was a proud member in good standing of the prestigious and highly exclusive Bee Gees fan club – had been for three years, in fact. I even had a homemade shirt with words to that effect stenciled on it. From the first time I heard those hamster-esque falsetto harmonies, I had been hooked. If I would have had chest hair, I would have rocked an unbuttoned silver lamé shirt, just like them. I was highly impressionable at that age, to say the least.
I remember I was in training for a free throw contest at my elementary school. I had a cassette tape player, and I’d walk over to the nearest schoolyard every afternoon and practice my shot and listen to the latest hot tracks from Casey Kasem’s Top 40, which at the time was dominated by the Bee Gees. The basketball goal didn’t have a net, so every time I sunk one, the ball would sail through and bounce away, but I didn’t care. As long as I was listening to three hairy Australians singing disco, I was good. I usually made at least eight out of every ten free throws – most of the time more.
One day, a high school boy came to the court. He wore a Foreigner “4” shirt, which I can still picture clearly. He started saying bad things about how disco and the Bee Gees sucked, and it made me very upset. He had to be wrong. I liked Foreigner, too, so how could I like both groups, but he could only like one? Such is the dilemma of music lovers.
The day of the free throw contest came, and I wore my Bee Gees belt buckle for good luck. It took place at the half-time of a high school game in front of about five hundred people. I was debilitatingly nervous and made only four out of ten, but that was enough to win, surprisingly enough. That night, I went to sleep a free-throw champion, knowing the true source of my ability was my Bee Gees belt buckle.
A short time later, I got incredible news. My uncle had volunteered to take me and my cousins, who were also huge fans, to see the Brothers Gibb on the “Spirits Having Flown” tour at the Myriad Convention Center in Oklahoma City. I almost wept at the news. Screw Red Ryder BB guns – this was what I was getting for Christmas, and I was beside myself with joy, although I would have to wait until August 4th, 1979 for the concert.
The concert was well worth the long wait. The girls screamed every bit as loud as those at a Beatles concert. We were on the uppermost row, but it was still one of the high points of my life.
Where is that belt buckle now, you ask? I wish I knew. The spirits must have flown away with it at some point, but I still have the memories. I went on to worship Metallica and Led Zeppelin in my teenage years, but I was never ashamed of my love for the music of the Bee Gees. Most nine-year-old kids are still drinking from sippy cups. I was training for a career in free throws and disco music. Little did I know both industries were on a downward trend.