Read Online:

In 1977, when the Bee Gees wrote their hit song “Stayin’ Alive,” that’s very much what the band itself was doing — and it gave the group something in common with a composer who was faced with flagging popularity more than 200 years earlier: George Frideric Handel.

The Bee Gees were one of most successful bands of the late 1960s and early ’70s, with hits including “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” “Words” and 1971’s “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” their first number one song in the U.S.

Then, in the mid ’70s, the popularity of soft rock began yielding to the soaring disco craze, and the Bee Gees seemed dead in the water. But after a couple of down years, the band emerged with a new, disco-ready image. With their music for the 1977 movie hit Saturday Night Fever, the Bee Gees were back on top; the film launched three number one songs, including “Stayin’ Alive.”

Back in the 1720s and early ’30s, Handel had become a musical star by exploiting the runaway popularity of Italian opera in the theaters of London. He composed a long list of hit operas, all using much the same formula: strings of brilliant arias for the world’s most acrobatic singers.

Wow. Sometimes I’m just astounded at the connections someone can make to write an exciting and “relevant” (don’t get me going about that word!) intro to an article.

2 Comments

  1. Ah, so you read the blurb on Semele as well?

  2. Yep, and it’s sure a stretch!