Monday, May 21, 2012

Cusp Song of the Day: Jive Talkin'

Losing two disco icons in one week is heartbreaking. Robin Gibbs' death following so closely on the heels of Donna Summer's means the two will be forever linked, like a 125-beats-per-minute version of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. OK, probably not the best comparison, but honestly, Donna Summer and (one of) the Bee Gees, in the same week? Sorry, Jackson Browne, but that's the true disco apocolypse. I'm less than a decade younger than these influential artists and with their conjoined deaths I can feel my generation moving through the python of time like a dying rat.

But I digress. The purpose of this feature is to spotlight a song that appears in The Cusp of Everything, providing background on its history and its context within the book. Two Bee Gees songs appear in Cusp, both released during its 1975-76 timeframe: the number 1 hit "Jive Talkin'" in Chapter 8 and the sweet "Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)" in Chapter 16more on that one later. The Bee Gees also had a hit with "Nights on Broadway" during this year, an impressively prolific period, but nothing compared to the era-defining success of Saturday Night Fever beginning in 1977. ("Jive Talkin'" is on that soundtrack album as well as Main Course, their 1975 album release, although the song does not appear in the movie.)

The lyrics of "Jive Talkin'" refer to a lovestruck fool being lied to by the woman he cares about; to someone feeling guilty for faking emotions it has a special resonance. The song, a hit in the summer of 1975, plays on a jukebox at the Labor Day closing-night party of Playland, the amusement park where Karen and Patrick have worked and fallen in love.

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