“The Bee Gees: How Can you Mend a Broken Heart?” (HBO Max)

This wonderful documentary about these extraordinarily talented three brothers (and later a fourth) is more than just a recounting of their musical careers. It is about the creative process, the roots of Disco, and the zeitgeist of the era. Unfortunately the Bee Gees seem to have held a lesser place in the pantheon of Twentieth Century popular music, but the film suggests that is undeserved. They were much more than Disco which grew to be so disparaged.(we see footage of a 1979 Disco Demolition Night at a Chicago ball park that culminated in a riot). They have written over a thousand songs for at least two decades made popular by hugely diverse singers: Dolly Parton, Al Green, Barbara Streisand, Dionne Warwick and on and on. Barry Gibbs is the only brother alive and he is still performing. Part of the tremendous appeal of the film is the genuine charm and honesty of the brothers. Frank Marshall’s expert and sensitive direction keeps the movie well paced and thoughtfully filmed. It’s worth a trial HBO membership. Ear worm advisory: I was hearing Bee Gee songs all the next day and for at least two days my mantra was “Stayin’ Alive” (but that’s a good thing.)

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