Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bee Gees – "Night Fever" (1978)

There is movement all around
There is something goin' down
And I can feel it

In a post that appeared almost exactly one year ago, 2 or 3 lines featured an e-mail written by the coach of my law firm’s coed slow-pitch softball team on the occasion of the team’s season-opening game.  Click here if you missed that post.

That e-mail was a stream-of-consciousness monologue like something out of a Samuel Beckett play.  It barely touched on the softball game itself.  

By the way, I’ve never actually read a Samuel Beckett play, so who knows if that comparison is even remotely accurate.  (Have you ever read a Beckett play?  I didn’t think so.),

Recently our coach circulated an e-mail about this year’s season-opening contest, which he titled “You Can Bet Your Last Money, It's Going To Be a Stone Gas, Honey!  Oh, and We Opened the Season With a Win if You Care.”

(NOTE: The first sentence quoted above was the catchphrase with which the late Don Cornelius closed every episode of Soul Train:)

Here’s the e-mail, which has been scrubbed of all names and other identifying details:

Hard to believe that it’s Opening Day of the softball season again.  Another year of sweating it out in the heat trying to figure out what the “narrative” to each game will be.  (Which, depending on how the game turns out, can be a Herculean task.)  

While the team gathered in the dugout I sat in the stands . . . and just sort of looked around, keeping an eye on my watch since I had a prior engagement to get to at 9PM (which prior engagement I had no intention of missing). 

It was obvious to this writer that our team was going to win this game when the first batter swung away on a ball that went through the infield, and then was flubbed by some bewildered rightfielder.   So the batter just kept running, like a lunatic, until he scored.  

I’ve not seen this batter hit a single that turned into a home run in over eight years.  To me this was an omen, and also the moment I heard the song “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees off in the distance from a car that was passing by which brought back a few memories.  

One in particular was when I was in the second grade and our teacher loved to pass around copies of “Cricket’”magazine, which styles itself as “the New Yorker for children.”  

(NOTE: Cricket was first published in 1973 by the Carus Publishing Company, which publishes 15 different children’s magazines, including Cobblestone and Ladybug.)

The November 1979 issue of "Cricket"
In one issue of “Cricket,” I read that disco was no longer in style – that “disco was dead.”  This caught me as surprise since that was pretty much all we were listening to in Northeast Ohio in the spring of 1981, which was long after the disastrous “Disco Demolition Night” at Comiskey Field in Chicago, which took place on July 12th, 1979. 

Who says baseball is boring?  A radio disc jockey by the name of Steve Dahl (who hated disco music)  got all of Chicago worked up about blowing up disco records in the infield in between games at a White Sox doubleheader.  What resulted was an all-out riot, all because of the fact that a number of people thought that a particular genre of music sucked.  

(NOTE: “Disco Demolition Night” drew a huge crowd of anti-disco fans, thousands of whom ran on to field after Dahl blew up a big pile of disco records.  The explosion and the ensuing riot left the field unplayable.  The White Sox grounds crew spent an hour trying to clean up the mess, but the umpires thought that the playing field was still unsafe and postponed the second game.  The American League president later forfeited the game to the visiting Detroit Tigers.  Here's an ESPN piece about "Disco Demolition Night":)

Why I am thinking about “Cricket” magazine and disco at a time like this?  It’s beyond me.  Let’s focus instead on the subject at hand: Lawyer League Softball.

(NOTE: I’ve deleted the incredibly boring inning-by-inning account of the game, and cut to the chase.)

The final score?  12 to 10 in favor of the good guys. 

After the game I meet up with a buddy down the street (who was a solid four National Bohemian tallboys in) and I mentioned the “Cricket” magazine memory that was triggered by hearing the Bee Gees doing “Night Fever,” in response to which he said (and I quote):

“I do hereby decree 2016 the official summer of disco!  It’s coming back – we’ve waited too long.  Ever since ‘Disco Demolition Night’ in 1979 put the final nail in disco’s coffin, we have suffered through many horrible summers. . . like ‘Cruel Summer’ summer, ‘Macarena’ summer,  ‘Barbie Girl’ summer, ‘La Vida Loca’ summer, ‘Abercrombie and Fitch Girls’ summer,– worst of all – Richard Marx’s ‘Endless Summer Nights’ summer (1988).” 

After this diatribe I walked over to the juke box and played these songs in no particular order: Silver Convention’s “Get Up and Boogie”; Jesse Green’s  “Nice and Slow”; Olivia Newton-John’s “Xanadu,” and “More More More,” by Andrea True Connection. 

[NOTE:  Andrea True was a porn star before she was a disco singer.  Click here to read what 2 or 3 lines had to say about “More, More, More” and Andrea True.]

The summer of softball and disco starts today.  So bust out your roller skates and tube socks because I’m ALL IN!!!!

You can bet your last money, it’s going to be a stone gas, honey,

Signed, Raoul Duke

(NOTE: “Raoul Duke” was the name given to the antihero of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  Duke was clearly based on Thompson himself.)

* * * * *

“Night Fever,” which was released in 1978 on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album, was the third of six consecutive #1 hits for the Bee Gees.  Only the Beatles have had as many consecutive #1 singles.

Here’s the music video for “Night Fever,” which was filmed in 1978 but not released until 2004:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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