Back in 1989, when writer Dave Marsh published The Heart of Rock & Soul, a listing of the 1,001 “greatest singles ever made,” he placed the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” at No. 746, and he referenced a conversation he’d had with Roger Daltrey of the Who in 1978, when the Bee Gees were dominating the charts, led by “Stayin’ Alive.”
Daltrey, Marsh wrote, was “moaning about how much punk ripped off his band’s early records and his own dislike of disco. Particularly the latter.”
And then Marsh quoted Daltrey on ‘Stayin’ Alive”: “Look at great huge Maurice Gibb*, singing like Donald Duck . . . And that’s a great song. Bruce Springsteen could sing that lyric.”
This week in Brisbane, Australia, Springsteen did just that to open the last show of his current tour Down Under. At the Rolling Stone website, Jon Blistine describes “Springsteen strumming a simple acoustic progression alongside a crisp trumpet solo before delivering the track’s familiar first line in his classic, gruff bellow that’s still just as sharp as Barry Gibb’s falsetto.”
And then: “The E Street Band slides into bustling disco boogie, complete with soaring back-up singers, a striking string section and a revolving door of solos from the horn section. Tom Morello even shows off on the fretboard with some of the most blistering, head-spinning guitar work ever heard on a Bee Gees track.”
Here a crowd-shot video of the performance. (Check out the professional camera to the right of the string section: A harbinger of a concert DVD?)
*Daltrey misidentified the lead singer on “Stayin’ Alive.” It was, as Blistine notes, Barry Gibb.
Tags: Bruce Springsteen