He’s one of pop music’s all-time greatest songwriters and performers. To celebrate Barry Gibb’s 70th birthday, we’ve asked Grammy®-winning producer, remixer and DJ Dave Audé to share his admiration for and addiction to Gibb’s epic hooks, magic and style.
Waves: Do you remember the first time you heard a Bee Gees song?
Dave Audé: “The first time I heard the Bee Gees was when my parents bought the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album, on vinyl of course. I was too young to see the movie, but like everyone else on the planet I was highly addicted to it. Still am!”
What song did you first hear? Were you hooked immediately?
“The obvious answer would be ‘Night Fever’ or ‘Stayin’ Alive,’ but it was a deeper cut – ‘Jive Talkin’ – that was one of the first songs I can remember playing over and over a million times. Remember, there was no repeat function on a turntable, so I had to pick up the needle and manually replay the song every time!”
In his work with the Bee Gees and also with Barbara Streisand, Dionne Warwick and Kenny Rogers, Gibb has shown a tremendous versatility that always carried his own trademark. Can you try and define this trademark?
“If I could easily define that trademark I would probably have a hundred more number ones! For me it was just really, really infectious hooks, solid songwriting, and production that forced the listener to shake their ass (maybe that’s what originally got me into dance music?)”
Apart from some of the greatest disco hits and love songs of all time, what in your opinion is Gibb’s contribution to the world of songwriting, arrangement and music production?
“The Gibbs were a songwriting dream team. They really knew how to hit you right in the heart with melody. I would say their phenomenal “topline” melodies were what really made everything they worked on magical. Also, you can’t forget that Bee Gees vocal sound. NO ONE could emulate those harmonies and Barry’s distinctive falsetto. The vocal production has been matched by no one else since – they were pioneers at the time.”
Where do you hear traces of Gibb’s art in today’s dance music?
“The influence is so obvious. When you have a huge catalog of music as the driving force influencing SIX generations to run to the studio make music, then what you have is almost a new genre. They have SIX DECADES of music! The Billboard Dance Chart was founded in the ‘70s and has been hugely influenced by disco, which was in turn influenced by the Gibbs’ songs and productions. I think we can agree the Gibbs forced an entire generation to dance!”
Professionally, were you ever influenced by his work? How?
“Absolutely: Vocals out front! Not just vocals, but ridiculously original, exceptional vocals. We all want a special vocal sound, and Barry had THAT SOUND!”
If you were to remix a Barry Gibb/Bee Gees song, which one would it be?
“Ha! How about ANYTHING!”