No one really knew what was to come when the Bee Gees released their LP, Main Course. The Bee Gees were on comeback #2 by this point and after having an album of theirs rejected and unreleased 2 years earlier, they were making a slow steady climb back to the top. This album was their second produced by Arif Mardin, and it followed their commercially disappointing LP, Mr. Natural. But the opening single, Jive Talkin, took off and hit #1. Released as single #2, Night On Broadway hit the Top 10 and while everyone was rejoicing, it still didn’t hint at the dominance the Brothers Gibb would have over the late 70s.
One thing it did do was hint at what became Barry’s signature (and most mocked) sound when he riffs towards the end of the song in his warbly falsetto. Believe it or not, The Bee Gees racked up lots of hits without Barry hitting those high notes. But soon the Bee Gees would be forever linked to that sound. And it’s all because Arif told Barry told let loose and do some screaming towards the end.
But more importantly this is was the first song I learned on the Lowery organ that we bought at Nelson Varon’s Music Center. We got a one keyboard level organ for Christmas 1979 after walking by the store in the Sunrise Mall and hearing the salesman playing over & over. I bought 2 songbooks as well: The Best of ABBA and the Best Of The Bee Gees [the best only going up to 1976] I don’t know why I was obsessed with learning Nights On Broadway. Maybe it was the funky opening, the mellow breakdown in the middle or the chance to sing as high as I could and annoy everyone who was sleeping. All I know is that for a moment I was a Gibb brother in a world where the Bee Gees could do no wrong, singing those ‘straight to the heart songs‘.
I don’t what happened to those songbooks. But we have still have that organ at my mom’s house. And every once and while I power it up, set the cheesy rhythm box to disco and play those opening chords. And if I fuck it up, I just blame it on the nights on Broadway.