January 15, 2011 – 8:47 am

When the Bee Gees released their Idea album in 1968, they were no longer novices. They already had hits such as Holiday, New York Mining Disaster, To Love Somebody, World and Massachusetts behind them. While Idea spawned the hit single, I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You, a tale from the point of view of a man in death row, the album also generated the enigmatic I Started A Joke, which went to No. 1 in Canada, New Zealand, Denmark and Brazil. It only went as high as No. 6 in the US chart.

I started a joke
which started the whole world crying
But I didn’t see
that the joke was on me, oh no

I started to cry
which started the whole world laughing
Oh if I’d only seen
that the joke was on me

I looked at the skies
running my hands over my eyes
And I fell out of bed
hurting my head
from things that I’d said

Till I finally died
which started the whole world living
Oh if I’d only seen
that the joke was on me

I looked at the skies
running my hands over my eyes
And I fell out of bed
hurting my head
from things that I’d said

Till I finally died
which started the whole world living
Oh if I’d only seen
that the joke was on me

What in the world were Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb thinking of when they worked on this song? Though mainly written and sung by Robin, Barry has said some fans think it is about religion.

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Click here for Contest No. 1

Click here for Contest No. 2


  2. weird

    By jeff mendenhall on Jan 15, 2011

  3. Remember when Faith No More covered this song?

    By Phil on Jan 15, 2011

  4. Hey… I’m pissed. And people are laughing at me. And I’m stoned to hell. And they’re still laughing. No idea wtf is going on, ‘cept… oh, shit, i’ve fallen out of bed. My head. Jeez but it hurts. Stop laughing you bastards. Anyone got a beer?

    By tony on Jan 15, 2011

  5. outstanding artists :)

    By peter on Jan 15, 2011

  6. I think we may have a number one hit here boys :)

    By Steve on Jan 15, 2011

  7. Its all about stupid people buying anything an artist sings. they are rich because stupid people buy the stuff without knowing. I’m off to get another beer.

    By Meatmallet on Jan 15, 2011

  8. Maybe the song is about the minor unkown and un-named brother Gibb that Robin is gesturing to in the picture.

    By Daij on Jan 15, 2011

  9. Rhino just has beautifully remastered the original into one CD that has all the original thirteen songs in Stereo and Mono. These are different sounding recordings and not simply Stereo condensed into Mono.

    By hosifeat on Jan 15, 2011

  10. To me the song is like Johns -In My Life, someone looking back sadly, with a broken heart.

    By tom gelfuso on Jan 15, 2011

  11. strange

    By paul on Jan 15, 2011

  12. Beautiful song. Still have the 45. If it was written today, you could say it’s about George W. Bush, especially the last verse.

    By Dennis on Jan 15, 2011

  13. popstars with an unusual sense of humour?

    By andros on Jan 15, 2011

  14. The perils of celebrity?

    By Tony Scop on Jan 15, 2011

  15. I do not know what were they thinking when they wrote this song. But One thing I can tell you for sure: I have never liked it. It is very different, the “Melody” soundtrack, all the Bee Geees songs are beautiful, or the “Bee Gees Greatest hits”, -the yellow one- which contains beautiful songs as well.

    By Alberto on Jan 15, 2011

  16. At first it sounds like someone who did or said something inappropriate and is paying a bit of a price of being socially outcast. Then maybe it’s all a dream or a paranoid mind thinking/fearing the above?

    The Bee Gees were a bit before my time. The Disco scene was in full swing when I was an adolescent so that’s how I usually think of their music. Never really examined their lyrics much…

    By steve22 on Jan 15, 2011

  17. If you ask me the jokes on us because after 43 years we’re still talking about this song. Strange lyrics…great song.

    By Dick Cole on Jan 15, 2011

  18. i think it’s about being a rock band

    By StlouieLou on Jan 15, 2011

  19. The Bee Gees in the 60’s were great. “In the Morning” is sublime.

    As for what this song means, I dunno. But Jesus was set up.

    By Mainer on Jan 15, 2011

  20. You can find everything in yourself

    By paco on Jan 15, 2011

  21. The Bee Gees were light-years ahead of their time. The last verse is about an old man who worked 3 jobs all his life to support his family only to find out he’s “expendable” according to Obamacare’s death panel (gotta save those welfare clients first)…

    By TDC on Jan 15, 2011

  22. Could it be that the subject got drunk, said hurtful things about someone in drunken jest, awoke to realize that indeed he was the fool and crawled away to hide?

    By Frank on Jan 15, 2011

  23. I like the drug reference better.

    By Frank on Jan 15, 2011

  24. I always thought this song was just about embarrassment.

    Either way, these early Bee Gees numbers really are lyrically a lot darker, deeper than much of the pop songs of the time.

    By Sam on Jan 15, 2011

  25. It’s about depression. The early Bee Gees often favoured melancholy songs, probably because of Robin’s naturally melancholic voice.

    By Eugene on Jan 15, 2011

  26. This may be the boys attempted at trying to get in touch with their inner-Henny Youngman.

    By Dean Esgrow on Jan 15, 2011

  27. It has to be about how things changed after Kennedy’s assassination. All of the cryptic lyrics ever written are about that topic :)

    By Tim on Jan 15, 2011

  28. It’s the story of human beings.

    By Eugene on Jan 16, 2011

  29. I always wondered if it was a commentary about the beginnings of strain in relationships with the brothers and damage words can do.

    By Greg on Jan 16, 2011

  30. I believe that the lyrics may be tied to the artist singing about not fitting in and being misunderstood in this big world of ours…

    By Brian on Jan 16, 2011

  31. Seems to me hes just being remorsful about choosing the music profession. I f thats the case…I think hes right

    By Paul M. Crabb on Jan 16, 2011

  32. I think the song is about the “butterfly effect”, which in this case is that trivial things we might say can be misconstrued to have potentially devastating effects on others.

    By Dave on Jan 16, 2011

  33. i think the song is about regret and embarrasment of doing something and feeling like the only one who can forgive you is G-d. A deep song considering the went from that and 1941 mining disaster to “Jive Talkin”.

    By Walter O on Jan 16, 2011

  34. Live your own life and dont worry about others.Then the joke will be on them!

    By Ron on Jan 16, 2011

  35. The Bee Gees were fond around this time of somber ballads with vaguely psychedelic lyrics, often sung overemotively (”Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You,” “First Of May.”) Psychedelic music focused almost totally inward toward self-discovery, consistent with drugs’ promise to raise consciousness and intensify personality.

    Keeping this in mind, this song to me speaks of someone who feels alien to his surroundings. He attempts to connect through humor and they don’t understand his. He attempts to connect through shared pain and dissatisfaction but they’ve gone past it to cynicism and nihilism. The bridge of the song clarifies this, the hurting on his head being confusion. What do they want from me? Why can’t I relate?

    The end of the song is a fantasy speaking to the obvious conclusion. The world never clarifies what it wants but clearly states (to him anyway) what it didn’t want - him in it. That was the joke - fashion and groupthink kept the singer steps from full acceptance.

    “Stayin’ Alive,” for all its overplay, was this songs total opposite lyrically, a statement of working class resilience and survival consistent with a guy working in a paint shop becoming king of the disco every Saturday night.

    It’s a guess but as good as any other.

    By trivialtony on Jan 16, 2011

  36. Absolutely no idea what this is about but enjoying reading the thread and everyone’s vivid imagination

    By confused! on Jan 16, 2011

  37. I always assumed it was about the nuclear bomb.

    By Doug O on Jan 16, 2011

  38. I think it’s about Jesus reflecting on his life on earth. People rejected his message taking it as a joke. After his crucifixion he set the whole world living. Who knows?

    By Malcolm on Jan 16, 2011

  39. It’s a story about life. Full circle. Then after death life still goes on.

    By cowgill on Jan 16, 2011

  40. See, Andy told us he’d be back!

    By Terry on Jan 16, 2011

  41. I think it is about richard pryor and sam kninson…stephen wright and lenny bruce…tom lehrer and mort sahl..I think it is about the pain of not being understood.

    By sluggo on Jan 16, 2011

  42. lonely days, lonely nights……

    By raybanjan on Jan 16, 2011

  43. Although I grew up listening and enjoying their early pre-disco sounds, I have never really paid much attention to them or their “hits”. I do remember one of them being religiously inclined and with that in mind, I would surmise this song may be a reflection of a miss-understood historical Jesus. If that was the intention, it was cleverly executed and performed. That’s why it was a hit.

    By Deak on Jan 16, 2011

  44. Could be about Adolf Hitler, a brutal dictator who committed heinous crimes, may have been deeply conflicted about it (there are indications he may have Jewish blood in his lineage), and whose death was a relief to the world.

    By kingpossum on Jan 16, 2011

  45. Reminds me of those moments when you wonder at the reality of being who you are and then step outside of that shell and amaze at the imensity of the universe and reality and the ultimate insignificance of our place in it. Here’s what Robin Gibb had to say about it: The idea for the song came when I was sitting on a plane over Germany, and I heard a melody in the droning of the engine. As soon as I got on the ground that night I completed the song with Barry and Maurice. To me, that was a very spiritual song, about faith and survival in life. It wasn’t a love song, it was one of the first songs we wrote about struggling to survive emotionally alone in the world.

    By kayray on Jan 16, 2011

  46. Just 3 good Aussie Kids Making Good

    By barrie on Jan 16, 2011

  47. I always thought as a child that it was some love song that I wasn’t old enough to understand. Robin may not have meant it as such but I still think of it that way!

    By Brian on Jan 16, 2011

  48. I have to tell you; being on earth for 40+ years (and rethinking about if for a few minutes again just now)- I still have no idea what the Hell this song is really about…

    By Jeff B on Jan 16, 2011

  49. It was all about the money. Face it, commercialism rules the entertainment industry. This song was just aimed at a segment of the population not previously targetted.

    By John T on Jan 16, 2011

  50. The song is clearly about beer. Or more generally about the trails and travails of alcoholism.

    Maybe drug abuse, too. But definitely about beer.

    By Pee 'n' Buddha on Jan 16, 2011

  51. Don’t know about the lyrics but I think the little guy on the right is saying “Hey, I’ve just joined the BeeGees”.

    By sebrof on Jan 16, 2011

  52. Wow…this is heavy…this is a very sporitual song about, according to Robin Gibb, “Faith and Survivial; struggling to survive emotionally alone in the world”. I JUST got back from seeing “The Fighter” and the main actor sings this song to his mother after she witnesses him jumping out of a second story window of a crack house…she was soooo sad and crying watching her kid sink to that level, but still loves him so much. They end up singing the song together as they drive off.

    Marc A.

    By Marc A. on Jan 16, 2011

  53. seems that is IS a religious song, probably about Jesus Christ….

    By Tom on Jan 16, 2011

  54. For when it was written, inteh late 1960’s… I think they were trying to be a little more introspective… and trying hard to compete with The Beatles SGT PEPPERS and The Beach Boys PET SOUNDS.

    Good idea, it just didnt work out that way. Somewhere/somehow, it got lost in translation

    By The Russian Assassin on Jan 16, 2011

  55. The Faith No More version was fantastic.

    By Mike McLaughlin on Jan 16, 2011

  56. It just sounds like it’s about depression to me. In any case, it’s the only pre-disco Bee Gees song that I like!

    By psykomyko on Jan 17, 2011

  57. I hated the faith no more version….it sucked out loud…

    By jumpthejim on Jan 17, 2011

  58. Life goes on - stuff happens- then you die….

    By NAMoosedog on Jan 17, 2011

  59. Holy cats! I think trivialtony hit it right on the head. I was a HUGR BGs fan in the late 60s and HATED it when they “went disco”. That later stuff was so vapid compared to the material they wrote early on.

    By Golgo Hakase on Jan 17, 2011

  60. J J J Jive Talkin’

    By Louis Porco on Jan 17, 2011

  61. I always thought it was about money

    By Keith on Jan 17, 2011

  62. I remember taking the lyrics apart in
    an English class in Jr. High back in ‘68.
    The speaker was a businessman who spent
    his life chasing money and power at the
    expense of both the general public
    and his own personal life/family.
    What can I say? It was the 60s.

    By Esad331/3 on Jan 17, 2011

  63. drugs

    By king69 on Jan 17, 2011

  64. about jokes turned to errors and the sometimes serious consequences

    By kleingerd on Jan 17, 2011

  65. According to somebody on the net ( it’s a song about “an inner moral dilemma” or smoething like that. I’m not that convinced, though.

    By frank on Jan 17, 2011

  66. Yep, it could be about Jesus and if the question is ‘was he set up’ then of course he was set up by the ‘greater being’. Lyrically quite clever I think.

    By Mick on Jan 17, 2011

  67. whatever they were thinking about, they had been out in the Californian sun too long and needed to come back to England

    By Michael on Jan 17, 2011

  68. I remember buying the 45 of “Lonely Days.”
    Lot of sadness in those early BG tunes.

    By Fortwaldron on Jan 17, 2011

  69. It’s a song about the cycle of life, the endless paradoxes of tragedy and comedy and how sometimes they are the same thing.

    By mickandkeef on Jan 17, 2011

  70. finding out the hard way that no matter how much fame and fortune, the world doesn’t revolve around you?

    By rog on Jan 17, 2011

  71. It’s about analysing oxymoron and paradox and ironically getting it almost totally right.

    By Glenn on Jan 18, 2011

  72. Now my head hurts from trying to figure the lyrics out !

    By Bruce on Jan 18, 2011

  73. I must assume from the picture of Buddy Christ with the Gibb brothers that we are comparing the song to the Christian religion. I never made that association from listening to this song with the forlorn singing and the guy just really bummed because he doesn’t fit in. If I block all that out and just read the lyrics I can see where someone could take the line about ‘when he died the world started living’ out of context from the rest and make the Jesus comparison but when did Jesus fall out of bed and hurt his head.
    You have to take all the lyrics, not just some to make this argument. Was Humpty Dumpty in the old or new Testament?
    So no, I don’t think this song is about religion. But I do think that Uriah Heep’s Demons & Wizards is.

    By Sking on Jan 18, 2011

  74. This song is simply great.
    One of the best hit songs from all time :)

    By Rochacrimson on Jan 18, 2011

  75. I don’t give the BeeGees credit for being such deep thinkers, rather the song is more the result of a dream. Perhaps the increasing popularity of the group was giving them pause.

    By Jay Bartlett on Jan 18, 2011

  76. It could be about anything - sort of like a fortune cookie.

    By Menu on Jan 18, 2011

  77. It´s all about John Lennon and the “Bigger than Jesus” - joke

    By BeL on Jan 18, 2011

  78. It’s about Christ’s reflections on the cross just before his crucifiction.

    By Kent Wepner on Jan 18, 2011

  79. I really identified with this song in my teen years. Just the depressed feeling the world being against me and wondering if my absence would make things any better. I’m really glad to not be in that mindset anymore, but that’s what I heard in this song.

    By linuus41 on Jan 18, 2011

  80. If it is about Jesus, then what is the joke? Love thy neighbor as thyself? Real laugher, that!

    By Jeremy Shatan on Jan 18, 2011

  81. I liked this song when it was on the radio. I think it is about the Viet Nam War. Not that the war was a joke, but that it was a lie, just like all the wars the US has been involved in since.

    By Aking on Jan 19, 2011

  82. I think it’s a silly song masquerading brilliantly as something very serious. The lyrics suggest there’s something to cry about even while you want to laugh at the comically overblown caricature of alienation (I die and the world starts living), and not being able to do anything right (people crying at your jokes; the bit about falling out of bed). I’ll bet they got the idea from “Nowhere Man” by the Beatles, only they figured they’d try for something even more bleak. What they ended up with sounds more like a piss-take. How Robin could sing “I finally died, which started the whole world living” with a straight face is beyond me. I mean, he’s suggesting he’s some kind of pagan sacrifice like The Wicker Man which the rest of us need to sustain our own lives, thus guilt-tripping us into sympathizing with him. How ironic that they sing a song about alienation and in return they get mass acceptance in the form of a hit, thus adding a contradiction in real life to the rest of the contradictions in the song (laughing-crying, living-dying, joke on him-joke on us). Those Gibbs were smarter and occasionally more subversive than we give them credit for being. How else could three Aussies eventually dominate the world’s radios by sounding like ghetto pimps?

    By Jim Kneubuhl on Jan 20, 2011

  83. It is a great example of how melody trumps lyrics in most songs…the lyrics are senseless, but we’ve sang them without question for decades…in order to sing that catchy melody.

    By AR on Jan 20, 2011

  84. Its a song about love and life, living and dying and the realization that nothing really matters in the end - the joke was on me!

    By Adam Dean on Jan 20, 2011

  85. Even at the tender age of eleven I remember thinking “What in the world were Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb thinking?” Or at least “What on earth does THAT mean?” But then, I didn’t understand “Let’s Spend the Night Together” either.

    “I Started a Joke” is pretty serious self-pitying, which I related to then and still do.

    By Will R. on Jan 20, 2011

  86. The song is actually about Don Rickles. Barry and the brothers met Don in Vegas while they were playing there and they saw the impact that Don’s ascerbic humor had on, not on the audience, but humanity in general. Today, in the 21st Century, is it impossible for Don to perform his trademark politically incorrect humor, and that makes this song by the Brothers Gibb even more prophetic.

    By Bilko2720 on Jan 20, 2011

  87. Oh, brother - I’ve pondered this one occasionally over the years… and none of my thoughts can top some of the fascinating ideas here. Well, in for a dime, in for a dollar…

    I see the essence of the vain struggle of a deep, intense person in world of superficiality (see Jackson Pollock for instance… I don’t get him, either).

    Everyman simply isn’t interested in your jokes and your pains, so don’t bother going for the accolades: look beyond this self-obsessed, shallow world.

    Only when you’ve awakened (hah! we really need Buddy Buddha here!) to the futility in your words and your crowd-focused objectives, and let go of and given up on both Mrs. Grundy and American Bandstand, will your inner life know genuine peace and satisfaction (Buddy Mick?) and the reward of joy for joy’s sake.

    O watagu saiam…

    Detach and simplify, man! Om…

    By A. Gene Childe on Jan 20, 2011

  88. Maybe these lads were on something. It was the late 60’s afterall.

    By Daniel van Kollenburg on Jan 20, 2011

  89. Having read (and enjoyed) the responses (I originally thought it could be Christ like several of the respondents, but I’d tend to agree it’s a personal reflection on struggle(which of course we can all apply to our own, or someone else’s life).

    By John on Jan 20, 2011

  90. It’s all about the chain of communication. What I tell you, you tell someone else and they tell somebody else, and so on and so on, till what we hear at the end has nothing to do with what we said at the beginning.

    By Glenn on Jan 20, 2011

  91. I have always thought that the song was very straightforward in meaning. It simply about the kind of regret a person feels in the morning when a person recalls what they said and did the night before while drunk at a party. Of course, the meaning applies to a broader range of situations then the ‘morning after’. It refers to any time we undertake something (e.g., a romance, a new project, a new direction in life, etc.) in a light-hearted, unthinking way (=the joke) and realize that this new undertaking should have been given much more reflection.
    Another similar interpretation would be the situation in which one starts gossip/a rumour about somebody else and in so doing reveals what an idiot the person is in starting gossip/rumours.
    There are other possible variations on this theme. Maybe in a word, it is about - karma…

    By phil merklinger on Jan 21, 2011

  92. I think they all got stoned and freaked out at 4 in the morning when they realized that they were getting old…

    By Sandy on Jan 21, 2011

  93. It’s about how opposites attract. :b

    By Jeff Soldout on Jan 21, 2011

  94. Afraid I can’t come up with anything original - but I must say I like the Jesus and morning-after regrets theories the best. I’ve always loved this song, though, more for the wonderful melody than for the lyrics.

    By MrBill on Jan 21, 2011

  95. Barry Gibb said the song is written from the point of view of the Devil.

    By WMHH on Jan 21, 2011

  96. If I only had my mind on something else…

    By George Martini on Jan 21, 2011

  97. On one hand, it could be a rumination about how society wants to tear their heroes down. His actions throughout the song are misconstrued by the people.

    I like the theory that this is about Christ, and how his death started the whole world living. It doesn’t explain the bit about him falling out of bed, but a switch to a middle eight does often change the point of view a bit.

    By Klinger on Jan 21, 2011

  98. I reckon it is indeed a dig at religion - probably focussing on the legend of Jesus - ref the line “Till I finally died which started the whole world living”.

    By AlanK on Jan 22, 2011

  99. it’s about 3 minutes or it’s about anything you want it to be about. this was the age of dylan and sgt. pepper and’s vague and timeless as was/is so much of the best of music from this or an time period

    By johnny dumfries on Jan 22, 2011

  100. Often songs do not mean anything - just words to fill the time.

    By Graham on Jan 22, 2011

  101. I finally died
    which started the whole world living
    Oh if I’d only seen
    that the joke was on me

    I’m Jesus, and the world is living with so much suffering and amid so much evil.

    By Don Kikta on Jan 23, 2011

  102. The Dark Side Of The Bee Gee

    By MurrayK on Jan 24, 2011

  103. The same year they cut a song called “Things go better with coke” (in two versions, none the less). Doesn’t it explain it all?
    And for the die hards among you: be sure that you snap up the stereo mix of ‘I started a joke’. It lasts 4 seconds longer than the mono mix!

    By Dutch John on Jan 25, 2011

  104. ..well i think at that time their peak was still to come…seems they still tried to find their way. i prefer the bee gees in the seventies…

    By tilman Hägele on Jan 25, 2011

  105. This is a very depressing song; but not as depressing as their disco period. I used to wear a “T”-shirt that said “How Long Can Disco On”. Thankfully not long at all.

    By Ty on Jan 25, 2011

  106. I started a joke but i forgot it !

    By pascal on Jan 25, 2011

  107. The Bee Gees were very spiritual guys and this song could be simply about right and wrong, truth and lies. It can be your undoing and make a fool of you.

    By Les on Jan 26, 2011

  108. Since the joke is not described, it begs many interpretations by a listener. Many good and bad songs use vague strong words without much description to put the word in a particular context.

    For example, I chose a profession and became an overnight sensation. My ego grew and my meteoric rise to fame and fortune, suddenly changed and I then became a fool, loser, a joke. Having hit a publicly acknowledged fall from grace, been ridiculed and laughed at; I decided that since I am such a joke, I might as well die. The world does not love me anymore. Oh, boo hoo.

    By Jaltheimpaler on Jan 26, 2011

  109. sounds like a harmless joke that went very very wrong.

    By eli koch on Jan 26, 2011

  110. What were they thinking?

    Drugs are bad!

    By The Russianassassin on Jan 26, 2011

  111. I always thought it was political–some political leader who wasn’t taken seriously, then rose to unexpected heights of power. eventually, he became a despot and was overthrown.

    By Mumford on Jan 26, 2011

  112. Seems to be a circular theme to the lyrics: joke, laughing, crying, hurting, death and, finally, living. I take it as their attempt to cover a range of human conditions and emotions.

    By Thibbs on Jan 26, 2011

  113. It’s about sex drugs & rock n roll. Isn’t what the Bee Gees were all about?

    By James on Jan 27, 2011

  114. It’s either about me or Bob Dylan. I intended death at 18. Was angry with the guy who found me on the sidewalk after I was unconscious. After I awoke in the hospital, cops told me it was illegal for me to do what I did. Hah! What were they gonna do? Would they put my body in a cell?? Then they discovered I had one of the worst cases of Mono they’d ever seen. Ended up in bed for 2 months trying to recover. Had to drop out of college and never made it back. So my feelings weren’t true, the joke was on me.

    By 2yrsnojob on Jan 27, 2011

  115. I sometimes wonder whether lyrics are important at all - as long as the song sounds right and the rythmn is maintained that’s good. It’s all about the music. I prefer to just listen to the music and that’s what is important. If the words were that important, why put them to music at all? Just call it poetry.

    By Daij on Jan 28, 2011

  116. Could have the joke been a pre-Bush bash event?

    By Garu on Jan 28, 2011

  117. Who writes this rubbish boys

    By fred on Jan 28, 2011

  118. I have never believed “the joke” was anything other than a parody
    of the Christ story.
    There is a real attempt to communicate with everyone but “as the joke was on me”, as stated in the lyrics, was the story of the demise of His time on earth. The interpretation may be crude but it fits the narrative well.

    By John P McNea III on Jan 28, 2011

  119. Ah the Bee Gees. the greatest threat to the established order….apparently. Where’s the JD.

    By Mescalero on Jan 28, 2011

  120. Just illustrating that most endeavours come back to bite you on the bum, karma style, if you were not doing something “good” such as taking the piss or joking at something.

    By john on Jan 29, 2011

  121. the song is aboutBarry Gibb…he is a magnificent joke…pure vanity ao a grand, ridiculous scale.

    By cartoon pete on Jan 29, 2011

  122. scuse the spelling….tiny mobile keyboard + ageing old ‘head’…

    By cartoon pete on Jan 29, 2011

  123. The song is about realizing that people take everything way to serious and that it is all one big joke.

    By John on Feb 1, 2011

  124. I think it was about the joke that is that horrible falsetto singing that became the trademark of the Bee Gees during Saturday Night Fever time….

    Oh, how I hated that singing, how I hated the songs, how i hated the fact that they were EVERYWHERE… you couldn’t get away from those sngs in 1977 - 1979 and I hated them and I swore I would never own a Bee Gees record or song.

    Then slowly over the years, I found out that a song here, a song there, that I really liked, was written by the Bee Gees.. curse them… and finally I realised that I was starting to like their records when I heard them on the radion… even the disco-era songs that I loathed so much… and then one day, it happened… I bought the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album… and enjoyed it..

    that, my friends, is the joke.. that some of us thought they were crap, thought they were horrible, talentless…etc… but they weren’t.. they are and were extremely talented writers and performers.. and so.. THEY WON LOL

    By Donny Ozzmond on Feb 1, 2011

  125. Schadenfreude, baby.

    By Simon on Feb 3, 2011

  126. I think they were trying too hard to be poetic, yet simple. It seems as if this person, the writer/singer, is feeling sorry for himself, realizing that he had made alot of bad choices and decisions in his life, and of course comes to this realization much too late, as he is looking back upon his life. But in the much larger & grand scheme of our existence, was it maybe all for the greater good of mankind?? Who knows?? I’m not sure I even understand what I just wrote.

    By Big Willie on Feb 6, 2011

  127. Hello Peter Pumpkin
    Your email address does not work: “Recipient address rejected: Access denied”. Kindly provide another email address. Thanks.

    By bigozine2 on Feb 10, 2011

  128. This is a no B.S. comment.

    By Phideaux3 on Feb 10, 2011

  129. I don’t see it goes any deeper than a man losing the woman he loves..

    By ed on Feb 11, 2011

  130. The Bee Gees started a joke that lasted way too long.

    By Jonathan Richstein on Feb 20, 2011

  131. the Bee Gees suck more than sucking itself. kill them all NOW!

    By Skeletor on Feb 24, 2011

  132. From ‘The Ultimate biography of the Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb’: Although Robin has claimed that the melody was inspired by the sounds he heard in a jet engine, he has always steadfastly refused to explain the evocative lyrics. ‘I started a Joke’ has to be the prime example of the abstract Gibb lyric that everyone can read something into and, it would seem, nearly everyone did

    By pblaq on Feb 27, 2011

  133. I think it is wrong to try to find deep meaning in every song. This is pop music and not Bob Dylan style lyrics. A song is words and music, so I think it is what works for the songwriter at the time and sounds good. Not shallow but not too deep either.

    By Texas Tom on Mar 1, 2011

  134. I think the link to Christianity is a key. Maybe Robin had a messianic complex? There’s certainly a salvation by sacrifice thing going on.

    By Peter on Mar 4, 2011

  135. It could be reminiscing about an unfulfilled life.

    By goldminer on Mar 9, 2011

  136. maybe its about a mix of religion and his brotherly relationships, and the two themes are intertwined?

    By Keith on Mar 18, 2011

  137. Can’t say I ever took it seriously.

    By Randy on Mar 18, 2011

  138. This song is obviously about Jesus on drugs.

    By stupiddle on Mar 24, 2011

  139. Arrogance and false pride. He looked down on others and felt nothing of other people’s troubles, save amusement. Only after his downfall did he wake up to what was happening around him, and in the death of his arrogance he finally saw the vibrant living world he had been blind to.

    Very zen, if you want to see it that way. Or very Christian, if you want to see it that way. Once he demolishes his old belief system and accepts the paradoxes of his individualism (and the song’s), he can negate his own will and become part of something bigger. Like, “Jive Talking.”

    By Dave on Mar 29, 2011

  140. This is a strange song, especially for the Bee Gee’s. It could have religious overtones but the surrounding lyrics don’t support religion in any way that I see.This song is a strange one.

    By Willie on Apr 17, 2011

  141. Strikes me as a comment on the strange duality and dichotomy of life. As a songwriter myself, I know sometimes you can’t or don’t want to get things too exact - you want to leave some room for people to think and interpret on their own, what you are writing. I feel this might be what they did here.

    By Dave Berlinger on May 9, 2011

  142. ok so maybe dylan didnt only turn the beatles onto weed. maybe he turned the beegees onto it too. haha. clearly robin was partaking of the combustibles while writing. his songs tend to seem deeper and more profound while one is higher. perhaps they feel that way in the writing stages as well. there is no way that anyone can claim that the odessa album was written or recorded straight. i wont believe it. and now that it has been rereleased with all the extra bonus material… i think it just proves my point. robin is my favorite beatle. (wink)
    odessa is my fave bgs cd and holiday is my fave bgs song.

    By darth on Jun 22, 2011

  143. Religio narcissicism? I am the messiah who died for the world after a night of partying.

    By Patrick Edmondson on Aug 1, 2011

  144. It could be taken about religion,or any number of things, but here in the states they were on fire

    By JJ on Feb 11, 2012

  145. wonder if maybe tin tin (stablemates) weren’t mistaken for the bee gees after ‘Toast And Marmalade For Tea.’

    By matt_the_cat on May 16, 2012

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