Bee Gees "New York Mining Disaster 1941" (Live in Australia, 1971)
"In the event of something happening to me,
There is something I would like you all to see.
It's just a photograph of someone that I knew.
Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones?
Do you know what it's like on the outside?"
-The Bee Gees "New York Mining Disaster 1941"
When I first heard the shocking story of the trapped Chilean miners, the song that immediately popped into my head was that old Bee Gees song "New York Mining Disaster 1941," as it so perfectly fits this, and any similarly tragic scenario. The song was recorded and released in 1967 as a single and was the first hit by the Australian sibling group, then in their Beatles-inspired, harmony-driven, sixties rock band phase. This was a good decade before their phenomenally successful disco phase, spurred by the mega popular Saturday Night Fever soundtrack that they were featured heavily on.
The poignant song's lyrics impressively were written and recorded when the Bee Gees were only in their teens. The lyrics include, "I keep straining my ears to hear a sound. Maybe someone is digging underground, or have they given up and all gone home to bed." Until just two weeks ago, when they miraculously discovered the miners in Chile, authorities in San Jose had actually given up ever finding these trapped men. "Don't go talking too loud, you'll cause a landslide, Mr. Jones," sing the Bee Gees. Their song was actually not about a New York mining disaster but, according to the liner notes for their box-set Tales from the Brothers Gibb (1990), was inspired by the 1966 Aberfan mining disaster in Wales.