“This is a very spiritual song. The listeners have to interpret it themselves – trying to explain it would detract from the song.”
— Robin Gibb on I Started A Joke
“When he passed away we went out, they took the equipment away and we came back in. I picked up my phone and found ‘I Started A Joke’ on YouTube and played it. I put the phone on his chest and that was the first time I broke down. I knew that song and its lyrics were perfect for that moment. That song will always have new meaning to me now.”
— Robin-Jon Gibb, son of Robin Gibb, discussing his father’s death
Of course, this song really isn’t about a joke. Instead, it’s told from the point of view of someone who has unintentionally said something so wrong and/or offensive that it has lost him all of his friends. When he tries to laugh it off, they get upset at him for not taking it seriously. When he gets upset over being abandoned, they laugh at his pain.
This music video, from 1968, features Robin Gibb singing the song while surrounded by laughter, tears, and questions marks. The video was filmed in Brussels by French television director Jean-Christophe Averty and originally aired as a part of the Idea TV Special, a Bee Gees-centered program that aired in Europe.