BT 329 & TalkTalk 329
THE BEE GEES
The three Gibb brothers were very close as children and spent most of their time together. Barry Gibb, born 1946, and his twin brothers Maurice and Robin, who were born in 1949, went on to become one of the most popular bands of the 1970s.
All three siblings were born on the Isle of Man but moved to their father Hugh's home town - Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Manchester - to attend school.
They attended Oswald Road Primary School where they began to sing in harmony in the early 1950s. It is believed that, as with other children their age, they had to lip sync to a record at their local theatre but the record broke. The boys had to sing live and received such a positive response that they decided to pursue a music career.
In 1958, the family moved to Australia, along with their youngest brother Andy and, once there, they began performing regularly and were soon performing on radio with two friends, Bill Goode and Bill Gates.
The group had a new name for themselves, The BGs – made up from the common initials of Barry Gibb, Bill Goode, Bill Gates. A few years later, the name evolved into The Bee Gees, which came to mean the Brothers Gibb. Recognition was slow in coming, and the Bee Gees decided to move to England to try their luck there.
With Robert Stigwood as their manager, the Bee Gees had their first international hit in 1967 with ‘New York Mining Disaster’.
With two new band members, Colin Peterson (drums) and Vince Melouney (guitar), the Bee Gees first album ‘Bee Gees 1st’ was a success. Within just over a year, the Bee Gees had clocked up 24 number 1 hits in 15 different countries.
Their fourth album 'Horizontal' was released in 1968 and became a huge hit spawning the international hit singles 'Massachusetts' and 'World'. This was followed by 'Idea' later the same year, which included the single 'I've Gotta Get A Message To You'.
By 1969 though, cracks were beginning to show, as the group was racked with arguments and tension. Colin Peterson left the band and brought a lawsuit to prevent the name Bee Gees being used in his absence.
Briefly they went their separate ways, but reunited in 1971 to record ‘Two Years On’. While this was well received, they had a series of flops between 1972 and 1975. However, they stayed together as a band and did not split again.
In 1975, with the help of producer Arif Mardin, the Bee Gees moved from a ballad band to an R&B influenced style and released ‘Main Course’. They then released ‘Jive Talkin’ which went to number 1. Their album ‘Children of the World’ went platinum, with three hit singles and, when touring the album, all proceeds went to children’s charities.
The Bee Gees' next project, recording the soundtrack to ‘Saturday Night Fever’ (1977), was another huge success and resulted in some of their best known songs, including ‘Stayin’ Alive’, ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ and ‘Night Fever’. The album was unsurprisingly another number 1, but it set a record of being so for 24 consecutive weeks.
By the end of the decade, the Bee Gees had five albums which had all gone platinum.
In 1988, tragedy struck the family as Andy Gibb, their youngest brother, died, closely followed by their father.
The Bee Gees continued to release well received singles and albums and, in 1997, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Music Awards, a Legend Award at the World Music Awards and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, in 2003, Maurice Gibb died at the age of 53, following complications during an operation. Initially, his surviving brothers announced that they intended to carry on the name 'Bee Gees' in his memory. But as time passed they decided to retire the group name, leaving it to represent the three brothers together. The same week Maurice died, Robin's solo album 'Magnet' was released.
Although there was talk of a memorial concert featuring both surviving brothers and invited guests, nothing materialised. Barry and Robin continued to work independently and both released recordings with other artists.
In November 2011, it was revealed that Robin Gibb had been battling liver and colon cancer for some months and had undergone surgery to combat the disease. He was given a ten percent chance of survival which was announced in early 2012.
Robin appeared and performed with 'The Soldiers' for the Coming Home concert on 13 February and this would be his final performance. In April 2012, he contracted pneumonia and fell into a coma. Robin woke up and appeared to be recovering but he passed away on 20 May 2012 leaving Barry as the last surviving Bee Gee.