The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees are unquestionably one of the most successful pop groups of all-time.

Born in the Isle of Man in the 1940s (Barry in 1946, the twins Maurice and Robin in 1949), and moving to Manchester in the early 1950s, the three Gibb brothers were, even as young children, learning to harmonize. But they first tasted success after their parents emigrated to Radcliffe in Queensland, Australia, in 1958. As early as 1960 they were on Australian TV shows, and in 1963 got their first record deal on Festival Records, as simply Bee Gees. Barry Gibb was also gaining recognition as a young songwriter, and wrote material for other Australian artists.

The first minor hit for the Gibb brothers came in 1965, with 'Wine And Women', followed by their first album, clumsily entitled 'Barry Gibb And The Bee Gees Sing And Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs'. It wasn't until The Bee Gees moved to another label, Spin, that they had their first big hit in Australia, in late 1966, with 'Spicks And Specks'. Around this time the family moved back to England, and worldwide fame beckoned...

When The Bee Gees returned to England, early in 1967, they were signed by the legendary Robert Stigwood, and, in that year, 'New York Mining Disaster 1941' became an unlikely choice for their first single to be recorded in England, but it became the biggest hit of their career thus far, making the top 20 in both Britain and the United States. Songs of haunting melody were to become the trademark of The Bee Gees early in their career, and memorable songs such as 'To Love Somebody', 'Massachusetts', 'Words', and 'I've Gotta Get A Message To You' followed - the latter song being about a condemned man. The group also released the successful 'Bee Gees 1st' album, during this golden period, which was popular with fans and critics alike.

The 1969-early 1970 period was an unhappy time for The Bee Gees. Robin left and recorded what would have been a surefire Bee Gees hit, the wonderfully moving 'Saved By The Bell'. But, by the end of 1970, the brothers were back together as The Bee Gees, though the next few years were to be lean ones, despite occasional moments of brilliance with songs like 'Run To Me'.

It was soul producer Arif Mardin who helped revitalise their career, instigating their change of direction. Out went the ballads, and in came disco. They used Miami as their base from early 1975, and the releases of 'Jive Talkin'' and 'Nights On Broadway' saw another golden era begin for the group, culminating in their music being featured in the massively successful 'Saturday Night Fever' movie of 1977. People may have laughed at Barry's new falsetto voice, but The Bee Gees were laughing, too - all the way to the bank. Musically, 'You Should Be Dancing', 'Stayin' Alive', and 'Night Fever' alienated a lot of their 1960s audience, and I, personally, much prefer their songs of the '60s, which are some of the greatest songs of the second half of the 20th Century. That said, from around this time, they also produced 'How Deep Is Your Love?' and 'More Than A Woman', both featuring on the 30 million seller 'Saturday Night Fever' soundtrack album, so not everything was hardcore disco.

At the end of the 1970s The Bee Gees were seen as a busted flush in the U.S., but their songwriting still saw Barbra Streisand ('Guilty'), Diana Ross ('Chain Reaction'), Dionne Warwick ('Heartbreaker'), and Dolly Parton & Kenny Rodgers ('Islands In The Stream'), record and have hits with their songs. The Bee Gees have sold a mindblowing 200+ million records in their career, have had 19 UK number ones, and, at the height of their fame in America, achieve the rare feat of four number ones from one album - 'Stayin' Alive', 'How Deep Is Your Love?', 'More Than A Woman', and 'Night Fever'.

One of the biggest hits for The Bee Gees was 'Tragedy', and they've endured some of their own for sure - the death of their younger brother, and a successful solo artist in his own right, Andy, in 1988, and Maurice's death in 2003. Robin was finally killed by cancer in 2012. Musically, The Bee Gees have done little wrong - the 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' movie apart - and The Bee Gees are arguably the greatest harmony group of them all.

- Paul Rance/booksmusicfilmstv.com.

 

BEE GEES DVDs & Videos available from Amazon.co.uk

Bee Gees DVDs

The Bee Gees - One Night Only (DTS Version) [1998]

Bee Gees, The - Keppel Road - The Life And Music Of The Bee Gees [1996] DVD
Bee Gees, The - Keppel Road - The Life And Music Of The Bee Gees [1996]

Bee Gees, The - One Night Only / The Official Story Of The Bee Gees DVD
Bee Gees, The - One Night Only [1998]
Bee Gees, The - The Official Story Of The Bee Gees [2001]
Bee Gees -This Is Where I Came In

Bee Gees Links

Bee Gees Complete list of all songs they made - and comprehensive overview of unreleased CDs
Bee Gees and Brothers Gibb Fan Club Home
Words & Music, Fans Of The Brothers Gibb
Vocal Group Hall of Fame page on The Bee Gees Photo archive of The Bee Gees by Rock Photographer Chris Walter.
Bee Gees Lyrics
Streaming audio interview from 1988 (52 minutes)
Streaming audio interview from 1993 (36 minutes)

 

Amazon.co.uk Bee Gees CDs

Amazon.com Bee Gees CDs

Product image for ASIN: B000006SUJ Esp
Best of Bee Gees Best of Bee Gees

 

The Bee Gees Albums Discography

1967 – Bee Gees 1st
1968 – Horizontal
1968 – Idea
1969 – Odessa
1969 – Best of Bee Gees
1970 – Cucumber Castle
1970 – 2 Years On
1971 – Trafalgar
1972 – To Whom It May Concern
1973 – Life In a Tin Can
1973 – Best of Bee Gees Volume 2
1974 – Mr. Natural
1975 – Main Course
1976 – Children of the World
1977 – Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack)
1979 – Spirits Having Flown
1979 – Bee Gees Greatest
1981 – Living Eyes
1983 – Staying Alive (soundtrack)
1987 – E.S.P.
1989 – One
1990 – Tales from the Brothers Gibb (box set)
1991 – High Civilization
1993 – Size Isn't Everything
1997 – Still Waters
2001 – This Is Where I Came In
2001 – Their Greatest Hits: The Record
2004 – Number Ones
2005 – Bee Gees Love Songs

 

Music

Home

 

 

© Copyright 2005- booksmusicfilmstv.com