& Maurice Gibb were born on the Isle of Man (UK).
In 1958 they
emigrated to Australia with their parents and began their career.
the name The Bee Gees (The Brothers Gibb) and were seen on TV performing
one of their first singles, "The Battle of The Blue & Grey", in 1963.
scored various minor hits in Australia and seeing some of their song being
played by other artists, the Gibbs returned to Britain in 1967, while
they finally scored a big hit in Australia with "Spicks and Specks" (#1),
that also reached UK #3.
with Robert Stigwood for management, the group's first UK single was "New
York Mining Disaster 1941", which was also a hit in America. The single
was off their 1st" album.
Later in that year, they topped the UK chart with "Massachusettes", and
ended a triumphant year with another Top 10 hit, "World".
The Bee Gees was in the UK Top 10 and the US Top 20 with "Words", which
was also their first Italian top 3 single.
In the summer of the same year, the group reached the US Top 10 for the
first time with "I've Got A Message To You", which also became their second
In 1969 came
another US Top 10 hit, "I Started A Joke".
"First Of May" became their next UK Top 10 item, but was somewhat smaller
the group in the spring of 1969, while Barry and Maurice decided to continue
without their brother, and released a new single, "Tomorrow Tomorrow".
In the meantime Robin had a Top 3 hit with his first solo single, "Saved
By The Bell", of which exists the very rare Robin' Italian version ("Salvato
dal campanello"). Robin also did the Italian version of another song included
in his "Robin's Reign" 1969 album. The song was "Agosto Ottobre" ("August
In the summer of that year, Barry and Maurice starred in a TV special
titled "Cucumber Castle", in which they performed their next big hit,
"Don't Forget To Remember" (UK #3).
Robin returned in the group and the trio's only significant hit was "Lonely
Days" (USA #3), while in Italy they had their second top 10 single, "IOIO"
The start of 1971 brought triumph as "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart"
became their first US # 1.
The Bee Gees lost most of their popularity especially in Britain and US,
but not in Italy, where they were very successful. Despite the fact worldwile
in those years they seemed to be in a big crisis, the Italian audience
was very warm with all of their outputs, album and singles, showing a
strong fidelity. This is a very direct Italian peculiarity in Bee Gees
history. Many Italian fans, including me, became to love them in that
period. Their hits were "Run To Me" (UK top 10 and US top 20, Italy #2),
"My World" (UK and US top 20, Italy #1 for 3 consecutive weeks, their
first Italian chart topper). "Saw a new Morning", (Hong Kong #1) was a
top 20 single in Italy, and in 1972 the "Trafalgar" album was their first
top 3 album in Italy. and in 1973 "Life in a tin can" was a significant
top 10 album in Italy.
In 1974 the
Gibbs made an album ("Mr. Natural"), that although was very underrated,
was the beginning of the collaboration with Arif Mardin, famed American
album made with Mardin, "Main course" was a huge success, and spawned
big hits like the #1 smash single "Jive Talkin'" and the top 10 hits "Nights
On Broadway" and "Fanny (be tender with my love)". The Bee Gees were again
trend was confirmed by another successful album, 1976' "Children of the
world" (Italy top 10) that included one of the most known Bee Gees' big
hits "You should be dancing" (US #1, UK #5, Italy #3). The album contained
also the wonderful "Love so right" (US #3) one of the most airplayed Bee
Gees' song in Italy. Also the "Boogie child" single was a top 30 hit in
double live album "Here...at last... Bee Gees Live" (US top 10, Italy
top 30) had good results. The single "Edge of the universe" reached Italian
was the soundtrack of the late 1970's and the music of the Bee Gees, very
R&B influnced after the Mardin teamship, was oriented to embrace easily
also the disco phenomenon.
So Stigwood decided to use some new Bee Gees' songs for the soundtrack
of "Saturday Night Fever", a movie starring John Travolta. The movie was
a tremendous success, but still today I think that nobody, including Stigwood
and the Bee Gees, could even imagine the incredible dimension of the success
of the double album soundtrack, that was the all-time best seller album
till Micheal Jackson' "Thriller".
The album contained #1 Bee Gees' singles "How deep is your love", "Stayin'alive"
(probably the most played Gibb song) and "Night fever", and other two
Gibb penned #1 singles: Yvonne Elliman' "If I can have you" and "More
than a woman" by Tavares. "Jive Talkin'" and "You Should Be Dancing" were
also included in the soundtrack.
At the same
time, the youngest member of the Gibb family, Andy , had several hits
of his own , before his tragic death later in 1988. I love to remember
the #1 song "I just want to be your everything" and the incredible smash
#1 hit "Shadow dancing" (also Italian top 15), written by all four brothers.
had other two #1 smash singles as songwriters, "Emotion" by Samantha Sang,
and "Grease" by Frankie Valli.
At the end
of 1978, after all of this hits, their next single "Too Much Heaven" almost
predictably topped world charts and particularly the US, UK and Italy
charts, and was followed in 1979 by two further number ones, "Tragedy"
(Italy #1 for 8 consecutive weeks!!) and "Love You Inside Out", for a
total of six (!) consecutive #1 songs...
"Spirits having flown" album, that contained these songs is also the best
seller Bee Gees album in Italy (#1 debut position and #1 for 12 consecutive
hits package named "Greatest" was released, and (of course) it reached
stayin'alive in too much heaven was very difficoult even
for Barry, Robin and Maurice and (most of all) for their management, since
they made their biggest mistake of their incredibly great career: "Sg.t
Pepper..." the movie (a total flop), and the double soundtrack album,
that , even if was a top 20 album worldwile, Italy included, was, of course,
nothing compared to the stellae expectations after the "SNF" and "Spirits"
The result was the beginning of a decline that later caused also the breakup
with Stigwood's management.
began with the start a new phase for the Brothers Gibb, since they began
to write songs and produce albums for other artists.
of this projects was the Barbra Streisand's 1980 "Guilty" album (US, UK
and Italy #1), a smash hit album, that provided #1 songs like "Woman in
Love" (#1 for 4 weeks in Italy), "Guilty" and significant hits like "What
kind of fool". Still today Streisand remember that album like one of the
most important thing she did in her stellar career.
Eyes" album (1981) (Italy #8), the first album after "Sgt Pepper'" disaster
and the Disco death, despite the strong change of musical style into country-rock
directions was inevitably underrated, even if it contained the Italian
top 10 rockish single "He's a liar"
brothers continued to work with other stars and in 1982 wrote and produced
the "Heartbreaker" album for Dionne Warwick, her most significant and
successful album in a decade.
The Warwick's same titled single, together with another Gibb penned tune,
"Heart (Stop beating in time)", sung by the English singer Leo
Sayer, was heavily airplayed in Italy and very well accepted by Italian
critics, giving the Bee Gees great credibility as songwriters.
In 1983 the
brothers wrote and produced an album for country star Kenny Rogers, "Eyes
that see in the dark", probably his most successful album.
The album contained the multiplatinum smash #1 single "Island in
the stream", a duet with another country icon, Dolly Parton.
This song is STILL TODAY the most successful country single of all the
a huge hit with the 1983' "Juliet" single (Italy #1) taken from the European
top 5 album "How old are you".
In the same time the "Stayin'Alive" soundtrack (the "SNF" prosecution)
provided the US and Italy the top 30 single "Woman in you".
An important Italian critic stated: "incredibly, Robin Gibb has beaten
the Bee Gees in the charts..."
the Robin solo single and album was by far more successful than the soundtrack,
and he did same trick in 1984 with the dance-oriented "Secret agent"
(Italy top 10) which contained the beatiful Italian top 5 single "Boys
(do fall in love)" while the wonderful solo effort by Barry, "Now
voyager" was sadly underrated, by exception for the "Shine shine"
In 1985 the
Gibbs made an album with R&B star Diana Ross ("Eaten alive").
The same titled first single, co-penned with Micheal "Thriller"
Jackson was not a big hit, but "Chain reaction", the second
single from the album, was a smash hit, expecially in UK (#1 for 3 consecutive
weeks, the first Ross' number one since 1981' "Endless Love")
and lead the album to success all over Europe.
1985 is also
the year of another solo album by Robin ("Walls have eyes")
not so successful as the previous two albums, while 1986 "sees"
a Maurice album production for Swedish artist Carola ("Runaway"),
a fair album ignored (not in Sweden where the same titled single reached
In 1987 the
brothers decide to team up again as the Bee Gees.
I remember very well a Barry's TV interview in which he stated: "it's
time for us to do the Bee Gees again..."
It was another crucial point in Bee Gees career, so they changed record
label (Warner instead of Polydor) and teamed up again with Arif Mardin.
The result was the 1987' "E.S.P." album, which included the
smash Euro-hit "You win again" (UK #1 for 3 consecutive weeks,
Eurochart #1 for 4 consecutive weeks, Italy #8), their first big hit (as
the Bee Gees) in 1980's!
In 1988, (sad year: Andy died), in Europe was released the second solo
album by Barry, the soundtrack for the Timothy Dalton' featured movie
Despite the commercial failure, the album contained the very airplayed
(in Italy) single "Childhood days".
In 1989 it
was released the self-produced album "One" and a successful world tour
Unfortunately, the two Italian dates (Rome and Milan) were cancelled,
after 8000 reservations, due to temporary Barry's health problems.
The "One" single reached #7 in the US chart, the first (and
the last, as the Bee Gees...) top 10 hit in US in the 1980's.
In 1990 was
released in Europe (outside Italy) the "Very best of the Bee Gees",
a greatest hits package that was a huge success.
In Italy was released "Bee Gees Story", a similar compilation
that reached #1 and that is the second best seller Bee Gees' album in
Italy since "Spirits having flown".
clearly demonstred the strong Gibb influence in the musical scene and
the intact commercial potentiality of the Gibb's tunes.
New artists, teen bands and even consolidated stars began to cover heavily
the Gibb tunes and several tribute albums were released.
The 1990's list includes #1 or top 10 covers (not in any order) by artists
like George Micheal, Jimmy Sommerville, Micheal Bolton, Kim Wilde, N'trance,
Take That, Boyzone, Steps and 911.
civilazation" album, in 1991, included the single "Secret love"
(UK #5). The albun was incredibly ignored in US, even if it contained
AC gems like "When he's gone" and "The only love"
(France top 5).
A tour followed the album and, for the first time in my life, I had the
immense pleasure to see a Bee Gees concert, in Paris (21 june 1991)!!
It was a wonderful and very powerful show!
album , the Bee Gees signed again with Polydor and two years later, in
1993, was released "Size isn't everything", one of the most
beautiful album in the Bee Gees' career. The first single, "Paying
the price of love", is definately the most airplayed Bee Gees single
The second single "For whom the bell tolls" (UK #4, Eurochart
#7), was rewiewed as a Bee Gees' masterpiece. In effect is one of the
most beatiful ballads in the 90's.
Also the third single, "How to fall in love", was an European
top 30 single, even if in some country was released "Kiss of life"
as a single (not a big hit).
After a big
pause, probably due also to Barry's illness, in 1997 was released "Still
waters" (UK #2, US #11, Eurochart # 5, Italy #18), anticipated by
the hit single "Alone" (UK #3,US #28, Eurochart #8) and spawned
other two top 15 singles in UK ("I couldn't love you more" and
"Still waters run deep").
1997 was a very important year for the Gibbs.
They received several important awards (American Music Awards, Brit Awards,
Rock'n Roll hall of fame' induction, World Music Award), and, most of
all, they were well accepted again in the music business, even if the
radio stations continued to play their songs with no continuity.
was played in Las Vegas (the first "One night only" show) followed
in 1998 and 1999 by a serie of live events worldwile.
I saw my second huge Bee Gees concert in London (Wembley Stadium, 5 september
1998, 63.000 people!), an incredible experience...
Two days after this great concert, it was released the live albun "One
night only" (UK #3, Eurochart #3, USA platinum, Australia multiplatinum),
a huge success.
It seems it has sold more copies than "Still waters"...
In late 1998
was released (not in Italy) "Gotta get a message to you", another tribute
album featuring covers of Bee Gees songs by artists like Robbie Williams,
Space, Lightning Seeds, Orb, Cleopatra, 911 (their "More than a woman"
cover went to #2 in UK), Steps (their "Tragedy" stayed in the
UK charts for six consecutive months and sold more copies than even the
original Bee Gees version...)
after ending their "One night only" world tour, the Bee Gees
started to work on a new album, "This is where I came in", released
in march 2001. The album, that reflects the brothers individualities,
even reaching the top 10 in many European countries (not in Italy, unfortunately)
and being top 15 in USA, does not repeat the commercial success of "Still
waters", due also for the lack of promo activities.
In the end
of 2001 a new greatest hits package is released, the double cd-set "The
Record, Their Greatest hits", and the Bee Gees end their contract
with Universal Records (former Polydor). The album goes well all over
the world (UK #5, USA goes platinum) and in Italy reach the top 30.
2002 Barry, Robin and Maurice are awarded CBEs (Commanders of the British
Empire) by the Queen.
on a new solo project (the first since 1984). The album, called "Magnet",
contains songs written by other artists and the re-makes of "Wish
you were here" (originally included in "One") and "Another
lonely night in NY" (originally in "How old are you").
2003 (12), Maurice Gibb dies at the age of 53. Maurice had suffered a
heart attack during emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage. An autopsy
report has shown Maurice died from a congenital condition that caused
his small intestine to twist, cutting off the blood supply. Barry and
Robin are devasted. "The Bee Gees will not disintegrate because we've
lost Mo", said Barry and Robin in a BBC interview few hours after
Maurice's death. But just few days after, (22 January) Robin told the
press "anything Barry and I do we will do together, but it'll be
as brothers and not under the name of the Bee Gees. That will be reserved
in history as the three of us."