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The Bee Gees

Relying on their top-notch songwriting and impeccable vocals, the Bee Gees were able to craft a long-running career that began in the late '50s in Australia. Along the way they became a hit-producing psychedelic pop group in England during the '60s, the biggest disco band in the world in the '70s, and had a late comeback as adult contemporary crooners in the '90s. Their long-reaching influence extended past sales figures and saw their sound and style mirrored in acts as disparate as Justin Timberlake and of montreal.

The group was also music's most successful brother act. Barry Gibb, born on September 1, 1946, in Manchester, England, and his fraternal twin brothers Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, born on December 22, 1949, on the Isle of Man, were three of five children. The three of them gravitated toward music, encouraged by their father, who saw his sons at first as a diminutive version of the Mills Brothers. The three Gibb brothers made their earliest performances at local movie theaters in Manchester in 1955, singing between shows. The family moved to Australia in 1958, resettling in Brisbane. Now known as the Brothers Gibb -- with Barry writing songs -- they attracted the attention of a local DJ, and eventually got their own local television show. It was around this time that they took on the name the Bee Gees (for Brothers Gibb). The trio was astoundingly popular in the press and on television, but actual hit records eluded them.

By late 1966, they'd decided to return to England -- which, thanks to the Beatles, was now the center of the world for rock and popular music. The group had sent demo recordings ahead of them, and "Spicks & Specks" -- which became their first Australian hit while they were in mid-ocean -- had attracted the interest of manager Robert Stigwood. The trio was signed by Stigwood upon their arrival, and began shaping their sound in the environment of Swinging London. Barry and Robin Gibb alternated the lead vocal spot, harmonizing together and with Maurice. Barry played rhythm guitar, while Maurice played bass, piano, organ, and Mellotron, among other instruments. Their first English recording, "New York Mining Disaster 1941," an original by the group with a haunting melody and a strangely surreal, almost psychedelic ambience, was released in mid-1967 and made the Top 20 in England and America. They had successful follow-ups with "Holiday" and "To Love Somebody," the latter actually written for Otis Redding to record, and "Massachusetts," which topped the U.K. charts.

After Bee Gees' 1st, the Gibb brothers took over producing their own records. It was easy, amid the sheer beauty of their recordings, to overlook the range of influences that went into their sound, which came from a multitude of sources, including American country music and soul music. At this point in their history, they were most comfortable deconstructing elements in the singing and harmonies of black American music and rebuilding them in their style.

In 1969, the trio split up in a dispute involving the Odessa album. A lushly orchestrated double LP, it was their most ambitious recording to date, but they were unable to agree on which song would be the single, and Robin walked out. Barry and Maurice held on to the Bee Gees name for one LP, Cucumber Castle, while Robin released Robin's Reign. Without a group to promote it, the Odessa album never sold the way it might have, even with a hit, "First of May." Cucumber Castle generated several successful singles in England and Germany, including the gorgeous, African-influenced "I.O.I.O.," while Robin had a hit with "Saved by the Bell."

In 1970, almost two years older and a good deal wiser, they decided to get back together. They related to each other better and had also evolved musically, now creating a progressive pop/rock sound similar to the Moody Blues. They came back on a high note with two dazzling songs: the soulful "Lonely Days," the group's first number one hit in America; and the achingly lyrical "Morning of My Life," which proved so popular with fans that the group was still doing it in concert decades later.

Their success began to ebb, however, after another huge international hit with "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" in 1971. The single "Run to Me" made the Top 20 in 1972, but the album To Whom It May Concern was forgotten almost instantly after a brief chart run. Their fortunes continued in reverse during 1973 withLife in a Tin Can and the single "Saw a New Morning" -- despite a move to America and a heavy promotional push, the song never made the Top 40 and the album stalled out.

The trio was falling into a deep creative and commercial hole. Rescue came from a suggestion by Eric Clapton, that they try recording at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, where he had just cut an album. The Bee Gees took his advice and came back with Mr. Natural (1974), produced by Arif Mardin. This record was a departure with its heavily Americanized R&B sound, and the following year they plunged headfirst into the new sound with Main Course -- the emphasis was now on dance rhythms, high harmonies, and a funk beat. And spearheading the new sound was Barry Gibb, who, for the first time, sang falsetto and discovered that he could delight audiences in that register. "Jive Talkin'," the first single off the album, became their second American number one single, and was followed up with "Nights on Broadway" and then the album Children of the World, which yielded the hits "You Should Be Dancing" and "Love So Right." Then, in 1977, their featured numbers on the soundtrack to the Robert Stigwood-produced Saturday Night Fever, "Stayin' Alive," "How Deep Is Your Love," and "Night Fever," each topped the charts, even as the soundtrack album stayed in the top spot for 24 weeks. In the process, the disco era in America was born -- Saturday Night Fever, as an album and a film, supercharged the phenomenon and broadened its audience by tens of millions, with the Bee Gees at the forefront of the music.

It was a profound moment although, ironically, there wasn't that much difference in their sound. Amid the dance numbers, the Bee Gees still did a healthy portion of romantic ballads that each offered memorable hooks. They'd simply decided, at Arif Mardin's urging, to forget the fact that they were white Englishmen and plunged into soul music, emulating, in their own terms, the funkier Philadelphia soul sounds that all three brothers knew and loved. In one fell swoop, the group had managed to meld every influence they'd ever embraced, from the Mills Brothers and the Beatles to early-'70s soul, into something of their own that was virtually irresistible. Spirits Having Flown was their crowning commercial triumph, topping 30 million in sales and yielding three more number one singles.

By the end of the '70s, however, the disco era was waning from a combination of the bad economy, political chaos domestically and internationally (leading to the election of Ronald Reagan), and a general burnout of the participants from too many drugs and profligate sex (which would precipitate an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases and herald the outbreak of AIDS in the United States). There had already been an ad hoc reaction against the group's dominance of the airwaves, with mass burnings of Bee Gees posters and albums organized by DJs. The group itself helped contribute to the end of the party with their participation (at Stigwood's insistence) in the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, "inspired" (if that's the word) by the Beatles' album. The movie was a commercial and critical disaster, and an embarrassment to all concerned.

In America, the Bee Gees were virtually invisible for most of the '80s. Instead, Barry Gibb pursued work as a producer for other artists, creating hits for Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross. By 1987 and the E.S.P. album, their sales had rebounded everywhere but the United States, yielding a number one single (outside of the U.S.) in "You Win Again." Their 1989 album One got a good reception around the world and generated a Top Ten U.S. single. And in the '90s, Polygram Records released the four-CD anthology Tales from the Brothers Gibb, which sold well around the world. The trio's 1997 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame led to a resurgence of interest, which heralded the release of the live album One Night Only (1998), cut at their first American concert in almost a decade.

The Bee Gees remained active until the death of Maurice in January 2003, from cardiac arrest during surgery. Following his death, Robin and Barry decided to cease performing as the Bee Gees. Their recorded legacy, however, subsequently became more visible than it had been in decades with the move of their catalog to Warner/Reprise. The latter company began the long-awaited upgraded CD reissue of the Bee Gees' post-1966 library, including the first-ever release of outtakes and rehearsal versions of songs. Robin was diagnosed with and underwent treatment for cancer in 2011. He died in London in May 2012 due to complications from cancer and intestinal surgery; he was 62 years old. Given the previous deaths of Andy (who had several number one hits and who died of an inflammatory heart virus in 1988) and Maurice Gibb, Robin was the third Gibb brother and second member of the Bee Gees to pass away. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Mythology

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
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Track List: Tales From The Brothers Gibb

Comments

Love Andy and the Beegies. The movies are the best
I love this song
I love the bee gees
heck yes!!
blueyedmom00 7
Saturday Night Fever, rules!!!! The movie, the music....awe s o m e ! ! ! ! The Bee Gees vocals were/will always be memorable. One of the top groups...eve r ! ! ! !
Why did this come up on classic metal lol.
The young brothers attended Humpybong State School<10> and began performing to raise pocket money. They were introduced to leading Brisbane radio DJ Bill Gates by speedway promoter and driver Bill Goode, who had hired the brothers to entertain the crowd at the Redcliffe Speedway in 1960. Gates renamed them the BG's (later changed to Bee Gees) after his, Goode's, and Barry Gibb's initials—thu s the name was not specifically a reference to Brothers Gibb, despite popular belief.<13> Wikipedia
Jimmy and Jt Bee Gees SNL LOL
Love my play list
Love the Bee Gee's
dhb554
Bee Geez Wil never die...it will live on..
Ima b 40 tuesday
Lyrics were a great feature on pandora. Especially when you don't know the song and are hearing it for the first time.
I love to listen to them when I need to relax. And that's a lol.
I think the Bee Gee brothers are bigger then the Jacksons... they can sing there A** off...
I love it I remember when I was in Junior High, I really love this songs the best ;)
danarendt5
Love this song!Only nine years old but I know what I'm talking about!��
I remember trying to dance like Travolta when I would hear this song
Love it
Remember growing up watching my grandmom dancing& singing around the house to this!! One of her favorite groups!!!
Always will be great great music
Love them
To love somebody
Don't read this because it actually works you will be kissed the nearest Friday by the love of your life if you don't post this you will die in two days now you've started reading so don't it's so scary put this oDon't read this because it actually works you will be kissed the nearest Friday by the love of your life if you don't post this you will die in two days now you've started reading so don't it's so scary put this on five songs in 143 minutes when done press F6 and your lovers name will a
The bee gee was the best song im that time 70s it reminds u who u was with,
Is Pandora ever going to bring back the Lyrics? It was a nice feature!!
no
Sidjhdickdjc k d j jejdododofjd u d h d i d k d j i d j d i d i d i d j i d d j j d h d i d d j h d u d i d j d k d k d u j d k d k d j d k d j d i d j d o d c j h h k d s i j e i e o d u e u d u d i d u d i d i d u d c h d j d u d h e j d k d e j d i j d d
Do you mind if I get that?
-JM
madison10250 5 0
I am 9 mom knows them but love this song you go bee gees
I love the bee gees ! Always brings your spirit up
Luv this song!!!
I love the Bee Gees!!! Both of my nephews love them also their 18 n 11. I'm a proud Aunt :-)
Love this song..
This is a great song
Nice song...
Sagittarius too baby 4 days after u ... Heyyyy!
Aw s**t picture the movie... Lol tony b snappin! To those who seen the movie.. Lmao go go go go!!!!
Awesome
jamisonmobri a n t
I had a bee gees lunch box growing up!
I was lucky to see The Brothers Gibb in Vegas on the "One night only " show. They had a meet n greet the day before the show. Now 2 are gone, WAY TOO SOON!!! Love the Bee Gees!! And Anyone says sh*t about them, it's a shame.
I love this song even my dad he knows the lyric i love beegees
kamariyamatt o s
My mom loves it like crazy,!!!!!!
Love this song!!
Just in love with it ����
My 14 year old knows all the words to this song.
LOVE THIS SONG TO THE BONE!!!!! I was maybe 2 or 3 years old,but I always new I was a romantic ;-) I always day dreamnt that I would slow dance to this song w/that special person I hold in my heart....... .
j.munyeka
This is the best song of all
oh man, about 2 Saturdays ago, late night, PBA channel played a live concert of the Bee Gees dating back to 1969 and beyond and this sista in my late 40's enjoyed it, wow they were so good lookin the show was wicked awesome!!
Hey 49000 folks that. "liked" the Bee Gees on Pandora... For a cool change of pace give ELO a listen. Make an ELO station on Pandora and "like" ELO on Pandora! ELO's Jeff Lynne is an absolute genius! He wrote all the music and lyrics to practically every ELO hit and had a remarkable producing career... Just trying to increase awareness of this remarkable talent... Peace and love to al!
I love to hear these guys sing
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