The Bee Gees were an English band formed of a trio of brothers – Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. The band are most famous for the work they did in the 1960s and 1970s initially as a harmonic soft rock group before becoming the foremost stars of the disco era. Their distinctive harmonies were instantly recognizable from Robin’s clear vibrato and Barry’s falsetto, during their disco days.
The majority of the Bee Gees hits were co-written by the brothers and they also wrote and produced hits for an array of other artists. They began their musical career in Australia where they achieved chart success before returning to the UK and gaining international fame under producer Roger Stigwood. It has been estimated that the band have sold in excess of 200 million records which makes them one of the best selling artists of all time. In 1997 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where their citation reads, “Only Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees”.
The second British single the Bee Gees released, “New York Mining Disaster 1941”, was issued to radio stations with a white label and just the song title. Many DJs assumed it was a new Beatles track and began playing it on heavy rotation. This helped the track climb into the Top 20 of the UK and US charts. Their next single, “To Love Somebody” was also a Top 20 hit and has been covered by Gram Parsons, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, Michael Bolton, The Animals and Rod Stewart.
Their first album, “Bee Gees 1st” peaked at No. 7 in the US and No. 8 in the UK and the follow up, “Horizontal” produced No.1 single “Massachusetts”. They released their third album, “Idea” in 1968 which was another Top 20 hit on both sides of the pond. 1969 saw Robin leave the band as he felt Barry was being favoured as the frontman. The band continued without him and released, “Cucumber Castle” but after poor sales Barry and Maurice split and it seemed like the end for the Bee Gees.
The band reunited in 1970 and after success with singles, “Lonely Days” and, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” the band faltered. They went to the US to work with soul music producer Arif Mardin who encouraged them to work with soul music and produced disco tracks, “Jive Talkin” and “Nights on Broadway” which featured Barry’s first attempts at singing falsetto.
Then came their work on the “Saturday Night Fever soundtrack” which came to be a major turning point in their career. They had worldwide No.1 singles with, “How Deep Is Your Love”, “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever” and the album soundtrack became a best seller with over 40 million copies sold.
In 2003 Maurice died suddenly from a strangulated intestine and the remaining brothers decided to retire the name and have worked independently, releasing recordings with other artists, only sometimes coming together to record.
For The Record:
Group comprised of brothers Barry (given name, Douglas; born Isle of Man, England, September 1, 1947), and Robin and Maurice (twins; born Manchester, England, December 22, 1949) Gibb; sons of Hugh Gibb (a bandleader). Began performing in England in 1955 under various names, including the Rattlesnakes, the Bluecats, and Wee Johnny Hays and the Bluecats; family moved to Brisbane, Australia, 1958; began performing as the Bee Gees (for Brothers Gibb), 1958; signed first recording contract with Festival Records, 1962; hosted own TV show in Australia during 1960s; international recording artists, 1967—.
Awards: Grammy Award for best pop vocal performance by a group, for single "How Deep Is Your Love?," 1977, and for album of the year, best pop vocal performance by a group, best producer of the year, and best arrangement for voices, all 1978, all for album Saturday Night Fever.
Addresses: Office—Kragen, 1112 N. Sherbourne Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90069. Record company—Warner Bros. Records, 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505.
First, Atco, 1967.
Horizontal, Atco, 1968, Polydor, 1987.
Idea, Atco, 1968, Polydor, 1987.
Rare, Precious and Beautiful, Atco, 1968.
Best, Atco, 1969, RSO, 1987.
Odessa (double album), Atco, 1969.
Odessa (condensed), 1969.
Rare, Precious and Beautiful, Vol 2, Atco, 1970.
Cucumber Castle, Atco, 1970.
Two Years On, Atco, 1970, RSO, 1989.
Melody (soundtrack), Atco, 1971.
Trafalgar, Atco, 1971, RSO, 1989.
To Whom It May Concern, Atco, 1972.
Life in a Tin Can, RSO, 1973.
Best, Vol. 2, RSO, 1973, reissued, 1987.
Mister Natural, RSO, 1974.
Main Course, RSO, 1975, Polydor, 1988.
Children of the World, RSO, 1976, reissued, 1989.
Gold, Vol. 1, RSO, 1976.
Here at Last... Live (double album), RSO, 1977.
Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack), RSO, 1977.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (soundtrack; double album), RSO, 1978.
Spirits Having Flown, RSO, 1979, reissued, 1989.
Greatest Hits (double album), RSO, 1979.
Liviní Eyes, RSO, 1982.
E.S.P., Warner Bros., 1988.
One, Warner Bros., 1989.
This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com