Guide to British Music of the 1960s

 

The Bee Gees

Biography | Discography | Web Links | Books

 

Barry Gibb - vocals/guitar, Maurice Gibb - vocals, Robin Gibb - vocals, Vince Melourney - guitar, Colin Peterson - drums

Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb started to sing together in Manchester in 1956 as The Blue Cats. They used to sing in cinemas between films on Saturday mornings. In 1958, the Gibb family emigrated to Australia. By 1963, the Bee Gees had become one of the most popular groups in Australia. The name Bee Gees stood for Brothers Gibb. There was a series of singles and albums on Festival They returned to England in 1966 along with drummer Colin Peterson and bass player Vince Melouney.

The first single release was Spicks & Specks which failed to make the charts in the UK although it did make number one back in Australia. The follow-up New York Mining Disaster 1941 entered the top twenty in July 1967. The band then had a series of hit singles over the next few years including Massachusetts and Iíve Gotta Get a Message To You although To Love Somebody also failed to chart. These highlighted not only the brothersí vocals but also their songwriting skills. To Love Somebody had originally been written for Otis Redding while Spicks & Specks was covered by the Spectres and their later incarnation Status Quo. Words was another excellent track which was covered more recently by Boyzone.

Odessa from 1969 was a double album that almost tore the band apart. It was developed as a a concept album following several aborted attempts such as American Opera and Masterpiece. The final work work, however, was less of a unit with the songs tending to be unrelated. Nevertheless, it was widely viewed as one of the band's best albums ever.

The group split in 1969 with the brothers saying that they would never work together again. Melouney had left in 1968. Peterson was fired in 1969. Robin Gibb had a solo hit with Saved by the Bell, Maurice tried acting while Barry concentrated on songwriting. However, the three brothers were reconciled just one year later with successful singles at home and in the US. A switch from Polydor to RSO in 1973 led to a major change in style and fortunes. Jive Talking and the songs from Saturday Night Fever placed the Bee Gees at the centre of the disco music craze and made them the biggest-selling artists in the world.  

While they may not be as prolific as in their earlier days, Barry and Robin continued to play as the Bee Gees despite the death of Maurice. Robin Gibb died in May 2012 after a battle with cancer.

Making Time recommendation

  • Bee Gees First

Privacy Policy

Contact

© Making Time 1997-2013