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Maurice & Robin Gibb

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Bee Gees
Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns

Maurice Gibb and his twin brother Robin were born in Douglas, on the Isle of Man (which is a very small island off the west coast of England). The family moved back to the mainland and lived in Manchester until in 1958, then emigrated to Australia where Maurice, Robin, and their older brother Barry formed the Bee Gees. They released their first hit “Spicks and Specks” in the early ’60s.

During the ’60s they were seen as a clean-cut family pop group; their 1967 hit “New York Mining Disaster 1941” saw them in the charts. Other hits followed: “Massachusetts”, “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You”, “Words”, then it all went a bit quiet.

The turning point was the release of the movie soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta. It was a massive film, but even bigger for the Gibb brothers, who saw the album sit at the top of the US album charts for almost half a year. The hits from the album kept coming, they were unstoppable: “Stayin’ Alive”, “Night Fever” and “How Deep Is Your Love”, “More Than a Woman”, “Jive Talkin'” and “You Should Be Dancing,” and the soundtrack also won a Grammy for Album of the Year.

The huge success of the album put the brothers back on top; everybody wanted a song penned by or produced by the Gibbs. The follow-up album, Spirits Having Flown, gave them three more No. 1 hits: “Too Much Heaven”, “Tragedy”, and “Love You Inside Out.”

The group sang three-part tight harmonies that were instantly recognisable; Robin’s clear vibrato lead was a hallmark of their earlier hits, while Barry’s R&B falsetto became their signature sound during the late 1970s and 1980s. The brothers wrote all of their own hits, as well as writing and producing several major hits for other artists.

During a career that spanned four decades, the Bee Gees sold more than 110 million albums. Maurice helped write and perform 19 British top ten hits, including five number ones. The Bee Gees released over 20 albums and have sold in excess of 220 million records worldwide. At one point at their peak in 1978, the Gibb brothers were responsible for writing and/or performing nine of the songs in the Billboard Hot 100.

Maurice sang harmony and backing vocals most the time, leaving the lead vocals to his brothers; an accomplished musician, he played keyboards, guitar and was always the guy in control in the studio.

In 1994, Maurice was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 1997 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2002, was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE), along with his brothers.

Following Maurice’s unexpected death in January 2003, Barry and Robin retired the group’s name after 45 years of activity. In 2009, Robin announced that he and Barry had agreed that the Bee Gees would re-form and perform again. Robin died in May 2012 after a prolonged struggle with cancer.

Important Dates In The Life Of The Bee Gees:

On this day in music
16 Jul 2020
Drummer Jamie Oldaker, whose career included stints alongside Eric Clapton and Peter Frampton, died of cancer at the age of 68. In 1974, Oldaker played on Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard, the first of 11 Clapton albums to feature Oldaker on drums. Oldaker also played alongside Leon Russell and Bob Seger, with Ace Frehley and Peter Frampton, and appeared on recordings with artists as diverse as the Bee Gees, Stephen Stills and the Bellamy Brothers.
4 Jan 2016
Australian-born British-resident music entrepreneur, film producer and impresario, Robert Stigwood died aged 81. He was best known for managing Cream and the Bee Gees, theatrical productions like Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar and film productions including the hugely successful Grease and Saturday Night Fever.
17 Nov 2014
American soul singer Jimmy Ruffin died aged 78. Ruffin who was the elder brother of David Ruffin of the Temptations had the 1974 UK No.4 single 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted'. In 1980, Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees produced his album Sunrise and the hit single 'Hold On To My Love', reached No.10 in the US and No.7 in the UK.
18 Mar 2014
American musician, percussionist, actor and voice actor Joe Lala died from complications of lung cancer at the age of 66. As a drummer and percussionist, he worked with The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Manassas, The Bee Gees, Whitney Houston, Joe Walsh, Andy Gibb and many others. He played the trademark congas that drove the Bee Gees' 1976 US chart-topper 'You Should Be Dancing', subsequently included on the multi-million selling Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
23 Oct 2012
It was reported that Bee Gees star Robin Gibb, who died last May at the age of 62, left an estate worth £93 million, ($148 million).
20 May 2012
Robin Gibb, one-third of the Bee Gees and a singer-songwriter who helped to turn disco into a global phenomenon by providing the core of the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, died from cancer aged 62. Bee Gees hits including: Massachusetts, I've Gotta Get a Message to You, How Deep Is Your Love and Stayin' Alive, established their pop legacy by placing their falsetto harmonies at the centre of the 70s disco boom.
27 Sep 2008
Pink Floyd's manager Bryan Morrison died after spending over two years in a coma. Morrison suffered severe brain injuries in a polo accident at the Royal Berkshire Polo Club, England in 2006, and never recovered. He also managed The Pretty Things and was a music publisher for Syd Barrett, The Bee Gees, Elton John, The Jam T-Rex and Wham!
25 Jun 2006
Turkish-American music producer and arranger Arif Mardin died aged 74 from pancreatic cancer. He worked at Atlantic Records for over 30 years, before moving to EMI. The winner of 11 Grammy Awards, he worked with Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Roberta Flack, Wilson Pickett, Average White Band, The Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand and Norah Jones.
20 Jan 2006
American music executive Johnny Bienstock died of complications from heart disease aged 83. Owned Moss Rose Music, worked with Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Elvis Presley, The Bee Gees, Eric Clapton, Del Shannon and Meat Loaf.
4 Jan 2006
The house where Johnny Cash lived for 35 years was bought by Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb. The rustic house near Nashville, Tennessee went on the market in June 2005 with an asking price of $2.9m (£1.7m). Gibb said he planned to preserve the house to honour the Cash memory. Unfortunately Gibb's ownership of the house was short-lived. In April 2007, the house burned to the ground. Gibb was having the house renovated when a flammable spray sealer caused fire to break out during construction.
2 Sep 2005
Mariah Carey became only the fifth act ever to hold the top two positions in the US singles chart. The singer's ‘We Belong Together’ notched a 10th consecutive week at No.1 on the Billboard chart while ‘Shake It Off’ jumped two places to second place. The feat put Carey in a select group of acts to hold the top two with Nelly, OutKast, The Bee Gees and The Beatles. ‘We Belong Together’ was Carey's 16th number one, giving her the third highest number of chart-toppers in the US behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley.
12 May 2004
Barry and Robin Gibb from The Bee Gees were both presented with honorary degrees from Manchester University. They also picked up a posthumous award for their brother Barry. The brothers had once lived in Manchester, England.
12 Jan 2003
Singer-songwriter Maurice Gibb from The Bee Gees died aged 53 in Miami Hospital, Florida following a heart attack during abdominal surgery. The Bee Gees released over 20 albums and had the 1979 world-wide No.1 album 'Spirits Having Flown', and 'How Deep Is Your Love, 'Stayin' Alive', and 'Night Fever' from the soundtrack 'Saturday Night Fever' were all US No.1 singles. Gibb was married to the Scottish singer Lulu from 1969 to 1973. In 2002, Maurice was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE), along with his brothers.
23 Feb 2002
The Bee Gees made their last ever concert appearance when they appeared at the Love and Hope Ball, Miami Beach, Florida.
12 Oct 1999
The island of their birth, The Isle Of Man, issued six stamps honouring The Bee Gees. Their mother had run a local post office on the island.
9 Mar 1996
Take That scored their eighth and last UK No.1 single (until re-forming in 2006) with their version of The Bee Gees 1977 song 'How Deep Is Your Love', (originally intended for US singer Yvonne Elliman), and used as part of the soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever.
17 Mar 1990
British multi-instrumentalist. Rick Grech who had worked with Family, Blind Faith, Traffic, and Ginger Baker's Air Force died of renal failure at the age of 43, as a result of alcoholism. As a session musician Grech also worked with Rod Stewart, Ronnie Lane, Vivian Stanshall, Muddy Waters, The Crickets, the Bee Gees and Gram Parsons.
23 Apr 1988
Whitney Houston smashed a chart record held by The Beatles and The Bee Gees when 'Where Do Broken Hearts Go', became her seventh consecutive US No.1, a No.14 hit in the UK.
10 Mar 1988
Younger brother of The Bee Gees, Andy Gibb died in hospital. His death from myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) followed a long battle with cocaine addiction, which had weakened his heart.
17 Oct 1987
The Bee Gees became the only group to have a UK No.1 single in each of the three decades, (60s, 70s & 80s), when 'You Win Again' went to No.1 on the UK singles chart. The brothers fifth and last No.1.
8 Mar 1986
Diana Ross was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with the 'Chain Reaction.' Written and produced by The Bee Gees (who also provided the backing vocals for the single). The single became her first No.1 single in the UK since 'I'm Still Waiting' in 1971.
29 Oct 1983
'Islands In The Stream', gave Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers a No.1 on the US singles chart. The song was written by The Bee Gees and co-produced by Barry Gibb.
25 Oct 1980
Barbra Streisand scored her fourth US No.1 album with 'Guilty.' Also on this day Streisand started a three week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with a song written by the The Bee Gees 'Woman In Love', the singers only UK No.1.
9 Jun 1979
The Bee Gees went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Love You inside Out', the group's 9th US No.1 and a No.13 hit in the UK.
24 Mar 1979
The Bee Gees started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Tragedy', the group's eighth US No.1. and also No.1 in the UK.
17 Mar 1979
The Bee Gees went to No.1 on the UK album chart with their fifteenth studio album release Spirits Having Flown, the group's first album after their collaboration on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The album's first three tracks were released as singles and all reached No.1 in the US, giving the Bee Gees an unbroken run of six US chart-toppers and tying a record set by The Beatles.
3 Mar 1979
The Bee Gees scored their fourth UK No.1 single with 'Tragedy.' Also today The Bee Gees went to No.1 on the US album chat with 'Spirits Having Flown', the brother's second US No.1 album.
15 Feb 1979
At the 21st Grammy Awards, the 'Saturday Night Fever' soundtrack won Album of the Year and The Bee Gees were named Best Pop Group and Best Arrangement for Voices for 'Staying Alive'. Billy Joel's 'Just the Way You Are' won Record and Song of the Year. Donna Summer's 'Last Dance' won two Grammys: Best Female R&B Vocal and Best R&B Song.
24 Jul 1978
The Robert Stigwood film Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, featuring The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton. The film received extremely negative reviews from most critics and barely broke even at the box office.
6 May 1978
The soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever started an 18 week run at No.1 on the UK album chart, also No.1 in the US. The album, which features seven Bee Gees songs, went on to sell over 30 million copies worldwide.
4 May 1978
'Night Fever' by The Bee Gees was at No.1 on the UK singles chart. The group's third No.1 and the theme from the film 'Saturday Night Fever.' The song was a US No.1 for over two months.
18 Mar 1978
The Bee Gees had the Top 3 on the US singles charts, 'Night Fever' at No.1, '(Love is) Thicker Than Water', by brother Andy at No.2, co-written by Barry Gibb and 'Emotion' by Samantha Sang written and produced by The Bee Gees at No.3.
23 Feb 1978
Winners at this years Grammy Awards included Fleetwood Mac, Album of the year for Rumours. The Eagles, Record of the year for Hotel California and Best pop vocal performance, The Bee Gees for 'How Deep Is Your Love.'
4 Feb 1978
The Bee Gees started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Staying Alive'. From the film soundtrack Saturday Night Fever, it gave the brothers their fifth US No.1, also No.1 in the UK.
24 Dec 1977
The Bee Gees started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'How Deep Is Your Love', the group's 4th US No.1. It stayed in the top 10 for 17 weeks giving it the longest chart run in history, a No.3 in the UK.
30 Jul 1977
The Bee Gees younger brother Andy Gibb started a four-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'I Just Wanna Be Your Everything', his first of three US No.1's, it peaked at No.26 in the UK.
4 Sep 1976
The Bee Gees went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'You Should Be Dancing', the group's third US No.1, a No.5 hit n the UK. It was this song that launched the trio into Disco stardom and is the first chart-topper in which Barry Gibb used his now-trademark falsetto.
9 Aug 1975
The Bee Gees started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Jive Talkin', the group's second US No.1 it made No.5 in the UK.
30 Jan 1975
The Bee Gees begin recording 'Jive Talkin', which became their second US chart topper and No.5 UK hit. Barry Gibb's inspiration for the song came when his wife commented on the sound their car made while crossing a bridge over Biscayne Bay into Miami. She noted, "It's our drive talkin'."
7 Aug 1971
The Bee Gees started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'How Can You Mend A Broken Heart'. It was the group's tenth US hit and first No.1. The Bee Gees penned song was originally offered to Andy Williams, but ultimately the Bee Gees recorded it themselves, it was also later covered by soul singer Al Green.
18 Feb 1969
Three thousand uninvited guests showed up to see Lulu and The Bee Gees Maurice Gibb get married at St. James' Church, Gerrard's Cross, England. Brother Barry was the best man.
4 Sep 1968
The Bee Gees had their second UK No.1 single with 'I've Gotta Get A Message To You'. The song is about a man who, awaiting his execution in the electric chair, begs the prison chaplain to pass a final message on to his wife.
24 Dec 1967
The Bee Gees performed their Christmas special 'live' from Liverpool Cathedral, England which was broadcast on UK TV.
29 Oct 1967
Cream played two shows at the Saville Theatre in London, England, billed as "Sundays At The Saville", The Bee Gees were appearing the following week.
18 Oct 1967
The Bee Gees were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Massachusetts', the group's first of five UK No.1's. Engelbert Humperdink was at No.2 with ‘The Last Waltz’ and Traffic were at No.3 with ‘Hole In My Shoe.’
11 May 1967
The Bee Gees made their Top Of The Pops debut performing 'New York Mining Disaster' on the UK TV show.
14 Apr 1967
Polydor Records released The Bee Gees 'New York mining Disaster 1941' It was released with a promotional slogan announcing 'The most significant talent since The Beatles. The record became a Top 20 hit in the UK and US.
7 Feb 1967
Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees returned to the UK after living in Australia for nine years.
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