You can’t help feeling for Barry Gibb. In the public imagination he is linked with the Bee Gees. Think how hard it must be to be the last Bee Gee standing. From when he was a boy, he sang, harmonised, wrote songs, and performed with his younger brothers, the twins Robin and Maurice. In 1955, when he was 9 and the family lived in Manchester, Barry formed the skiffle group The Rattlesnakes with Robin, Maurice and a couple of neighbourhood friends. By 1957, the band had a repertoire of cover songs
In December 1957 the band played its first professional gig. The Gibb family immigrated to Australia in August 1958, sailing on the same boat as Kylie Minogue’s parents. In Australia, the Gibb boys named themselves the Bee Gees. By 1962, Barry had quit school and auditioned his growing body of songs for an agent. Pretty soon the Bee Gees were signed and recorded a number of Australian hits. They were on their way. Our first video is Barry’s first solo show after the deaths of Robin and Maurice.
That was May 2014 2003 when Maurice Gibb died aged just 53. Robin died in 2012 at 62. After Maurice’s death, Robin and Barry retired the Bee Gees. By 2009, Robin and Barry were ready to perform again, seeing it as commemoration of their long history as a band with Maurice. Then Robin died after a long illness. As the video shows, Barry was devastated. The comments on the video on YouTube are revealing. Patricia Gurwitz writes, “You never see Barry alone, his brother’s presence can always be felt”
Peter Green states: “You can see the sadness and loss in his eyes but the music goes on. What a trooper.” It’s Just Renee observes: “Barry doesn’t look ridiculous like a lot of old pop stars who won’t give it up; probably because he’s a true, gifted, genuine talent. I’m glad he decided to share his legacy with us once again.” Let’s take a look at the Bee Gees in their prime. Staying Alive is their most popular video on YouTube, but the upbeat disco doesn’t suit this article. I’m going with this:
That, of course, is Too Much Heaven, from Spirits Having Flown (1979), the Bee Gees’ follow up to Saturday Night Fever. It has 279M views on YouTube. Incidentally, the official Bee Gees site has two copies of Staying Alive. One has 746M views, the other 351M.
The Music Man salutes Barry Gibb for his stellar career alongside his younger brothers Robin and Maurice.