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Barry Gibb celebrates brothers he survived

Since 2003, Barry Gibb lost two younger brothers, Robin and Maurice, both his bandmates in one of pop music's most celebrated trios. A third, Andy, another famous artist, died back in 1988, at just 30. And the eldest Gibb still talks to all three siblings — "every night," he says.
"Maybe that makes me sound like an idiot," says Gibb, 67. "But my brothers are never out of my mind. I'll hear a song by one of them, and my memory will go right there. They are still here with me."
In fact, while Mythology: The Tour Live, which kicks off May 15 in Boston is billed as Gibb's solo trek, the surviving Bee Gee — also renowned for his work as a solo artist, and his collaborations with other stars as a writer, producer and performer — insists that he will carry those spirits with him, and pay homage to them.
Gibb will "incorporate tributes my brothers" during the six dates, which wrap June 4 in Los Angeles. "The show is really a celebration of the people I've worked with," from the late brothers Gibb to Barbra Streisand "It's extremely varied, and an act of joy."


The breadth of Gibb's work in the Bee Gees alone is documented on both 2010's Mythology, a compilation showcasing each Gibb brother's favorite tunes, and the new five-disc set Bee Gees: The Warner Bros. Years: 1987-1991. Released in April, the latter includes, in addition to three studio albums from that period, the first audio release of the full 1989 concert captured on video for 1991's One for All. That live recording features tunes tracing the group's evolution from a folk-pop outfit influenced by The Beatles, the Beach Boys and assorted Australian and American roots music to disco kings in the late '70s.
Rolling Stone editor Anthony Decurtis that the Bee Gees "defined a massive pop-culture moment" with the latter songs (including, of course, hits from The Saturday Night Fever  soundtrack), ones that fans flocking to Gibb's new shows remember "with a great deal of affection. There was a freedom and a sensuality to that music that people still long for."
Gibb's influence and the group's "extend well beyond that," to musicians of all stripes, DeCurtis acknowledges. And Gibb's personal taste is just as eclectic. A self-described "bluegrass freak," he listens to artists ranging from Ricky Skaggs to Bruno Mars and Lorde. "I love seeing people coming up."
Don't expect Gibb to join the growing club of pop veterans who evaluate or mentor youngsters on TV talent shows, though. "When l watch American Idol seems so hard. I don't think I could judge someone as young as that. I couldn't be discouraging — I know what a struggle it is."
On tour, in fact, Gibb is extending his family homage by tapping members of a new generation. His son, Stephen, will play guitar and sing, while daughter Ali works the teleprompter. Niece Sami, Maurice's daughter, is a featured vocalist.
Gibb and his wife of 44 years, Linda — "We never go anywhere without each other," he says — live about a mile away from Stephen in Miami. The younger musician will pop up to jam in his dad's home studio, which Gibb recently converted "back to analog. The sound of digital music doesn't quite do it for me."
But even as Gibb honors the past, he likes to think ahead. He writes new songs "all the time. You have to keep moving forward. As long as I'm on the bike, I'm going to keep pedaling."

© usatoday

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