Barry Gibb on life, tunes and a sterling career


11:05 a.m. CDT, May 22, 2014

The Bee Gees — brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb — were the most successful trio that ever was: They were pop stars in the '60s, disco superstars in the '70s, and virtual outcasts in the '80s and '90s. Maurice died in 2003, Robin in 2012 (their brother Andy, a star in his own right, died in 1988). Gibb, at 67 a reluctant solo artist, is currently in the middle of the "Mythology" tour, a greatest-hits-heavy tribute to his brothers. We got him on the phone for a wide-ranging conversation. Some of his thoughts are excerpted below:
"In the very beginning we (took the Mythology tour to) Australia. I needed to go home and chase memories, and go and see the place where we emigrated to when we were children. It was a roller coaster for me, but I had to go back and live those moments. I have to celebrate my brothers, but it's very emotional, of course it is. Of course it is."
...
"It's been 45 years of making music together. It's been hard for me to be objective, but what I do like is when people tell me they fell in love to a certain song. They're songs we love and songs we wrote, and that's the only way I can see it. It's hard for me to look at it from another viewpoint. I only perform the songs I love. It's that simple."
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"You don't know what tomorrow's going to bring. There were times when we couldn't get airplay. In 1972, after 'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart' was a No. 1 hit in America but it wasn't a hit anywhere else, I think people were beginning to write us off at that point. But we never wrote us off. We fought hard."
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"I think there's an emotional center to the whole thing, the era that we lived through and the wonderful times we had. It never will be about white suits, although Paul McCartney told me I should wear a white suit and everybody would go crazy. I said if I wore a white suit, I would go crazy."
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"The craziness is always around. I went through all of that. I got to know a lot of people that I admire, like Michael Jackson and Barbra (Streisand), and I noticed that they always seemed overwhelmed. They never wanted to go out anywhere, they didn't want to be seen. Michael was a rare exception. He was great fun to be around. He and I would share a bottle of wine and talk about what fame was all about. There's a lack of self-esteem among great artists, that I've seen. I enjoy hearing stories about Elvis that no one hears about. That's another person who probably had low self-esteem. I love not being noticed. People still ask me for ID in stores. I like not being recognized."
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"Maurice used to say (they should have kept the Gibbs-penned (Kenny) Rogers-(Dolly) Parton hit 'Islands in the Stream' for themselves), but I never felt that way, because when those songs were written, we couldn't get on the radio. We had to go back to our period of not being relevant. Those records wouldn't have been hits if we had recorded them. So there you go."
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"I think we were philosophical about it. At least I certainly was. We were raising children, and life was changing. Our feeling was, everybody sort of gets five years, and if you get more than five years, you're very fortunate in this business. We kept persisting, we went up and down, it was a roller coaster ride."
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"When Mo passed away, neither Robin nor I could find our feet. We didn't want to be the Bee Gees. We weren't the Bee Gees without Mo, anyway. It's not like a group, it's three brothers. We were conflicted. Robin wanted to live his own life. After forty-five years, I think that was fine. In another way, so did I. I think in a sense we were trying to escape being the Bee Gees as the two of us. We were running away from that."
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"In the end, when Robin got very ill, he still wanted us to do something, but he was too ill to do it. I began to realize, 'Wait a minute, Robin's very ill. I don't know what from, but he's very ill.' I didn't know 'til seven months before he passed. That's the riddle of life."
....
"There's a new song a song for Robin called "The End of the Rainbow," because he was always looking for what's at the end of it, you know? And I would always say, 'Well, you know, Robin, the dream came true. It's okay to enjoy the idea that we made it.' It was a long journey, but we made it."
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"Looking back, what I miss more is seeing their faces, including Andy. All of us being together. The camaraderie, the love that we shared, and the love of music that we shared. That's never going to leave me. And I miss singing in harmony. You can still sing in harmony, but not like my brothers."

Comments

Sensational this interview of Barry.
I love the Bee Gees since childhood, and I know that Barry was the strength of the band, but the three together were unsurpassed in harmony.
He is doing excellent shows from 2012. Now in 2014 in the USA is much better.