februar 2 2002
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, they sing the songs you can't get out of your head. One of the best-selling acts in musical history staying alive through nearly four decades of hits and heartbreaks, the amazing Bee Gees. Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb are next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
A great pleasure to welcome tonight -- we've been looking forward to this for a long time -- the Bee Gees. They're here. Barry Gibb, the senior member of the Bee Gees -- by the way, their new album is "This Is Where I Came In" -- Robin Gibb in the middle and Maurice Gibb on the outside. Robin and Maurice, as you probably know, are fraternal twins. They're not identical twins or this would be a riot and you'd be changing your television set.
How did this group -- is the Bee Gees named for you?
BARRY GIBB, MUSICIAN: No. No. Probably our mother first, Barbara Gibb. And then it just became Brothers Gibb. So that's really where it sort of started. And a guy that sort of heard us sing when we were kids, called Bill Gates (ph). So it was really his initials and he suggested -- there were so many B.G.s in the situation, he suggested (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: So this were years ago, Robin, you would have sang with Benny Goodman.
ROBIN GIBB, MUSICIAN: Yes, indeed.
KING: B.G. has affected your life
R. GIBB: But there was actually one more guy missing, a John Proctor (ph). And he said, "What about the J.P.s?" We said, "Right, get out of here."
KING: Where -- when did this start for the Gibb brothers? I mean, when did you know this is what -- this is a musical group?
MAURICE GIBB, MUSICIAN: Oh, I think when we were very young. When Robin and I were about 5, Barry was about 8.
B. GIBB: 1958.
M. GIBB: Yeah. It was just before...
KING: And you were in England?
M. GIBB: Living in Manchester, yeah. And we used to sing at home and stuff like that. And we used to do some of that lollipop and things like that, and just learned to harmonize. And we just sort of harmonized together automatically.
M. GIBB: But I remember when we'd walk down the street, Barry saying that one day we were going to be famous. We were going to do this.
KING: You really thought that?
B. GIBB: Well, you believe it. It's your dream. You know, you have a dream, and the three of us agreed that that was our dream. And hell or high water, we were going to be just like those groups in
R. GIBB: We were fascinated by records. People making records. Radio and records was...
B. GIBB: We'd sing on street corners.
KING: And you would get American records like Presley's and others and listen to them? Did they affect the way you sang?
M. GIBB: Well it was Neil Sedaka, mostly in those days.
M. GIBB: Yeah, because of three-part harmonies. He used to harmonized with himself. So, Neil, who's also a very good friend of ours today -- but it was ironic in those days that we used to hear these records or an Everly Brothers' record and have the third harmony ourselves. So we used to sing those songs.
KING: You had so many like ups and downs.
B. GIBB: Yeah.
KING: I mean, the Bee Gees -- we had Travolta here the other day, and he's had a career -- and you, of course, did the famous movie for him. But it's like yours in a sense.
B. GIBB: Yes.
R. GIBB: Yes.
KING: How do you explain that, Barry?
B. GIBB: I don't know if you can explain it. I think -- I don't think there's any such thing as someone who's constantly successful. So you just have to keep your head down, you know? Not everything you do works, and you have to accept that. Failure is part of it.
M. GIBB: I think if you're going to be around a long time or you want to be around a long time, it's inevitable that there's going to be things...
KING: So, therefore, when it is on top, you can't rest that easy and say, "This is it forever." You have to understand that or the fall will be terrible.
M. GIBB: Yes. That's the sad thing about first fame, is that the people that get first fame for the first time -- we call it first fame syndrome -- that they think everything is going to last forever. And when it doesn't -- that buzz of approval disappears -- they go elsewhere to find that buzz. And if they don't survive it and try again, they can die from drugs and alcohol and so forth.
KING: How, Barry, did the Bee Gees first get first fame?
B. GIBB: God...
KING: Well how old were you...
B. GIBB: Meeting Robert Stigwood. Meeting Robert Stigwood in
KING: They said groups were out?
B. GIBB: Yeah.
M. GIBB: That's correct.
B. GIBB: "We're sorry, lads. You know, the records are OK, and you're sort of good, but groups are out, and we don't want to put the energy into groups anymore." You know?
B. GIBB: But Robert Stigwood found our home number -- and let me add, of course, that Robert was managing director of NEMS, Brian Epstein's partner. So this was the Beatles' stable, you know? And he called our house, and we thought it was Mr. Stickweed (ph). It's true. And could he -- could he have a meeting with us? And we went down to his office, and we walked into NEMS and it was like, you know...
KING: And that led to what?
R. GIBB: That led to our recording contract. We had been two weeks in
KING: Did you get a hit right off the bat? R. GIBB: We got "New York Mine Disaster," which went top 20 in the states and top 20 in the
R. GIBB: "
M. GIBB: Yeah.
B. GIBB: Yeah.
KING: Who brought you to the States?
B. GIBB: Robert.
R. GIBB: Yeah.
KING: He did -- he was active manager?
M. GIBB: He was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) here, which was NEMS equivalent of Brian...
M. GIBB: ... of
KING: Now Paul McCartney said there's nothing like coming to the States the first time for the British act. True?
B. GIBB: Well, I think -- yeah, if we go back to '58 again, everyone our age, every boy our age wanted to be -- wanted to see
M. GIBB: Yeah.
KING: We'll be right back with the Bee Gees. Don't go away. By the way, the Bee Gees are the first and only songwriters to have had five songs in the top 10 at the same time. Don't go away.