One day after Bob Dylan made headlines with a fascinating speech at the MusiCares Person of the Year event, Barry Gibb delivered an emotional and deeply personal speech at the Grammy Special Merit Awards. Gibb was there to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award for Bee Gees, the brother trio which scored top 10 hits in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
Gibb, 68, is the only surviving member of the trio. His younger twins Maurice and Robin died in 2003 and 2012, respectively. Their youngest brother Andy, who was a solo star in the late ’70s, preceded them all in death in 1988.
Gibb noted, “Andy wanted to be a Bee Gee, but he was a little too young. We never thought of ourselves as Bee Gees—we thought of ourselves as the four brothers. Me being the eldest, I was always watching out for the rest of them. And I miss them very much … I always imagined we would sit around in our 80s and laugh and joke. But it just didn’t work out that way….I think I’ve had enough of death to last me a lifetime.”
Gibb praised impresario Robert Stigwood, who brought them Saturday Night Fever and Grease (Barry wrote the title song of the latter film). “Robert presented us with those opportunities. When you see it, grab it, because it goes away real quick.”
Maurice Gibb’s son Adam accepted the award on behalf of his father.
Many consider the Special Merit Awards, which were held on Saturday at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, to be the highlight of Grammy week. Where the Grammys have become big and brash, the Merit Awards are an intimate affair. The honorees almost always show up to receive their awards. For honorees that have passed on, their children or other family members accept for them.
Dhani Harrison accepted the award for his father, George Harrison, who died in 2001. Dhani, who has subbed for his father on various music projects since 2002’s Concert For George, noted, “He did everything with a big, open heart and lots of love … He taught me that anything can be accomplished as long as you set out to do it with love.”