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Bee Gees about Songwriting

Barry Gibb: "Firstly, I think we give the public melodies. And secondly, we don't attempt to preach at people. There are so many groups which try to change the world. We, I think, are simply a pop group which writes all its own songs. We write songs about people and situations; we tell stories in our songs, but we don't give sermons." (1968)Maurice Gibb: "I do less singing, of course. I only come in on high harmonies. I'm more of the musician, playing the piano, bass, mellotron or organ on records, which saves money on hiring musicians, for one thing. It's the same when it comes to writing. I write the music, because I cannot really write lyrics. But I can write chords like Robin's never heard of. So I provide the music for them to write the lyrics to. It's the same as on stage -when we write we complement each other." (1968)Robin Gibb: "Titles can inspire a song. 'My Lover's Prayer' and 'I Surrender' were titles first. We've always done that. Way back when we used to write songs like 'Holiday.' We'd say, 'Let's get a name.' We could write a song about anything. And somebody said, 'Holiday.' And we wrote a song called 'Holiday.' That's how we've always done our music." (Still Waters Press Kit, 1997)Maurice Gibb: "It's something that we've been gifted with, and we've just nurtured all the years. It's something that happens, and we all get into the same 'zone.' It's the only word I can use to describe it. That it clicks. That's why if one of us is a little off that night, it's like, 'I don't feel too good tonight.' We don't write. Because we need that input. We need to be joined like a chain. If there's a broken link, we can't do it right." (Still Waters Press it, 1997)
Barry Gibb: "My strengths have always been ideas and construction and lyric form. I started when I was about 8 or 9 years old, then Maurice and Robin sort of jumped on board when they became the same age. I'm about three years older. Then we all started writing together. I'd say Maurice is very creative in the area of keyboards and coming up with the magic chord when you're looking for one, or general ambiance of a song, atmosphere. If I describe to Maurice the atmosphere that I want, he will give it to me, keyboard-wise. So there's a lot of bouncing around. Robin is very good lyrically. Robin's a very good judge. In other words, I'm the persdon who will throw an awful lot of stuff and Robin will be like an antenna and he will say, 'I like that but I don't like this and I really love this.' He becomes the sounding board." (Performing Songwriter, 1998)Barry Gibb: "We never completely do a song just to please ourselves. We bring everybody we can into the studio, even the receptionist, so that we can get their opinions. We put about thirty percent of what we consider to be our art into our records and about seventy percent of it is us writing for the public. You've got to include both, and that's how we do it. And we don't dwell too much on deep stories, because today people want to hear songs about love. Each song in the Top Twenty is about love. Every album in the Top Ten is based on love." (Rolling Stone, 1978)Maurice Gibb: "We usually go in and say I feel crazy today, we'll do something. Yes, let's go back. It's just the two of us to start with and then one of them will join us. I'll call Robin, I'll call Barry up: 'Listen I've got this great idea, got to come down, listen I need your input.' And everybody, if each brother says something that's not quite right, there's a reason why he's saying it. So the other two always listen. What is it about it that you want to keep? What is it that's making you argumentative or creative? What is it? And then we'll explore that area totally. If I have something: 'No we shouldn't go there, we should be here.' There's a reason why I am saying it. And each of us now over the years respected each other's opinion." (In Conversation, 2001)Barry Gibb: "What songwriting's always been to me is basically like a flash. I have a flash of an idea or a flash of a chorus, or a flash of a song before it's actually constructed. That hasn't changed, it's continued right through my life. I'll get up in the middle of the night and put something on a dictaphone and go back to sleep." (Performing Songwriter, 1998)
Maurice Gibb: "If you can write a good song that last for years. I mean that is a great blessing." (In Conversation, 2001)Maurice Gibb: "When we get together and write it’s not like three individuals, it’s like one person in the room." (Mojo, 2001)Barry Gibb: "Theres is an instinctive information vault that's indigenous to songwriters, a little box you can go to and all of your songs are in there. An imaginary barrel - that's what I always used to call it." (Performing Songwriter, 1998)Maurice Gibb: "Most of the songs we've written that have been successful have been written quickly." (Still Waters Press Kit, 1997)
Maurice Gibb: "We're lucky to have been blessed with being able to make music: anybody can write a song, but whether it's nay good or not is another matter. We've always loved writing songs and music and hopefully this will continue." (OK On Air, 2001)Maurice Gibb: "I'm not really that fluent in lyrics. Barry and Robin are more in that area. I'm more into arranging them, trying to paint the picture." (Still Waters Press Kit, 1997)Maurice Gibb: "We always write our songs that we love and record what we love and we hope that everybody else would love what we love. We don't make records or cds or anything like that just to please the public. We always write the songs that we love to write and perform and record." (In Conversation, 2001)

Robin Gibb: "The style of writing songs doesn't change at all, really. We have a cassette player in the middle of a table, and we sit around with the guitars and keyboards and shoot out ideas. I don't think you can do it any other way, really. Melody first, lyrics second." (Still Waters Press Kit, 1997)


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Image credit:  Getty Images
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