Skip to main content


30 september 2016

I’m sat in the lounge of his Buckinghamshire house as the ­former Bee Gees star discusses with me the making of his first solo album for 32 years — In The Now.

“I feel energised,” he says. “I needed to get off my backside and I’ve always needed to write and play music.
“I’ve been writing music since I was eight years old — they were pretty bad songs then but, as time moved on, I got better.”
Modest, to say the least — Barry is generally regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
His revered songs include How Deep Is Your Love, Stayin’ Alive, Jive Talkin’, You Win Again, Woman In Love (his ballad with Barbra ­Streisand) and Night Fever.

He adds: “I didn’t really retire. I kept talking about it and thinking it was all over.
“When Mo (Maurice) died, I felt like the bottom had dropped out. I didn’t want to go on without him but Robin was very hyper to keep the Bee Gees going and to make more music. But I was still grieving.
“Some groups last five years and we’d been around the charts for 45 years so I tried to convince Robin it was OK to wait, to have a laugh, but I didn’t know he was ill.” Robin died in 2012 aged 62 after a battle with colon cancer, which had spread to his liver.
Barry had already lost Robin’s twin, Maurice, 53, in 2003 to complications from a twisted intestine, while youngest brother Andy died aged just 30 in 1988 after years of drug abuse.

Barry, 70, said he never felt ­comfortable as an artist without his brothers and it was only when he went on tour in 2014 that he understood how much the music still meant to fans.
He says: “I did about 20 shows worldwide and I didn’t know what to expect because it was just me and not the Bee Gees. I was ­celebrating my family and ­celebrating my brothers.
“We’ve had an incredible following since we were kids in Australia but I felt I needed to re-convince ­people I am OK as an individual artist. It was ‘digest me and you might like it’.”
Barry’s eminence as a performer was confirmed at Glastonbury in June when Coldplay’s Chris Martin introduced him to the stage to ­perform 1977 disco megahit Stayin’ Alive and hailed it “the greatest song of all time”.

Barry admits: “That was terrifying, no question about that, but ­everyone was kind and nice. Chris was so kind and backstage there was lots of activity to calm my nerves. Kids were playing soccer, Gwyneth Paltrow was there and I met Noel Gallagher.”
In The Now marks a new chapter in Barry’s life and the album was another family affair, made with his sons Stephen and Ashley.
He says: “Working with my sons is not unlike with Maurice and Robin — though they are quite different types of people.

Stephen is very heavy metal and a gentle giant whereas Ashley is very analytical and very concerned with everything we do and every lyric. In that way Ashley is like me, a little intense.
“But they are great and I love them both. And my daughter Ali is involved in publishing and licensing.
“I just want the Bee Gees’ music to end up in a good place where they are looked after and presented in a big and bright way.”
Barry and wife Linda, a former Miss Edinburgh, have five children and seven grandkids.
Barry met Linda at a recording of Top Of The Pops and the pair have been ­married for 46 years.

It was Linda who inspired Barry to make this album. He says: “She told me to get off my ass — literally — and (new track) Star Crossed Lovers is for her.
"I wanted to write a pop song like a Carole King song with that sort of emotion.
“I wanted to write about what it’s like to be in love.”
Of the many heartfelt songs on In The Now, one called The Long Goodbye “came from the loss of all my brothers”, says Barry.
He adds: I don’t think it is specifically a love song, I think that’s how it came about. We spent a lot of time dealing with each other, whether it was positive or negative — we dealt with it.
“For the last few years, first ­losing Andy, then Mo and then Robin, it really was a journey for me. I am the eldest, I should have been the first. I am still sitting here wondering, ‘Why?’ Though I’ve accepted it more now.”

Barry admits he had a particularly up and down relationship with Robin and another song, the ­poignant End Of The Rainbow, is dedicated to him.
Barry says: “I will never forget being a kid.
“Even when I am 90 years old I will still feel like a kid in my mind and that is what I always used to say to Robin. It is happening right now, enjoy it.”
Barry is clearly a sensitive soul and, when we meet, he tells me he is about to fly back to Miami to see his ailing 95-year-old mother Barbara who recently had a stroke.
He tells me: “We’re just waiting for the call. It’s very difficult and at the moment we don’t know if we are coming or going.
“I talk to my mother on the phone but it’s very difficult to understand what she is saying. But I owe her a lot.

She is a strong woman and encouraged us to do what we love doing for a career.
“She’s had a long life and that’s another reason for In The Now as an album title.
“You must live for the sake of life and not worry about what is going to happen tomorrow.
“We live in the past, with all the memories and great moments but we need to think of the present too.
“I look for laughter all the time and I don’t look for issues. I can’t think of anyone I don’t like. I don’t nurture those things any more.”

Sadly, a few weeks after our meeting, news broke that Barry’s mother has passed away at home in Miami.
But his mother’s strength inspired him throughout his life.
During our chat, he tells me: “Not only has she lost her sons — the loss of Andy was particularly hard — but I had accidents as a child. I was hit by a car twice.
I was badly scalded when I was two and my mother told me I didn’t speak for two years. So music and songwriting was my way of escaping my own feelings. I didn’t really have any friends.”
As well as In The Now being Barry’s coming to terms with time, he says it’s also about release.
“It’s the rejection of ego and I’m afraid we all had one,” he says with a laugh, showing off those famous pearly whites.
“I suppose it’s made me a better person. I’ve evolved into someone who is more understanding of things going on around me.

I try to reject all negative things because, if you let any issue creep into you while you are working, you are going to cause yourself great stress.”
Barry’s lounge features many photos of family and famous friends including Michael Jackson and Jack Nicholson.
The Bee Gees were THE band of the Seventies, following the release of the Saturday Night Fever ­soundtrack which sold more than 40million copies.
But despite those colossal sales, the Bee Gees also attracted critics — something that pained Barry.
“Yes, I found the jokes hurtful,” he admits. “Interviews were often based on the negative, never based on the positive. And that’s one of the reasons we walked off Clive Anderson,” he says of their famous 1996 TV show clash.

It was just a barrage of inferred insults,” says Barry. “And we were fans of Clive Anderson so that made me sad. I just snapped.”
Barry adds: “Success followed by failure is actually healthy. Constant success is dangerous.
“Fame can actually kill you, either by drugs as we saw with Elvis, or professionally with The Beatles as they couldn’t collaborate any more. And Michael Jackson — who I knew very well and watched disintegrate.
He was totally unable to deal with the business and I never wanted that. It happened very early for Amy Winehouse and was too much.
“But now I’ve come to understand the long haul — that people change, too. The industry changes and the ­people change. One time you’re in fashion, the next time you’re not.”
One thing that hasn’t changed over time is Barry’s unmistakable falsetto.

I ask how does he keep it in tune? “I warm up a little bit every day when something important is coming up until I’ve built my confidence,” he says.
“I’m ­nervous, so in my bedroom I have two big speakers, a mixer with an echo and microphone.
I turn off all the lights and have a little spotlight so I can put myself in that world. I will rehearse like I’m on stage. And that is me doing my homework.”
Barry is now looking ahead and hopes to tour his album. “If I happen, by luck, to get a Rick Astley or a Jeff Lynne moment then I certainly will be out there touring,” he says.
“I’ve got the finest band I’ve ever worked with. We are meticulous.
“It’s just wonderful to have this chance again. Everyone has been so positive and I try to seize every moment in life. And that’s what making this album has allowed me to do.”

source : The Sun


Popular posts from this blog

the story behind the song NY Mining Disaster 1941

Music History #8: "New York Mining Disaster 1941"By Bill De Main september 2012
<font color="#ffffff" size="5"></font>

Image credit:  Getty Images
“New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Have You Seen My Wife, Mr. Jones)”
Written by Barry and Robin Gibb (1967)
Performed by Bee Gees

The MusicWhen the Bee Gees debut US single was released in April 1967, a lot of people thought it was The Beatles masquerading as another band. Even the name Bee Gees was read as code for “Beatles Group.” But within a year, brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb established themselves not only as hit makers in their own right, but as chart rivals to the Fabs. “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” the first of thirty-some hits, is one of those rare pop songs in which the title never appears in the lyrics. Most people still refer to it by its subtitle “Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones.” Inspired by the Aberfan mining disas…

Meaning of Songs

THE MEANING OF SONGSCollaborator:Stephan Koenig ALONE (1997) BARRY GIBB: What the song's really about is that little child inside. It's that abstract feeling we all have that no matter how close or how many relatives we have or how many people around us we love, we still feel alone. There's an aloneness about all of us. That "How do I, why is it always end up alone?" Well, I'm not alone, but I might feel alone, that no one really thinks the way I do. I guess that's because everybody's unique in their own way. We all do feel the same way about most things, but why is it that nobody feels the same way I do about everything? So you're alone. You have that feeling sometimes.

MAURICE GIBB: Always with experimentation in mind, this was a fun time. The memories of this session will always be remembered. I loved the tuba and reverse cymbal effect.

BARRY GIBB: The other side…

Growing up Peta Gibb: A complicated relationship with a very famous father

PETA Weber has never wanted to speak publicly about her father, Andy Gibb, the youngest brother of Bee Gees fame. She didn’t want to acknowledge that she had a celebrity dad and until now, she hasn’t been ready to speak about some of the more painful memories of what that entailed. But after a reunion this year with her cousins to record an album together called The Gibb Collective, she’s finally ready to embrace that famous surname. She’s told her story exclusively to “HE WAS JUST A GUY ON THE END OF THE PHONE ... ” “I didn’t have the chance to get to know my father as well as I should have,” says Peta. “As I grew I learned that he was famous, and that he had famous siblings, but for me he was just a guy on the end of the telephone line.” Peta’s mother and Andy married here in Australia. It was around this time that things were really taking off for his brothers in America, and it was not long before Andy got the call to come over and join them. So, it was with excitement a…