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Barry Gibb elaborates on songwriting through bereavement

 Tresa Patterson| Nov 5, 2016


CBS- This morning

Barry Gibb has been writing songs since he was eight years old, and he distinctly affirms that “never stopped writing songs” through any of the 62 years since.  There has been a three-decade span since the composer’s last solo effort, with good reason. Barry Gibb has come to know what true grief is, losing brothers, Maurice and Robin to cancer, and suffering not just the closest possible kindred connection, but his most reliable, ever present, collaborators, who always provided the honest sounding board , along with unmatched harmonies.  As remarkable as the brothers Gibb were and remain in artistry, as a family, they bore the same hurts, scars, and secrets as millions of other families, and part of the process, and the needed lapse, in creating In The Now was to allow room for saying what needed to be said, hurting the hurts, and moving to forgiveness and release. Barry reflected on that heartfelt journey with Anthony Mason on “CBS This Morning” for November 5, and gave a sampling from the most personal album possible.


Just as playful as he was in participating with “twin,”Jimmy Fallon, for Silhouette Singing, Barry played along with his interviewer about having a microphone by his bed and a “spotlight shining,” just in case the urge to belt out some hits arises in the wee hours.  Fun aside, the past decade and a half have hardly been cause for levity for Barry Gibb.  Just as he and Robin began to talk about creating together after Maurice’s passing in 2003, which prompted Barry to say “it's over” for the Bee Gees, it turned out that their last performance would be one for the CBS “Sunday Morning” archives of 2009, because Robin was secretly battling colon cancer, not sharing a word with his brother. Hard as it is to comprehend, the surviving Gibb displays remarkable awareness and empathy, asking to himself, “How would I have responded? I would have been another doctor,” and the last thing his brother needed.  Robin succumbed in his cancer battle in 2012, and not without a loving last few moments with his brother singing “End of the Rainbow” by his bedside, “hearing all the beeps and the oxygen mask, and all the things you don't really want to remember” as his brother faded in a coma.  “I don't know if he heard me or not, but I needed to sing it,” Barry confronts.


Music still means family for Barry Gibb, who has been performing with sons, Stephen and Ashley, since 2004, and the proud papa enlisted his boys as co-writers on the new album. The title track is an uplifting ode of rising out of the ashes of loss, insisting “I may be lonely, but I’m not alone,” and taking hold of love “in my heart, in my soul, in the now.”  This was no stripped-down, acoustic-only morning set. The consummate performer, Gibb brought his full complement of the family band, and backup singers besides, supporting the same infectious songwriting knack that he has always possessed.  “Grand Ilusion” is a groove-driven composition about facing truths and choices through life, and staying prepared for the “slings and arrows” bound to fly.  Closing out the morning selections was “A Home Truth Song” that marks a declaration from the artist to go “where I should not go,” in his own quest of artistic and personal truth, “all or nothing,” with an easy, California feel.

Barry Gibb gushes that “All of the feelings that I've ever had in life are all in this album.” He clearly has much still waiting within to allow “me to explode on my own now,” and it won’t be just from his bedroom.


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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


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