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Larry Gatlin talks about writing with Barry Gibb

DN: You mentioned Barry Gibb. What was it like to co-write with him and other artists.

Gatlin: I wrote 34 top 40 hits for us. I didn’t do the co-writing thing; it wasn’t my deal. When I was in Nashville, it was not that big of a deal, a few people did co-writing. Mickey Newbury was a huge influence on me, and he told me he knew my heart and that I should sing my own songs. He told me if I had a hit and it was somebody else’s song it would break my heart if I had to sing it for years, so that’s how I built my career, and it worked. I’m in the top 10 of artists with number one songs without a co-writer.

Now when Barry Gibb asks you to co-write a song, you ask him where he wants you to be and when. It was a new experience for me and he is such a great friend. The result was “Indian Summer” which we recorded with Roy Orbison. Five years ago, I moved back to Nashville and did some writing with John Rich and Leslie Satcher and some folks. I enjoyed it … a little bit. I am not sure if I’ll do it again. It wasn’t my cup of tea.

DN: Staying on Barry Gibb for a moment, you must have had a connection, because you both worked with your brothers. I wonder if the family thing gets in the way sometimes.

Gatlin: It doesn’t really get in the way, it’s just another deal. The Barry Gibb meeting happened at a Grammy event 30 years ago. I think it was a songwriters event, and the brothers weren’t there. Barry was there without his brothers and he saw me and said, ‘You’re Larry Gatlin, my brothers and I love you and your brothers.’ He invited me up to the Waldorf, and Robin was there but Maurice wasn’t, and we sang Bee Gees and Gatlin Brothers songs all night. They filled in the harmonies and Gatlin Brothers songs and I filled in the other harmony part on the Bee Gees songs. It was an incredible experience. It was like we were brothers, and when he invited me down to Florida, it was wonderful. I would welcome the opportunity to write songs with him again. We have both been pretty busy.


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