The Bee Gees were a highly acclaimed and veteran English pop/rock singer-songwriter sibling trio with a long career dating back to the early 1960s in Australia. They became famous worldwide as a pop/folk rock act beginning in the late 1960s and shot to superstardom during the late 1970s after switching to disco. The Bee Gees' trademark sound came from lead singer Barry Gibb's powerful falsetto, brother Robin's vibrato vocals, and the group's overall close-knit harmonies. Their many signature songs include "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" (1971), "Jive Talkin'" (1975), "You Should Be Dancing" (1976), "How Deep Is Your Love" (1977), "Stayin' Alive" (1977), "Night Fever" (1978), and "Too Much Heaven" (1978). The Bee Gees are equally famous as songwriters, having penned all of their own hits as well as many songs that also became hits for other bands and artists.
The Bee Gees core members consisted of Barry Gibb (b. September 1, 1946) and fraternal twin brothers Robin (December 22, 1949 - May 20, 2012) and Maurice Gibb (December 22, 1949 - January 12, 2003), with a number of backing musicians that have changed over the years. Born on the Isle of Man, the Gibb brothers and family lived in Manchester, England and by the mid 1950s, they had formed their first group while still in elementary school. In 1958, the Gibbs moved to Australia and the three brothers soon after began performing professionally. They landed a recording contract with Leedon Records in 1963 and had their first charting song that year with "The Battle Of The Blue And The Grey," the first in a string of hits on the Australian charts that culminated with the Top 10 smash, "Spicks And Specks" (1966). The Bee Gees then returned to England in early 1967, signed with Polydor (U.K.) and Atco Records (U.S.), and released their international debut album, "Bee Gees' 1st."
The Bee Gees debuted in 1967 in the U.S. and in several other countries worldwide with the moody and gripping "New York Mining Disaster 1941 Have You Seen My Wife, Mr. Jones," followed by a series of mostly introspective melodic ballads that include "(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts" (1967), "I've Gotta Get A Message To You" (1968), "I Started A Joke" (1968), "Lonely Days" (1970), and the chart-topping "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" (1971). The Bee Gees' next chart-toppers came with "Jive Talkin'" (1975) and "You Should Be Dancing" (1976), which heralded the group's stylistic change to mostly disco for the remainder of the 1970s. During that era, the Bee Gees had more #1 hits than any other band or artist, and their fame soared with "Saturday Night Fever," the hugely popular title soundtrack for the 1977 movie starring John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney. This album spawned three more #1 hits for the Bee Gees, "How Deep Is Your Love" (1977), "Stayin' Alive" (1977), and "Night Fever" (1978), as well as Yvonne Elliman's chart-topping rendition of "If I Can't Have You" (1977). Later Bee Gees hits include the chart-topping "Too Much Heaven" (1978), "Tragedy" (1979), and "Love You Inside Out" (1979), and the ever-versatile brothers continued reinventing themselves over the years while maintaining their signature sound. They charted into the 2000s with such hits as the stirring "This Is Where I Came In" (2001), the title track from their final studio album.
After Maurice Gibb's passing in 2003, Robin and Barry Gibb stopped performing as the Bee Gees and continued their respective solo careers, with occasional onstage reunions. They returned as the Bee Gees in 2009 and continued up to Robin's passing in 2012. The Bee Gees remain among pop music's all-time top selling acts, with over 120 million records sold worldwide to date. Their numerous honors and accolades over the years include being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
- For more info about the Bee Gees, visit beegees.com.
- The New York Times remembers Maurice and Robin Gibb.
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- Alive 1972
- First Of May 1969
- Holiday 1967
- How Can You Mend A Broken Heart 1971
(This song topped the charts.)
- I Started A Joke 1968
- I've Gotta Get A Message To You 1968
- Jive Talkin' 1975
(This song, which topped the charts, heralded a major stylistic shift for the Bee Gees.)
- Lonely Days 1970
- (The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts 1967
- My World 1972
- New York Mining Disaster 1941 Have You Seen My Wife, Mr. Jones 1967
- Nights On Broadway 1975
- Run To Me 1972
- To Love Somebody 1967
(This song later also became a hit for the Sweet Inspirations (1968) and Michael Bolton (1991).)
- Words 1968
(This introspective ballad was written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb.)
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