The Bee Gees were a singing trio of brothers ??? Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The group was successful for most of its forty years of recording music, but the trio had two distinct periods of exceptional success: as a harmonic "soft rock" act in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and as the foremost stars of the disco music era in the late 1970s. The group sang three-part tight harmonies that were instantly recognizable; brother Robin's clear vibrato lead was a hallmark of their earlier hits, while Barry's R&B falsetto became a signature sound during the disco years. The three brothers co-wrote most of their own hits, as well as writing and producing several major hits for other artists.
Born on the Isle of Man to English parents, the family lived in various locales that included Chorlton, Manchester, England and Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, where they began their musical careers. After early chart success in Australia, they returned to the United Kingdom where producer Robert Stigwood promoted them to a worldwide audience. It has been estimated that the Bee Gees' record sales total more than 200 million, making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997; fittingly, the presenter of the award to "Britain's first family of harmony" was Brian Wilson, historical leader of the Beach Boys, America's first family of rock harmony. Their Hall of Fame citation says "Only Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees".
Following Maurice's sudden death on 12 January 2003, Barry and Robin Gibb temporarily ended the group after forty-five years of activity. On 7th September 2009, Robin Gibb revealed that he and Barry Gibb had agreed that the Bee Gees would reform and perform again.
Plaque at Maitland Terrace/Strang Road intersection in Union Mills, Isle of Man.
The elder Gibb brothers were born on the Isle of Man, but the family returned to father Hugh Gibb's home town of Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester, England, in the early 1950s where the boys began to sing in harmony. On one occasion, the boys were going to lip sync to a record in the local Gaumont cinema (as other children had done on previous weeks), but as they were running to get there Maurice dropped the record and it broke. Now having no record, the brothers sang live and received such a positive response from the audience that they decided to pursue a singing career.
In 1958, the Gibb family, including infant brother Andy (born 5 March 1958 in Manchester, England), emigrated to Redcliffe in Queensland, Australia. The still very young brothers began performing where they could to raise pocket change. First called the Rattlesnakes, later Wee Johnny Hayes & the Bluecats, they were introduced to radio DJ Bill Gates by racetrack promoter Bill Goode (who saw them perform at Brisbane's Speedway Circuit). Gates renamed them the "Bee Gees" after his and Goode's initials ??? thus the name was not specifically a reference to "Brothers Gibb", despite popular belief.
By 1960, the Bee Gees were featured on television shows, and in the next few years began working regularly at resorts on the Queensland coast. Barry drew the attention of Australian star Col Joye for his songwriting, and Joye helped the boys get a record deal with Festival Records in 1963 under the name "Bee Gees." The three released two or three singles a year, while Barry supplied additional songs to other Australian artists.
A minor hit in 1965, "Wine and Women", led to the group's first LP The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs. By late 1966, the brothers decided to return to England, while the rest of their family stayed in Australia. They were not confident, however, of success in England as Barry told a friend, Steven Spence, later of Lloyds World, that they would be back next year. While at sea in January, 1967, they heard that "Spicks and Specks", a #1 hit in October 1966 had been awarded Best Single of the Year by Go-Set, Australia's most popular and influential music newspaper.
Late 1960s - first international fame
The original 5 member band.
Before their departure from Australia to England, Hugh Gibb sent demos to Brian Epstein who managed The Beatles and was director of NEMS, a British music store and promoter. Brian Epstein had passed the demo tapes to Robert Stigwood, who'd recently joined NEMS. After an audition with Stigwood in February 1967, the Bee Gees were signed to a five-year contract whereby Polydor Records would be the Bee Gees' record label in the United Kingdom, and ATCO Records would be the United States distributor. Work quickly began on the group's first international album, and Robert Stigwood launched a promotional campaign to coincide with its release.
Stigwood proclaimed that the Bee Gees were "The Most Significant New Talent Of 1967" and thus began the immediate comparison to The Beatles. Their second British single (their first UK 45 rpm issued was "Spicks and Specks"), "New York Mining Disaster 1941", was issued to radio stations with a blank white label listing only the song title. Some DJs immediately assumed this was a new Beatles' single and started playing the song in heavy rotation. This helped the song climb into the Top 20 in both the United Kingdom and the United States. No such chicanery was needed to boost the Bee Gees' second single, "To Love Somebody", into the U.S. Top 20. Originally written for Otis Redding, "To Love Somebody" was a soulful ballad sung by Barry, which has since become a pop standard covered by hundreds of artists including Gram Parsons, Rod Stewart, Janis Joplin, The Animals, Nina Simone, and Michael Bolton. Another single, "Holiday" was released in the United States, peaking at #16. The parent album, the erroneously titled Bee Gees 1st, peaked at #7 in the United States and #8 in the United Kingdom.
Following the success of Bee Gees 1st, the band (which now consisted of Barry on rhythm guitar, Maurice on bass, Vince Melouney on lead guitar and Colin Petersen on drums), began work on the act's second album. Released in late 1967, Horizontal repeated the success of their first album, featuring the #1 U.K. single "Massachusetts" (a #11 U.S. hit), and the #7 U.K. single "World". The sound of the album Horizontal had a more "rock" sound than their previous release, though ballads like "And The Sun Will Shine" and "Really And Sincerely" were also prominent. The Horizontal album reached #12 in the U.S., and #16 in the U.K. Promotiong the record, the Bee Gees made their first appearances in America, playing live concerts and television shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and Laugh In.
Two more singles followed in early 1968, the ballad "Words" (#15 U.S., #8 U.K.) and the double A-sided single "Jumbo" b/w "The Singer Sang His Song". "Jumbo" was the Bee Gees' least successful single to date only reaching #57 in the U.S., and #25 in the UK. The Bee Gees felt that "The Singer Sang His Song" was the stronger of the two sides, an opinion shared by listeners in the Netherlands, who made it a #3 hit. Further Bee Gees chart singles followed: "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" (#8 U.S., #1 UK) and "I Started A Joke" (#6 U.S.), both culled from the band's third album Idea. Idea was another Top 20 album in the U.S. (#17) and the UK (#4). Following the tour and TV special to promote the album, Vince Melouney left the group, feeling that he wanted to play more of a blues style music than the Gibbs were writing. Melouney did achieve one feat while with the Bee Gees???his composition "Such A Shame" (from Idea) is the only song on any Bee Gees album not written by a Gibb brother.
By 1969, the cracks began to show within the group. Robin began to feel that Stigwood had been favoring Barry as the frontman. Their next album, which was to have been a concept album called Masterpeace, evolved into the double-album Odessa. Most rock critics felt this was the best Bee Gees album of the 60s, with its progressive rock feel on the title track, the country-flavored "Marley Purt Drive" and "Give Your Best", and signature ballads such as "Melody Fair" and "First Of May". The last of which became the only single from the album, and was a minor hit. Feeling that the flipside, "Lamplight" should have been the A-side, Robin quit the group in mid-1969 and launched a solo career. Robin Gibb saw brief success in Europe with the #2 hit "Saved By The Bell" and the album Robin's Reign. Barry and Maurice continued as the Bee Gees, even recruiting their sister Lesley to appear with them on stage.
The first of many Bee Gees compilations, Best of Bee Gees was released, featuring the non-LP single "Words" plus the Australian hit "Spicks and Specks" The CD release replaces "Spicks and Specks" with another non-LP single "Tomorrow Tomorrow", because Polydor could no longer secure the rights to the Australian track. "Tomorrow Tomorrow" was a moderate hit in the UK reaching #23, but stalled at #54 in the U.S. The compilation reached the Top Ten in both the U.S. and the UK.
While Robin was off on his own, Barry, Maurice, and Colin continued on as the Bee Gees, recording their next album, Cucumber Castle. There was also a TV special filmed to accompany the album, which aired on the BBC in 1971. Colin Petersen played drums on the tracks recorded for the album, but was fired from the group after filming began and his parts were edited out of the final cut of the film. The leadoff single, "Don't Forget to Remember" was a big hit in the UK reaching #2, but a disappointment in the U.S., only reaching #73. The next 2 singles, "I.O.I.O." and "If I Only Had My Mind On Something Else" barely scraped the charts, and following the release of the album, Barry and Maurice parted ways. It seemed that the Bee Gees were finished. Barry recorded a solo album which never saw official release, though "I'll Kiss Your Memory" was released as a single, without much interest. Meanwhile, Maurice released the single "Railroad", and starred in the West End musical Sing A Rude Song.
The three brothers reunited in the later part of 1970, penning a series of songs about heartache and loneliness. Although they had lost traction on the British charts, the Bee Gees hit #3 in America with "Lonely Days" (from the reunion LP 2 Years On) and had their first U.S. #1 with "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (from Trafalgar). The trio's talents were included in the soundtrack for the 1971 film Melody as they performed several songs for the title. In 1972, they hit #16 in America with "Run to Me" from the LP To Whom It May Concern; the single also returned them to the British top ten for the first time in three years.
By 1973, however, the Bee Gees were in a rut. The album, Life in a Tin Can, and its lead-off single, "Saw a New Morning," sold poorly with the single peaking at #94. This was followed by an unreleased album (known as A Kick in the Head Is Worth Eight in the Pants). A second compilation album, Best of Bee Gees, Volume 2 was released in 1973, though it did not repeat the success of Volume 1.
On the advice of Ahmet Erteg??n, head of their U.S. label Atlantic Records, Stigwood arranged for the group to record with famed soul music producer Arif Mardin. The resulting LP, Mr. Natural, included fewer ballads and foreshadowed the R&B direction of the rest of their career. But when it too failed to attract much interest, Mardin encouraged them to work with the soul music style.
The brothers attempted to assemble a live stage band that could replicate their studio sound. Lead guitarist Alan Kendall had come on board in 1971, but did not have much to do until Mr. Natural. For that album, they added drummer Dennis Bryon, and they later added ex-Strawbs keyboard player Blue Weaver, completing the late 1970s "Bee Gees band". Maurice, who had previously performed on piano, guitar, organ, mellotron, and bass guitar, as well as exotica like mandolin and Moog, now confined himself to bass onstage.
At Eric Clapton's suggestion, the brothers relocated to Miami, Florida, early in 1975 to record. After starting off with ballads, they eventually heeded the urging of Mardin and Stigwood and crafted more rhythmic disco songs, including their second U.S. #1, "Jive Talkin'", along with U.S. #7 "Nights on Broadway." The latter featured Barry Gibb's first attempts at singing falsetto based on Arif Mardin's suggestion, in the backing vocals toward the end. Robin also began singing some passages in a falsetto pitch. The band liked the resulting new sound, and this time the public agreed, sending the LP Main Course up the charts. This was their second album to have two U.S. top-10 singles since 1968's Idea. Main Course also became their first charting R&B album. Mardin was unable to work with the group afterwards, but the Bee Gees enlisted Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson who had worked with Mardin during the Main Course sessions. This production team would carry the Bee Gees through the rest of the 1970s.
The next album, Children of the World, was drenched in Barry's newfound falsetto and Weaver's synthesizer disco licks. Led off by the single "You Should Be Dancing," it pushed the Bee Gees to a level of stardom they had not previously achieved in the U.S., though their new R&B/disco sound was not as popular with some die hard fans from the 1960s. The Bee Gees' band was now closer to a rock act, with rhythm guitar and real drums behind the falsetto.
Late 1970s: Saturday Night Fever
The 70's era logo.
Following a successful live album, Here at Last??¦ The Bee Gees??¦ Live, the Bee Gees agreed with Stigwood to participate in the creation of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. It would be the turning point of their career. The cultural impact of both the film and the soundtrack was seismic, not only in the United States but also in the rest of the world, bringing the nascent disco scene into the mainstream.
The band's involvement in the film did not begin until post-production. As John Travolta asserted, "The Bee Gees weren't even involved in the movie in the beginning... I was dancing to Stevie Wonder and Boz Scaggs." Producer Robert Stigwood commissioned the Bee Gees to create the songs for the film. The brothers wrote the songs "virtually in a single weekend" at France's Ch??teau d'H?©rouville studio. Barry Gibb remembered the reaction when Stigwood and music supervisor Bill Oakes arrived and listened to the demos:
They flipped out and said these will be great. We still had no concept of the movie, except some kind of rough script that they'd brought with them... You've got to remember, we were fairly dead in the water at that point, 1975, somewhere in that zone???- the Bee Gees' sound was basically tired. We needed something new. We hadn't had a hit record in about three years. So we felt, Oh Jeez, that's it. That's our life span, like most groups in the late 60s. So, we had to find something. We didn't know what was going to happen.
Bill Oakes, who supervised the soundtrack, asserts that Saturday Night Fever did not begin the disco craze; rather, it prolonged it: "Disco had run its course. These days, Fever is credited with kicking off the whole disco thing???-it really didn't. Truth is, it breathed new life into a genre that was actually dying."
Three Bee Gees singles ("How Deep Is Your Love", "Stayin' Alive", and "Night Fever") reached #1 in the United States and most countries around the world, launching the most popular period of the disco era. They also penned the song "If I Can't Have You" which became a #1 hit for Yvonne Elliman, while the Bee Gees own version was the B-Side of "Stayin' Alive." Such was the popularity of Saturday Night Fever that two different versions of the song "More Than a Woman" received airplay, one by the Bee Gees, which was relegated to being an album track, and another by Tavares, which was the hit. The Gibb sound was inescapable. During an eight-month period beginning in the Christmas season of 1977, the brothers wrote six songs that held the #1 position on the U.S. charts for 25 of 32 consecutive weeks???three under their own name, two for brother Andy Gibb, and the Yvonne Elliman single.
Fueled by the movie's success, the soundtrack broke multiple industry records, becoming the highest-selling album in recording history to that point. With more than 40 million copies sold, Saturday Night Fever is music's best selling soundtrack. It is currently calculated as the 7th highest-selling album worldwide.
During this era, Barry and Robin also wrote "Emotion" for Samantha Sang, who made it a Top Ten hit (the Bee Gees sang back-up vocals). A year later, Barry wrote the title song to the movie version of the Broadway musical Grease for Frankie Valli to perform, which went to #1. During this period, the Bee Gees' younger brother Andy followed his older siblings into a music career, and enjoyed considerable success. Produced by Barry, Andy Gibb's first three singles all topped the U.S. charts. On the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for April 8, 1978, five songs written by the Gibbs were in the U.S. top ten at the same time: "Night Fever", "Stayin' Alive", "If I Can't Have You", "Emotion" and "Love is Thicker Than Water". Such chart dominance hadn't been seen since April 1964, when the Beatles had all five of the top five American singles. Barry Gibb became the only songwriter to have four consecutive number one hits in the U.S.A, breaking the John Lennon and Paul McCartney 1964 record. These songs were ???Stayin??? Alive???, ???Love Is Thicker Than Water???, ???Night Fever???, ???If I Can???t Have You???.
The three Bee Gees also co-starred with Peter Frampton in the movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) loosely inspired by the classic 1967 Beatles album. The film had been heavily promoted prior to release, and was expected to enjoy great commercial success. However, the disjointed film was savaged by the movie critics, and ignored by the public. Though some of its tracks charted, the soundtrack was a high-profile flop. Previously, the Bee Gees had recorded three Beatles covers???"Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight", "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" and "Sun King" ???for the transitory musical documentary All This and World War II.
The Bee Gees' follow-up to Saturday Night Fever was the Spirits Having Flown album. It yielded three more #1 hits: "Too Much Heaven", "Tragedy", and "Love You Inside Out." This gave the act six consecutive #1 singles in America within a year and a half (a record surpassed only by Whitney Houston). "Too Much Heaven" ended up as the Bee Gees' musical contribution to the Music for UNICEF Concert at the United Nations General Assembly in January 1979, a benefit organized by the Bee Gees, Robert Stigwood, and David Frost for UNICEF that was broadcast worldwide. The brothers donated the royalties from the song to the charity. Up to 2003, this song had earned over $7 million for UNICEF. During the summer of 1979, The Bee Gees embarked on their largest concert tour covering the U.S and Canada. The Spirits Having Flown tour capitalized on Bee Gees fever that was sweeping the nation, with sold out concerts in 38 cities.
The Bee Gees even had a country hit in 1979 with "Rest Your Love On Me", the flip side of their pop hit "Too Much Heaven", which made Top 40 on the country charts. In 1981, Conway Twitty's version of "Rest Your Love On Me" topped the country charts.
The Bee Gees' overwhelming success rose and fell with the disco bubble. By the end of 1979, disco was rapidly declining in popularity, and the backlash against disco put the Bee Gees' American career in a tailspin. Radio stations around America began promoting "Bee Gee Free Weekends". Following their remarkable run from 1975???79, the act would have only one more top ten single in the U.S., and that wouldn't come until 1989. The Bee Gees' international popularity sustained somewhat less damage. Barry Gibb considered the success of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack both a blessing and a curse:
Fever was No. 1 every week... It wasn't just like a hit album. It was No. 1 every single week for 25 weeks. It was just an amazing, crazy, extraordinary time. I remember not being able to answer the phone, and I remember people climbing over my walls. I was quite grateful when it stopped. It was too unreal. In the long run, your life is better if it's not like that on a constant basis. Nice though it was.
1980s and 1990s
Rough times: The Bee Gees in 1983 following the disco backlash.
Robin and Barry Gibb released various solo albums in the 1980s but only with sporadic and moderate chart success. However, the brothers had continuing success behind the scenes, writing and producing for several artists - in 1982, Dionne Warwick enjoyed a UK Top 5 and U.S. Adult Contemporary #1 with her comeback single, "Heartbreaker". A year later, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers recorded "Islands in the Stream", which proved to be a U.S. #1 hit. Diana Ross also hit #1 in the UK charts in 1986 with "Chain Reaction". In addition, Barbra Streisand recorded her entire 1980 album, Guilty with the assistance of Barry Gibb, and the single "Woman in Love" - penned by the three brothers - reached #1 both in the U.S. and the UK. They became Streisand's most successful album and single.
In 1981, the Bee Gees released the album Living Eyes, but with the disco backlash still running strong, the album failed to make the US top 40. In 1983, the Bee Gees had greater success with the soundtrack to Staying Alive, the sequel to Saturday Night Fever. The soundtrack was certified platinum in the US, and included their Top 30 hit "Woman In You".
In 1983, the band was sued by Chicago songwriter Ronald Selle, who claimed that the Gibb brothers stole melodic material from one of his songs, "Let It End," and used it in "How Deep Is Your Love." At first, the Bee Gees lost the case; one juror said that a factor in the jury's decision was the Gibbs' failure to introduce expert testimony rebutting the plaintiff's expert testimony that it was "impossible" for the two songs to have been written independently. However, the verdict was overturned a few months later.
The Bee Gees released the album E.S.P. in 1987, which sold over 3 million copies. The single "You Win Again" went to #1 in numerous countries, including Britain, but was a disappointment in the US, charting at #75. The Bee Gees voiced their frustration over American radio stations not playing their new European hit single, an omission which the group felt led to poor sales of their current album in the States.
On 10 March 1988, younger brother Andy died at the age 30 as a result of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle due to a recent viral infection. His brothers acknowledge that Andy's past drug and alcohol use probably made his heart more susceptible to the ailment. Just before Andy's death, it was decided by the group that Andy would join them, which would have made the group a four piece. This did not come to pass, however. The Bee Gees' following album, One (1989), featured a song dedicated to Andy, "Wish You Were Here". The album also contained their first U.S. top ten hit (#7) in a decade, "One". After the album's release, they embarked on their first world tour in ten years.
Following their next album, High Civilization, which contained the UK top five hit "Secret Love," the Bee Gees went on a European tour. After the tour, Barry Gibb began to battle a serious back problem, which required surgery. In addition, he also suffered from arthritis, and at one point, it was so severe that it was doubtful that he would be able to play guitar for much longer. In the early 1990s, Barry Gibb was not the only Bee Gee living with pain. Maurice had a serious drinking problem, which he had battled for many years, but finally began recovery with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous.
In 1993, they released the album Size Isn't Everything, which contained the UK top five hit "For Whom the Bell Tolls". Four years later, they released the album Still Waters, which sold over four million copies, and debuted at #11 in the US. The album's first single, "Alone", gave them another UK Top 5 hit and a top 30 hit in the US. Still Waters would be the band's most successful US release of their post-RSO era.
One Night Only
On 14 November 1997, the Bee Gees performed a live concert in Las Vegas called One Night Only. The show included a performance of "Our Love (Don't Throw It All Away)" synchronized with a vocal by their deceased brother Andy and a cameo appearance by Celine Dion singing "Immortality". The CD of the performance sold over 5 million copies. This led to a world tour of "One Night Only" concerts. The tour included playing to 56,000 people at London's Wembley Stadium on 5 September 1998 and concluded in the newly-built Olympic Stadium in Sydney, Australia on 27 March 1999.
In 1998, the group's score for Saturday Night Fever was incorporated into a stage production produced first in the West End and then on Broadway. They wrote three new songs for the adaptation. Also in 1998 the brothers recorded Ellan Vannin for Isle of Man charities. Known as the unofficial national anthem of the Isle of Man, the brothers performed the song during their world tour to reflect their pride in the place of their birth.
The Bee Gees closed the decade with what turned out to be their last full-sized concert, known as BG2K, on 31 December 1999.
The "One Night Only" name grew out of the band's declaration that, due to Barry's health issues, the Las Vegas show was to be the final live performance of their career. After the immensely positive audience response to the Vegas concert, Barry decided to continue despite the pain, and the concert expanded into their last full-blown tour.
Maurice's son Adam, Barry & Robin accepting the Grammy Legend Award in 2003
In 2001, they released what turned out to be their final album of new material as a group, This Is Where I Came In. The album gave each member a chance to write in his own way, as well as composing songs together. For example, Maurice's compositions and leads are the "Man in the Middle" and "Walking on Air," while Robin contributed "D?©j? Vu," "Promise the Earth," and "Embrace," and Barry contributed "Loose Talk Costs Lives," "Technicolour Dreams", and "Voice in the Wilderness". The other songs are collaborative in writing and vocals. The Bee Gees' last public live show together was Live by Request, a special shown on A&E Network.
Maurice, who had been the musical director of the Bee Gees during their final years as a group, died suddenly on 12 January 2003, from a strangulated intestine. Initially, his surviving brothers announced that they intended to carry on the name "Bee Gees" in his memory. But as time passed they decided to retire the group name, leaving it to represent the three brothers together. The same week that Maurice died, Robin's solo album Magnet was released. On February 23, 2003, the Bee Gees received the Grammy Legend Award. Barry and Robin accepted as well as Maurice's son, Adam, in a tearful ceremony.
Although there was talk of a memorial concert featuring both surviving brothers and invited guests, nothing materialised. Since then Barry and Robin have continued to work independently and have both released recordings with other artists, occasionally coming together to perform at special events.
After the Bee Gees
In late 2004, Robin embarked on a solo tour of Germany, Russia and Asia. During January 2005, Barry, Robin and several legendary rock artists recorded "Grief Never Grows Old," the official tsunami relief record for the Disasters Emergency Committee. Later that year, Barry reunited with Barbra Streisand for her top-selling album Guilty Pleasures, released as Guilty Too in the UK as a sequel album to the previous Guilty. Robin continued touring in Europe.
In February 2006 Barry and Robin reunited on stage for a Miami charity concert to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute. It was their first public performance together since the death of brother Maurice. Barry and Robin also played at the 30th annual Prince's Trust Concert in the UK on 20 May 2006.
In October 2008 Robin performed a couple of songs in London as part of the BBC Electric Proms Saturday Night Fever performance. This involved various other performers and the BBC Concert Orchestra and was screened on the BBC and BBC interactive services.
According to PerthNow, Barry and Robin will travel to Australia in 2009 for a US documentary on how the Bee Gees conquered the world. They will then travel to Sydney where they will be handed the keys to the city and honoured at a star-studded tribute.
On 1st September 2009 Barry Gibb, in an aired interview with Easy Mix radio host Tim Roxborough while on the subject of future tours, mentioned that "they will be back" but in an agreement with Warner/Rhino they wouldn't make an announcement yet.
On 7th September 2009, Robin Gibb disclosed to Jonathan Agnew that he had been in touch with Barry Gibb and that they had agreed that the Bee Gees would reform and "perform again".
The Bee Gees have sold in excess of 205 million records and singles worldwide. "How Deep Is Your Love" is their most popular composition, with over 400 versions by other artists in existence.
At one point in 1978, the Gibb brothers were responsible for writing and/or performing 9 of the songs in the Billboard Hot 100. In all, the Gibbs placed 13 singles onto the Hot 100 in 1978, with 12 making the Top 40.
Their songs have been covered by singers of all stripes including Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Al Green, Eric Clapton, Lulu, Elton John, Tom Jones, Nina Simone, John Frusciante (who has covered "How Deep Is Your Love" during Red Hot Chili Peppers concerts), Feist, Billy Corgan, Michael Bolton, Robert Smith, Ardijah, Steps, US5 and Destiny's Child.
Songs written by the Gibbs but largely better known through versions by other artists include the following:
"Immortality" by Celine Dion
"If I Can't Have You" by Yvonne Elliman
"Chain Reaction" by Diana Ross
"Spicks and Specks" by Status Quo
"Emotion" by Samantha Sang and by Destiny's Child
"Come On Over" by Olivia Newton-John
"Warm Ride" by Graham Bonnet and by Rare Earth
"Guilty" and "Woman in Love" by Barbra Streisand
"Heartbreaker" & "All The Love In The World" by Dionne Warwick
"Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
"Grease" by Frankie Valli
"Hold On To My Love" by Jimmy Ruffin
"Only One Woman" by The Marbles
"Morning of My Life" by Abi and Esther Ofarim
"Rest Your Love on Me" by Conway Twitty
"Buried Treasure" by Kenny Rogers (backing vocals The Gatlin Brothers)
"Ain't Nothing Gonna Keep Me From You" by Teri DeSario
Many hit covers and album tracks of the Bee Gees' songs have been recorded, and the band's music has also been sampled by dozens of hip hop artists.
Awards and recognition
1979 Hollywood Walk Of Fame
1994 Songwriters Hall Of Fame
1995 Florida's Artists Hall Of Fame
1997 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
1997 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall Of Fame
2001 Vocal Group Hall Of Fame
2004 Dance Music Hall Of Fame
2005 London's Walk Of Fame
1977 Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Group - "How Deep Is Your Love"
1978 Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group - "Saturday Night Fever"
1978 Best Arrangement Of Voices - "Stayin' Alive"
1979 Album Of The Year - "Saturday Night Fever"
1979 Producer Of The Year - "Saturday Night Fever"
1980 Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal - "Guilty"
2000 Lifetime Achievement Award
2003 Legend Award
2004 Hall Of Fame Award - "Saturday Night Fever"
World Music Awards
1997 Legend Award
American Music Awards
1979 Favorite Pop / Rock Band, Duo Or Group
1979 Favorite Soul / R&B Album - "Saturday Night Fever"
1980 Favorite Pop / Rock Band, Duo Or Group
1980 Favorite Pop / Rock Album - "Spirits Having Flown"
1997 Life achievement Award
1997 Outstanding Contribution To Music
BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) Awards
2007 BMI Icons
In October 1999 the Isle of Man Post Office unveiled a set of 6 stamps honouring their native sons' music. The official launch took place at the London Palladium where the stage show of Saturday Night Fever was playing. A similar launch was held in New York shortly after to coincide with the show opening across the Atlantic. The songs depicted on the stamps are "Massachusetts", "Words", "I've Gotta Get A Message To You", "Night Fever", "Stayin' Alive" and "Immortality".
Freemen of the Borough honour
On 10 July 2009, the Isle of Man's capital bestowed the Freemen of the Borough of Douglas on Barry and Robin, as well as posthumously on Maurice, thereby conveying the award of the town of their birth to all three brothers.