It sounds like a simple formula - beautifully composed songs -indelible melodies - incredible hooks - heartbreaking vocals - magical harmonies - trend-setting production. From the very beginning, singing together has really been as natural as breathing and almost as essential to this unstoppable trio of brothers (older brother Barry and fraternal twins Robin and Maurice) who began in harmony when they were little boys performing in Manchester England at local cinemas.
The soon-to-be Bee Gees emigrated to Australia with their family in 1958 and moved their act into local clubs. In 1963, they got their first record deal and were amongst the first of the ’60’s pop bands down under to write their own songs. Three years later, with their first #1 hit (“Spicks and Specks”) behind them, the Bee Gees returned to England with the intention of becoming internationally successful recording artists.
Four decades later, they have sold more than 110,000,000 albums including the most successful motion picture soundtrack of all time, earned 16 Grammy nominations and 9 Grammy awards, and had their songs recorded by hundreds of other artists including Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Barbra Streisand, N Sync, Wyclef Jean, Destiny’s Child, Celine Dion, Al Green, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Dionne Warwick, Johnny Mathis, Sarah Vaughn, Pras Michel, Oscar Dela Hoya, and so many more.
As songwriters and producers, they stand alone in having five singles in Billboard’s Top 10 at the same time. As artists, in having six consecutive #1 singles. Their songs have achieved #1 status in each of the last four decades and, with the release of their 2001 new CD, “This is Where I Came In” (Universal Records, April 2001), they expect to stretch that to five.
As a tribute to their fans around the world, and after a decade-long hiatus from touring, the Bee Gees performed one live show (“One Night Only,” MGM Grand, Las Vegas) in 1997, featuring a guest appearance by Celine Dion, which, when released as a CD (Fall 1998) sold more than 5 million copies worldwide and also became a Top 10 DVD (1999). A series of sold-out “One Night Only” stadium concerts, generally one per continent, followed including the Bee Gees’ triumphant home-coming returns at London’s Wembley Stadium and Sydney’s Stadium Australia. The latter concert, which was the first performance in the stadium built for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was attended by 72,000 cheering Bee Gees fans and was the most successful pop concert in Australian history.
In 1996-7, the Bee Gees received industry acknowledgment commensurate with their stature. In quick order, they received the American, World and British Music Awards “Lifetime Achievement” honors and were inducted into the Songwriter and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame, making them part of a very select group of artists to be in both the Rock and Songwriter Halls.
The straight truth is, nobody has done it longer and nobody has done it better than the Bee Gees. Only Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand have had significant careers that have lasted as long, but unlike those legends, the brothers Gibb write, arrange and produce their own songs. For forty years, they’ve been professional singers, for over thirty years, they have set trends and transcended fads with the sheer purity of their creativity. And now, as we await major musical moments in the new millennium, the creative return of the Bee Gees promises to open your ears - and open your hearts.