Brothers Barry and twins, Robin and Maurice Gibb comprised the group the Bee Gees. They first performed when Barry was eight years old and Robin and Maurice were six, in 1955.
When the family moved to Australia in 1958, they performed as The Rattlesnakes, Wee Johnny Hayes and the Bluecats, The Gibbs, The BG’s and finally the Bee Gees. Despite popular belief, their name is not short for Brothers Gibb. It was actually created by DJ Bill Gates by taking Barry’s initials and racetrack promoter Bill Goode’s mother Barbara’s initials. Goode was responsible for introducing the Gibbs to Gates.
Their father, Hugh Gibb, sent demo tapes to Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who passed them on to Robert Stigwood. Stigwood signed the Bee Gees to a five-year contract with Polydor Records in 1967.
The first single to be released, “New York Mining Disaster 1941” went top 20 on the Billboard weekly charts. Their second single, “To Love Somebody” was originally written for Otis Redding and has since been covered by such artists as Rod Stewart, Janis Joplin and Michael Bolton, also went top twenty; as did their third single “Holiday.”
It is said that the Bee Gees had two distinct musical successes; their soft rock period of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and the leaders of a rejuvenated disco era in the late 1970’s.
The Bee Gees composed the soundtracks for “Saturday Night Fever” and “Staying Alive” and they even did some acting in the 1978 film, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
On the charts, the Bee Gees traveled to the weekly Billboard Top 40 charts nearly 30 times, hitting the #1 spot nine times. Here’s a look at the Bee Gees 20 biggest hits, according to the Billboard charts:
- Night Fever – 1978 – one of three number one singles from the “Saturday Night Fever” album.
- Stayin’ Alive – 1978 – their three number one singles from the “Saturday Night Fever” album held the #1 position for 15 weeks.
- How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? – 1971 – their first number one single.
- How Deep Is Your Love? – 1977
- Too Much Heaven – 1979 – used as their contribution to the Music For UNICEF Concert and all royalties from this song were donated to the charity.
- Tragedy – the fifth of six consecutive number one singles between 1977 and 1979; a record only broken by Whitney Houston.
- Jive Talkin’ – 1975 – from the “Main Course” album.
- Love You Inside Out – 1979 – their last #1 single.
- You Should Be Dancing – 1976 – a #1 single from the “Children of the World” album.
- Love So Right – 1976
- Lonely Days – 1971
- I Started A Joke – 1969 – from their third album, “Idea.”
- Nights On Broadway – 1975 – featuring Barry Gibb’s first attempts at singing falsetto.
- One – 1989 – their last top 10 single.
- I’ve Got To Get A Message To You – 1968 – their first top 10 single.
- (The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts – 1967 – from their second album, “Horizontal.”
- Fanny (Be Tender With My Love) – 1976
- Boogie Child – 1977
- New York Mining Disaster 1941(Have You Seen My Wife, Mr. Jones) – 1967 – their first top 20 U.S. single.
- Words – 1968
The Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1997.
Their younger brother, Andy, was a successful solo artist with three consecutive #1 singles. Andy died in 1988 at the age of 30.
With the sudden death of Bee Gees member, Maurice, in 2003, it looked like the Bee Gees would never record or perform again. In 2009, Robin and Barry agreed to reform the Bee Gees and they appeared that year on ABC TV’s “Dancing With The Stars” and in 2010, they made a surprise appearance on the season finale of “American Idol.”