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The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees

Disco group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

From lyrical ballads to falsetto-sung disco hits and beyond, the Bee Gees have always displayed a unique style of elaborate harmony and melodic structure. Despite a career setback due more in part to a perceived disco lifestyle and flavor precipitated by the media than to actual musical direction, the group has persevered, reminding listeners that long before there was Saturday Night Fever, there was a group comprised of three talented brothers once hailed by Robert Stigwood as the new Beatles.

Popularly believed to have hailed from Australia, the Bee Gees were actually born in England; Barry (born Douglas) on the Isle of Man in 1947, and the twins, Maurice and Robin, in Manchester in 1949. The brothers began performing as the Blue Cats at an early age, continuing their musical act when the family emigrated to Australia in 1958. After debuting on Brisbanes ABC-TV channel, the Gibbs won their own weekly television series and the Bee Gees quickly became the favorite group of Australias teens and preteens. Their first single, Three Kisses of Love, was released by Festival Records in 1963 and made the top 20 in Australia, to be followed by a number of hit singles over the next few years. Returning to England in 1967, the group signed with Robert Stigwood of NEMS, adding

For the Record

Members include brothers Barry Gibb (given name, Douglas; born on September 1, 1947, on the Isle of Man, England), and Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb (twins; born on December 22, 1949, in Manchester, England); sons of Hugh Gibb (a bandleader).

Began performing in England under various names, including the Rattlesnakes, the Bluecats, and Wee Johnny Hays and the Bluecats, 1955; family moved to Brisbane, Australia, 1958; began performing as the Bee Gees (for Brothers Gibb), 1958; signed first recording contract with Festival Records, 1962; hosted own television show in Australia, 1960s; international recording artists, 1967.

Awards: The National 2UE Award (Australia), Best Group of 1966; Pop Stars of the Year, Holland, 1967; New Musical Express, Best New Group, 1967; Bravo Goldener Sieger Der Otto-Wahl, 1968, 1969; Ivor Novello Award, 1968-69; Canadian Rock Champions, 1975; Billboard, Number One Pop Singles Duo or Group, 1976; AMPEX Golden Reel Award for Children of the World, 1976; Grammy Award, Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group for How Deep Is Your Love?, 1977; Grammy Awards, Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group, Best Producer of the Year (with others), and Best Arrangement for Voices, all for Saturday Night Fever, all 1978; AMPEX Golden Reel Award for Saturday Night Fever, 1978; Billboard, Album of the Year, Soundtrack of the Year, Disco LP of the Year for Saturday Night Fever, 1978; Billboard, Group of the Year, Pop Singles Artist of the Year, Pop Singles Group of the Year, Pop Album Artist of the Year, Pop Album Group of the Year, Single of the Year, 1978; Ivor Novello Awards, Best Pop Song, Best Film Music or Song, and special award, 1977-1978; Ivor Novello Award for outstanding contribution to British music, 1988, 1997; Songwriters Hall of Fame, 1994; American Music Award for lifetime achievement, 1997; BRIT Award for outstanding contribution to music, 1997; World Music Awards, Legend Award, 1997; induction, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1997.

Addresses: Record company Universal Records, P.O. Box 73, Kenmore, NY 14217. Website The Bee Gees Official Website: http://www.beegees.net.

drummer Colin Peterson to their group and having a sell-out debut at the Saville Theatre in London.

The groups first LP released in the United States, The Bee Gees First, followed the successful singles Spicks and Specks and New York Mining Disaster1941 in 1967. As their record sales increased, the group toured extensively in Europe and the United States, promoting a series of hit songs such as the melodic I Started a Joke and one of their best sellers, Words. In 1969, after their concept album Odessa went almost unnoticed, Robin Gibb parted company with his brothers for a brief solo career, rejoining them in 1970 for the hit single Lonely Days. The following year found them touring again, promoting a new album and enjoying their number-one hit on the American charts, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.

The next two years were modest ones, with little changing in the groups focus until they began to use a R&B sound that would soon lead to the disco sound the group became associated with in the mid-1970s. But we werent after disco, Maurice pointed out in a 1989 interview in the Detroit Free Press. We were into this new kind of music out of New York, real tough and sensual grooves. Disco to us was K.C. & the Sunshine Band; light dance is what we called it. No matter what they called it, after the Main Course album in 1975 and popular disco-styled hits Jive Talkin and Nights on Broadway, the group was consistently on the charts, ascending to an even higher level of popularity after their involvement in the Saturday Night Fever film and soundtrack album in 1977. Produced in only two weeks, the album featured what would become some of the Bee Gees biggest hitsincluding Night Fever, How Deep Is Your Love, Stayin Alive, and, for Yvonne Elliman, If I Cant Have You. Said John Rockwell in the New York Times, the Gibbs sound was both telling and instantly identifiable amidst the other disco pap one encounters on the radio. The group was to follow their success in 1979 with another chart-topping disco-style album, Spirits Having Flown.

Though the groups participation in Fever was casual, the immediate success of the album, which sold more than 40 million copies, linked the Bee Gees directly to the disco sound and the white suit, gold chain image created by the film. This image would prove more difficult to shake after ten years than their participation with Peter Frampton in 1978 in the ill-conceived and-received movie version of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Said Barry, I think what people dont like is the whole disco syndrome, which is more about style and not about the music. A lot of people tend to have forgotten that theres more to us than that stuff. We were probably on our fourth platinum album by the time the Fever thing came along.

After spending much of the 1980s producing artists such as Dionne Warwick, Barbra Streisand, and Diana Ross, the Bee Gees reemerged in 1987 with the album E.S.P., which sold three million copies in Europe but failed to gain much popularity in the United States. In 1988, promoting a new album (One), the group began touring the United States, battling what remained of their disco image. According to Barry, We want to re-establish ourselves on the forefront of American music, where we at least believe we have a place. We want to erase the illusion of Saturday Night Fever and the effect its had on us. Were going to stay active, stay as visible as possible as long as there are people out there who like what we do.

In 1988 the Gibbs were devastated by the death of their younger brother, Andy Gibb, who committed suicide at age 30; their father died not long afterward. They came back to release High Civilization in 1991, followed by Size Isnt Everything in 1993. Although these albums didnt chart in the United States, they performed very well in Europe. In 1997 the group released their twenty-fifth album in the United States, Still Waters. Were not a nostalgia act, Robin was quoted in USA Today. Were still making contemporary music.

Although theirs was not entirely the same comeback enjoyed by Saturday Night Fever associate John Travolta, 1997 was nonetheless a banner year for the Bee Gees. The veteran pop group appeared on the American and British television airwaves, including VH-1s Storytellers, CBSs 48 Hours, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Saturday Night Live, and the soap opera General Hospital. A new video documentary based on their career was released. Paramount Pictures attempted to recapture the disco craze by rereleasing Saturday Night Fever that fall. The trio had originally planned a tour of the United States for that time, but canceled, instead scheduling a special one time only event televised on pay-per-view.

In May of 1997 the Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Its like the pinnacle of everything youve worked for, Maurice Gibb said in Entertainment Weekly. Of their performance at the World Music Awards, David Adelson of Hits magazine said, The Bee Gees are once again a combination of cool and kitsch. They evoke favorable memories and seem to have won renewed respect, proving that longevity enables certain artists to become hip again. If you survive long enough, you can thrive again.

The Bee Gees released their second live album in 1998, One Night Only, and in 2001 released This Is Where I Came In, the groups twenty-eighth studio album. Liana Jonas of All Music Guide wrote, [T]he Bee Gees, again, inspire audiences with their ability to make music that is fresh, yet familiar, and ahead of their peers in terms of sound, song structure, and style. The group released a greatest hits collection, Their Greatest Hits: The Record, in 2001.

Selected discography

First, Atco, 1967.

Horizontal, Atco, 1968; reissued, Polydor, 1987.

Idea, Atco, 1968; reissued, Polydor, 1987.

Rare, Precious and Beautiful, Atco, 1968.

Best, Atco, 1969; reissued, RSO, 1987.

Odessa (double album), Atco, 1969.

Rare, Precious and Beautiful, Vol 2, Atco, 1970.

Cucumber Castle, Atco, 1970.

Two Years On, Atco, 1970; reissued, RSO, 1989.

Melody (soundtrack), Atco, 1971.

Trafalgar, Atco, 1971; reissued, RSO, 1989.

To Whom It May Concern, Atco, 1972.

Life in a Tin Can, RSO, 1973.

Best, Vol. 2, RSO, 1973; reissued, 1987.

Mister Natural, RSO, 1974.

Main Course, RSO, 1975; reissued, Polydor, 1988.

Children of the World, RSO, 1976; reissued, 1989.

Gold, Vol. 1, RSO, 1976.

Here at Last Live (double album), RSO, 1977.

Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack), RSO, 1977.

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (soundtrack; double album), RSO, 1978.

Spirits Having Flown, RSO, 1979; reissued, 1989.

Greatest Hits (double album), RSO, 1979.

Livin Eyes, RSO, 1982.

E.S.P., Warner Bros., 1988.

One, Warner Bros., 1989.

High Civilization, Warner Bros., 1991.

Size Isnt Everything, Polydor, 1993.

Still Waters, Polydor, 1997.

One Night Only (live), Polygram, 1998.

This Is Where I Came In, Uptown/Universal, 2001.

Their Greatest Hits: The Record, Uptown/Universal, 2001.

Sources

Books

Anderson, Christopher P., The New Book of People, Perigee, 1986.

Newsmakers 1997, Issue 4, Gale Research, 1997.

Nite, Norm N., and Ralph M. Newman, Rock On: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock N Roll, Volume II, Crowell, 1978.

Stambler, Irwin, The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock, and Soul, St. Martins, 1984.

Periodicals

Detroit Free Press, July 30, 1989.

Entertainment Weekly, May 23, 1997, p. 36.

People, August 7, 1989.

USA Today, May 6, 1997, p. 1D.

Online

The Bee Gees, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (August 1, 2002).

Meg Mac Donald

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Bee Gees, The

THE BEE GEES

Formed: 1958, Brisbane, Australia; Disbanded 2003

Members: Barry Gibb (born Manchester, England, 1 September 1946); Maurice Gibb (born Isle of Man, England, 22 December 1949; died Miami, Florida, 12 January 2003); Robin Gibb (born Isle of Man, England, 22 December 1949).

Genre: Rock, Pop

Best-selling album since 1990: Still Waters (1997)

Hit songs since 1990: "Alone," "Still Waters (Run Deep)"


Afamily vocal group known for its talent and durability, the Bee Gees enjoyed a long, colorful career before disbanding in 2003. Initially finding success during the mid- to late 1960s as a pop outfit inspired by rock pioneers the Beatles, the group recorded in a soulful ballad style before switching in the mid-1970s to R&B-influenced dance music, becoming a leading force behind the era's disco phenomenon. Although the Bee Gees were no longer a hit-making force by the early 1980s, they remained dedicated performers, launching a comeback near the end of the decade that sustained them throughout the 1990s. Due to the group's strong associations with discoa style often dismissed by serious music fansthe Bee Gees never earned strong critical praise, although certain reviewers have noted the musicality and versatility of their work. By 2001 the Bee Gees were recording albums that qualify as solid examples of pop craftsmanship.

Composed of fraternal twin brothers Robin and Maurice, as well as their older brother Barry, the Bee Gees (a modification of "Brothers Gibb") began performing as children in Manchester, England, inspired by African-American vocal groups of the 1930s and 1940s such as the Mills Brothers. Encouraged by their father, a bandleader, the brothers began performing at movie theaters in 1955. Moving to Brisbane, Australia, in 1958, they began writing songs and singing on television, eventually releasing a single, "Three Kisses of Love" (1962). Returning to England in 1966, the Bee Gees joined forces with producer Robert Stigwood, who arranged for their recordings to be distributed in the United States by the Atlantic/Atco label.

While early hits such as "To Love Somebody" (1967) and "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" (1968) were inspired by the Beatles's easy pop sound, their emotional feel also suggested a strong R&B influence. After enjoying further hits with "Lonely Days" and the lovelorn ballad, "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (both 1971), the Bee Gees floundered briefly before latching onto disco, recording in the R&B hotbed of Miami, Florida, and releasing classics such as "You Should Be Dancing" (1976), "Night Fever" (1978), and their most famous song, "Stayin' Alive" (1978). All three songs were featured on the multimillion-selling soundtrack to the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. Having reached a pinnacle of fame in the late 1970s, the group endured a host of problems throughout the 1980sparticularly the commercial decline of disco and the drug-related death of younger brother Andy in 1988.

Always tenacious, the Bee Gees launched a comeback in the late 1980s, scoring a Top 10 pop hit with "One" in 1989. Proving their ability to stay in touch with the latest trends, they released Size Isn't Everything (1993), incorporating light hip-hop rhythms on the minor hit "Paying the Price of Love." Like much of the group's earlier work, the album is marked by Barry's high falsetto vocals. In 1997 the group members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an important recognition of their endurance and influence. This honor led to the recording of a new album, Still Waters (1997). The minor hit "Alone" contains all of the ingredients that ensured the group's ongoing popularity: tuneful melody, smooth harmony vocals, and a likable, accessible sound. The title track "Still Waters (Run Deep)" was also a small hit, its easygoing R&B grooves providing strong support for the brothers' still-potent voices.

After releasing a live album, One Night Only (1999), the Bee Gees returned with This Is Where I Came In (2001), an album encompassing the many styles in which the group has recorded, from Beatles-inspired pop to tough rock. On "Technicolor Dreams," they add a clarinet and shuffling rhythm that suggest the "Dixieland" style of jazz music. Tragedy struck in early 2003, when Maurice died unexpectedly during surgery for an intestinal blockage. Devastated, the two surviving brothers announced their intention to disband.

Largely associated in the minds of listeners with disco, the Bee Gees were a unique, versatile outfit that recorded in a broad range of styles during their nearly forty-year career. Falling out of popular favor in the early 1980s, the group rebounded in the 1990s, releasing diverse, enjoyable albums before Maurice's death forced early retirement in 2003.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Bee Gees First (Atco, 1967); Odessa (Atco, 1969); Main Course (RSO, 1975); Children of the World (RSO, 1976); Spirits Having Flown (RSO, 1979); One (Warner Bros., 1989); Size Isn't Everything (Polydor, 1993); Still Waters (Polydor, 1997); This Is Where I Came In (Uptown/Universal, 2001). Soundtrack: Saturday Night Fever (RSO, 1977).

WEBSITE:

www.beegeesonline.com.

david freeland

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The Bee Gees

The Bee Gees

Pop/rock, disco group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

From lyrical ballads to falsetto-sung disco hits and beyond, the Bee Gees have always displayed a unique style of elaborate harmony and melodic structure. Despite a career setback due more in part to a perceived disco lifestyle and flavor precipitated by the media than to actual musical direction, the group perseveres, reminding listeners that long before there was Saturday Night Fever, there was a group comprised of three talented brothers once hailed by Robert Stigwood as the new Beatles.

Popularly believed to have hailed from Australia, the Bee Gees were actually born in England; Barry (born Douglas) on the Isle of Man in 1947, and the twins, Maurice and Robin, in Manchester in 1949. The brothers began performing as the Blue Cats at an early age, continuing their musical act when the family emigrated to Australia in 1958. After debuting on Brisbanes ABC-TV channel, the Gibbs won their own weekly TV series and the Bee Gees quickly became the favorite group of Australias teens and preteens. Their first single, Three Kisses of Love, was released by Festival Records in 1963 and made the top 20 in Australia, to be followed by a number of hit singles over the next few years. Returning to England in 1967, the group signed with Robert Stigwood of NEMS, adding drummer Colin Peterson to their group and having a sell-out debut at the Saville Theatre in London.

The groups first LP released in the United States, The Bee Gees First, followed the successful singles Spicks and Specks and New York Mining Disaster1941 in 1967. As their record sales increased, the group toured extensively in Europe and the United States, promoting a series of hit songs such as the melodic I Started a Joke and one of their best sellers, Words. In 1969, after their concept album Odessa went almost unnoticed, Robin Gibb parted company with his brothers for a brief solo career, rejoining them in 1970 for the hit single Lonely Days. The following year found them touring again, promoting a new album and enjoying their number-one hit on the U.S. charts, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.

The next two years were modest ones, with little changing in the groups focus until they began to use a rhythm-and-blues sound that would soon lead to the disco sound the group became associated with in the mid-1970s. But we werent after disco, Maurice pointed out in a 1989 interview in the Detroit Free Press.We were into this new kind of music out of New York, real tough and sensual grooves. Disco to us was K.C. & the Sunshine Band; light dance is what we called it. No matter what they called it, after the Main Course album in 1975 and popular disco-styled hits Jive Talkin and Nights on Broadway, the group was consistently on the charts, ascending to an even higher level of popularity

For the Record

Group comprised of brothers Barry (given name, Douglas; born Isle of Man, England, September 1, 1947), and Robin and Maurice (twins; born Manchester, England, December 22, 1949) Gibb; sons of Hugh Gibb (a bandleader). Began performing in England in 1955 under various names, including the Rattlesnakes, the Bluecats, and Wee Johnny Hays and the Bluecats; family moved to Brisbane, Australia, 1958; began performing as the Bee Gees (for Brothers Gibb), 1958; signed first recording contract with Festival Records, 1962; hosted own TV show in Australia during 1960s; international recording artists, 1967.

Awards: Grammy Award for best pop vocal performance by a group, for single How Deep Is Your Love?, 1977, and for album of the year, best pop vocal performance by a group, best producer of the year, and best arrangement for voices, all 1978, all for album Saturday Night Fever.

Addresses: Office Kragen, 1112 N. Sherbourne Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90069. Record company Warner Bros. Records, 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505.

after their involvement in the Saturday Night Fever film and soundtrack album in 1977. Produced in only two weeks, the album featured what would become some of the Bee Gees biggest hitsincluding Night Fever, How Deep Is Your Love, Stayin Alive, and, for Yvonne Elliman, If I Cant Have You. Said John Rockwell in the New York Times, the Gibbs sound was both telling and instantly identifiable amidst the other disco pap one encounters on the radio. The group was to follow their success in 1979 with another chart-topping disco-style album, Spirits Having Flown.

Though the groups participation in Fever was casual, the immediate success of the album, which sold over 40 million copies, linked the Bee Gees directly to the disco sound and the white suit, gold chain image created by the film. This image would prove more difficult to shake after ten years than their participation with Peter Frampton in 1978 in the ill-conceived and -received movie version of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.Said Barry, I think what people dont like is the whole disco syndrome, which is more about style and not about the music. A lot of people tend to have forgotten that theres more to us than that stuff. We were probably on our fourth platinum album by the time the Fever thing came along.

After spending much of the 1980s producing artists such as Dionne Warwick, Barbra Streisand, and Diana Ross, the Bee Gees reemerged in 1987 with the album E.S.P., which sold three million copies in Europe but failed in the United States. In 1988, promoting a new album (One) and rereleasing the single You Win Again from E.S.P., the group began touring the U.S., battling what remained of their disco image. According to Barry, We want to re-establish ourselves on the forefront of American music, where we at least believe we have a place. We want to erase the illusion of Saturday Night Fever and the effect its had on us. Were going to stay active, stay as visible as possible as long as there are people out there who like what we do.

Selected discography

First, Ateo, 1967.

Horizontal, Ateo, 1968, Poiydor, 1987.

Idea, Ateo, 1968, Poiydor, 1987.

Rare, Precious and Beautiful, Ateo, 1968.

Best, Ateo, 1969, RSO, 1987.

Odessa (double album), Ateo, 1969.

Odessa (condensed), 1969.

Rare, Precious and Beautiful, Vol 2, Ateo, 1970.

Cucumber Castle, Ateo, 1970.

Two Years On, Ateo, 1970, RSO, 1989.

Melody (soundtrack), Ateo, 1971.

Trafalgar, Ateo, 1971, RSO, 1989.

To Whom It May Concern, Ateo, 1972.

Life in a Tin Can, RSO, 1973.

Best, Vol. 2, RSO, 1973, reissued, 1987.

Mister Natural, RSO, 1974.

Main Course, RSO, 1975, Poiydor, 1988.

Children of the World, RSO, 1976, reissued, 1989.

Gold, Vol. 1, RSO, 1976.

Here at Last Live (double album), RSO, 1977.

Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack), RSO, 1977.

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (soundtrack; double album), RSO, 1978.

Spirits Having Flown, RSO, 1979, reissued, 1989.

Greatest Hits (double album), RSO, 1979.

Livin Eyes, RSO, 1982.

E.S.P., Warner Bros., 1988.

One, Warner Bros., 1989.

Sources

Books

Anderson, Christopher P., The New Book of People, Perigee, 1986.

Nite, Norm N., and Ralph M. Newman, Rock On: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock N Roll, Volume II, Crowell, 1978.

Stambler, Irwin, The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock, and Soul, St. Martins, 1984.

Periodicals

Detroit Free Press, July 30, 1989.

People, August 7, 1989.

Meg Mac Donald

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"The Bee Gees." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"The Bee Gees." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/bee-gees

"The Bee Gees." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved September 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/bee-gees