Barry Gibb in 1973
|Birth name||Barry Alan Crompton Gibb|
|Also known as||Johnny Hayes|
1 September 1946 |
Douglas, Isle of Man
|Origin||Manchester, Lancashire, England|
|Genres||Rock, blue-eyed soul, pop, disco, country|
|Occupations||Musician, singer, songwriter, record producer|
|Labels||Polydor, Atco, MCA|
|Associated acts||The Rattlesnakes, Bee Gees|
Barry Alan Crompton Gibb CBE (born 1 September 1946) is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and producer who rose to worldwide fame as a founder member of the Bee Gees. He is also the eldest and last surviving Gibb brother. With his younger brothers, twins Robin and Maurice, he formed the Bee Gees, one of the most successful pop groups in the history of music. Their younger brother Andy was also a popular singer. The trio got their start in Australia and found major success when they returned to England.
Born in Isle of Man and raised in Manchester, England, where he formed his first group the Rattlesnakes, but was evolved into the Bee Gees in 1958, when they moved to Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia. Known for his high-pitched falsetto singing voice, Gibb shares the record with John Lennon and Paul McCartney for consecutive Billboard Hot 100 Number Ones as a writer with six. The book of Guinness World Records lists Barry Gibb as the second most successful songwriter in history behind Paul McCartney. Gibb's career has spanned over fifty years. In 1994, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame with his brothers. In 1997, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Bee Gees.
1946–54: Early life
Gibb was born to Barbara (née Pass) and Hugh Gibb (15 January 1916 – 6 March 1992) on 1 September 1946 at Jane Crookall Maternity Home at Douglas, Isle of Man. He has an older sister, Lesley Evans (12 January 1945), and had three younger brothers, fraternal twins Robin (22 December 1949 – 20 May 2012) and Maurice (22 December 1949 – 12 January 2003), and Andy (5 March 1958 – 10 March 1988).
The 'Alan' was in honor of Hugh's second youngest brother, who died in infancy. According to Hugh, in a mingling of fact and fiction, the third name was given to the eldest son of the family in honor of Gibbs' illustrious ancestor, Isaac Crompton. When Barry was born, Hugh was busy with his music, working at various hotels in Douglas, while his mother stayed at home looking after the children. Later, the Gibbs moved to Chapel House on Strang Road. When he was almost two years old, he was badly burned. His mother had just made tea which she had put on the table; he climbed up and pulled the tea pot down and got the tea all over him. He was in Nobles Hospital for about two and a half months. That period is totally gone out of his memory. Only the physical scars remain. In 1949, the Gibb family relocated to 50 St. Catherine's Drive. Later in December 22, Robin and Maurice were born and during the same time, according to Gibb's elder sister, Lesley, that she remembered three-year-old Barry was unimpressed with the new arrivals. When the twins were young, they moved to Smedley Cottage, Spring Valley, also in Douglas.
He started school on 4 September 1951, three days after his fifth birthday, attending Braddan school. In 1952, he went to Tynwald Street Infants School. On his seventh birthday in 1953, he went to Desmesne Road Boys School, where he stayed until the family left Isle of Man in early 1955. In 1952, the Gibb family relocated to 43 Snaefell Road, Willaston, which became their home for the next two years.
1955–66: The Rattlesnakes to the Bee Gees
He and his family moved to Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Manchester in 1955, and they formed a band called The Rattlesnakes, with Gibb on guitar, Paul Frost on drums, Kenny Horrocks on tea-chest bass, and Robin and Maurice on vocals. As a kid, Gibb became involved in the skiffle craze, as he formed his first band The Rattlesnakes in Manchester, England, with himself on guitar, Robin and Maurice on vocals, Paul Frost on drums and Kenny Horrocks on tea-chest bass. Frost and Horrocks was the Gibbs' neighbor. The band's first 'real' performance was on 28 December 1957. According to Horrocks, Gibb's first song ever written was "Hopscotch Polka" as Horrocks said: "Barry was just making up words aloud, while strumming his guitar in the Gibb's front garden, for several days until the song was finished". Horrocks also says that the song was good. Around the same time, fellow Rattlesnakes member Paul Frost accidentally broke Gibb's guitar. The house was dark because Gibb's father had been unable to pay the electricity bill, and Frost accidentally sat on the guitar, leaving it "broken in the middle." In May 1958, the Gibb family moved to Northen Grove as Horrocks and Frost left, but the pair would maintain close contract with their former neighbors. And the name The Rattlesnakes was changed to Johnny Hayes and the Blue Cats as Robin said: "We did the Palatine [Cinema] as Wee Johnny Hayes and the Blue Cats, Barry was Johnny Hayes". Horrocks recalls that Barry did a solo spot as Wee Johnny Hayes at a "Minor 15", a talent contest for under-fifteen held on Princess Club in Chorlton.
When he was 12 years old, his family moved to Brisbane, Australia in August 1958 settling in one of the city's poorest suburbs, Cribb Island. The suburb was later bulldozed to make way for Brisbane Airport. It was in Australia that Gibb and his brothers Robin and Maurice started performing as the Bee Gees. In 1964, he wrote the songs "House Without Windows" and "And I'll Be Happy" for Trevor Gordon. In 1965, he wrote the songs "Little Miss Rhythm and Blues" and "Here I Am" also for Trevor. Also in that year, he wrote "Watching The Hours Go By" for Australian singer Noeleen Batley but it was only released as a B-side.
In 1967, the Gibb family returned to England. Shortly thereafter, the Bee Gees became international stars. That same year he wrote the song "To Love Somebody" with Robin for American soul singer-songwriter Otis Redding, but Redding died in an aeroplane crash later that year, before having a chance to record the song, and Barry takes the lead vocal on that song. In 1968, the Bee Gees made their first appearance on The Smothers Brothers Show on CBS.
In 1968, they recorded "First of May"  with lead vocals by Barry. The flip side of the song was "Lamplight" on which Robin Gibb sang the lead. Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood chose "First of May" to be the A-side. No other songs were released from the album Odessa. Also that year, Robin quit the group.
In 1969, after Robin quit, they recorded the songs for their seventh album Cucumber Castle, with all of the songs sung by Barry, except the song "My Thing" (which was performed by Maurice). In June 1969, Gibb co-wrote "The Love of a Woman" and its B-side "Don't Let It Happen Again", Samantha Sang's first single. Also in that month, P.P. Arnold recorded the Bee Gees song "Bury Me Down By the River", which was produced by Barry. In October 1969, he also produced the Samantha Sang songs "Please Don't Take My Man Away" and another Bee Gees song "The Day Your Eyes Meet Mine". Neither song was released.
After the Bee Gees disbanded in late 1969, Maurice started to record his album in that same year and Barry started to record his first solo album that following year.
After Robin's temporary departure from the Bee Gees in 1969, Gibb recorded his first solo album The Kid's No Good in 1970. However, the only part of the album that was released was the single "I'll Kiss Your Memory." The song "One Bad Thing" and its B-side "The Day Your Eyes Meet Mine" (both songs were originally written and recorded for the Cucumber Castle sessions in 1969) which he considered as the second single off the album were proposed to be released as a single around October 1970. In 1973, the Bee Gees' 11th album Life in a Tin Can was released, Barry sang the lead on the album's lead single "Saw a New Morning".
At the start of 1976, Gibb recorded songs for the Bee Gees' album Children of the World, also in that year Gibb wrote "I Just Want to Be Your Everything", Andy Gibb's first US No. 1, and provided backup vocals. Also in 1977, Barry took the lead vocals on the songs "How Deep Is Your Love", "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever"; these songs all reached No. 1 in the US. In 1977, Gibb co-wrote "Emotion", which remains Samantha Sang's best-known hit. Around the same time, Gibb and Galuten wrote "Save Me, Save Me" as recorded by the group Network from New York City. In May to September 1977, Gibb along with Robin and Maurice started to record songs for the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and was produced by George Martin.
In 1978, Andy Gibb recorded his second album Shadow Dancing with participation by Gibb, the song of the same name was credited to all four brothers was also a US No. 1 single. In 1978, Gibb wrote "Grease" for the stage musical of the same name, which was performed by Frankie Valli after filming Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with Peter Frampton on guitar, the son was recorded around February. Also in February 1978, Gibb participated with Teri DeSario recording "Ain't Nothing Gonna Keep Me From You" which was written by him in 1977. In 1979, the Bee Gees' 1979 album Spirits Having Flown reached No. 1 in the US and other countries, most of the songs were performed by Barry. In 1978, he sang backup vocals, arranged and produced the Andy Gibb's 1978 album Shadow Dancing. After the Bee Gees' 1979 Spirits Having Flown Tour, he started to record demos for Barbra Streisand in October 1979. Also in that year, he sang backup vocals, playing guitar, synthesizer and produced the Andy Gibb's 1980 album After Dark.
In 1980, he produced Barbra Streisand's album Guilty. It features the title track and "What Kind of Fool", two duets between Streisand and Gibb that were released as singles. Also in 1980, during the same time he produced Guilty, Gibb recorded Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City" and The Beatles' "Lady Madonna". Around 1980, he played guitar on the Andy Gibb sessions, the songs are released on Andy's greatest hits album. In October 1980, the Bee Gees returned to Middle Ear Studios, and began to record songs for Living Eyes, but the sessions broke down and were not resumed until February, 1981. The sessions for Living Eyes continued until March. In 1982, he produced Dionne Warwick's album Heartbreaker and in August that year, the first song intended for Kenny Rogers, "Eyes that See in the Dark" was recorded after Gibb met Rogers. Rogers had asked for some songs, and Gibb continued recording demos for Rogers until April 1983 while the Bee Gees recorded songs for the film Staying Alive. In May 1983, he produced Kenny Rogers' album Eyes That See in the Dark. In August 1983, Irving Azoff signed Gibb to MCA Records for North America, for a multi-million dollar, multi-album deal, but the only album released was Now Voyager, in 1984. The first single released from the album, "Shine, Shine", reached No. 34 in the US and No. 10 in the US Adult Contemporary Charts; the second single, "Fine Line", failed to chart in the US or UK. In 1985, he produced Diana Ross' album Eaten Alive. In 1986, he recorded his third solo album, called Moonlight Madness, but it was rejected by MCA. For the 1988 film Hawks, all of the songs except one ("Chain Reaction" by Diana Ross) were performed by Gibb. Several of the songs on the Hawks soundtrack were originally part of the Moonlight Madness project. In 1987, the Bee Gees released a new album, E.S.P., which included the UK number one hit single "You Win Again". The album itself returned the band to the UK Top 5 for the first time since 1979. The next Bee Gees album, One, was released in 1989. This was less successful in the UK, but the title track became the band's first U.S. Top 10 hit in ten years.
Around 1990, the Bee Gees recorded High Civilization. In September 1990, Gibb played guitar and co-produced with Scott Glasel, "Born to Be Loved by You" by Kelli Wolfe was released as an unreleased B-side in August 1993. Gibb co-wrote, plays guitar and co-produced the song "Eyes" by Kelli Wolfe in January 1992. Around 1992, Gibb plays guitar on Lulu's "Let Me Wake Up in Your Arms" released in 1993. In 1993, the Bee Gees recorded and released Size Isn't Everything. In 1994, the Bee Gees and Polydor planned a tour to promote Size Isn't Everything but was off February, due to Gibb's trouble with arthritis in the back, right hand and right knee. Gibb co-wrote "I Will Be There" which was recorded as a demo for Tina Turner, and released on Turner's album Twenty Four Seven.
In 2001, Gibb co-wrote "I Cannot Give You My Love" with Ashley Gibb which was intended for Cliff Richard. In September 2001, the Bee Gees re-recorded "Islands in the Stream" which became their last session as a group as Gibb does not seem to be present on the session in Middle Ear Studios, Miami Beach, Florida. In 2002, Gibb and Michael Jackson recorded "All In Your Name. Also in 2002, Gibb sings background vocals on Michael Bublé's version of the 1971 song "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". In November 2003, 10 months after Maurice's death, Gibb contributed singing background vocals, playing guitar and producing the two songs performed by Cliff Richard, "I Cannot Give You My Love" and "How Many Sleeps?", Maurice Gibb's keyboard work from the 2001 demo version was copied to Richard's 2003 version. On 2 May 2004, Barry and Robin Gibb received the CBE award at Buckingham Palace, along with their nephew Adam, who collected the posthumous award in honour of his father, Maurice. In 2004, Gibb recorded "Underworld" and "Doctor Mann" both songs was released in iTunes, also around 2004, Gibb co-wrote and sing background vocals on Steve Gibb's solo single "Living in the Rain". In October 2004, Gibb began to record demos for Barbra Streisand to sing, he recorded the songs until February 2005. In January 2005, Gibb with his brother Robin recorded vocal parts along with many artists for the charity single "Grief Never Grows Old" behalf of victims of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. By April 2005, Streisand started to record songs for her new album until May which was produced by Gibb. In August 2006, two Gibb singles "Doctor Mann" and "Underworld" was released on iTunes, "Underworld" was featured on the film soundtrack of Arctic Tale but that song was not featured on the film. On 7 December 2006, Gibb (along with around 4,500 other musicians) bought a full-page advertisement in the Financial Times newspaper, calling for the British Government to extend the existing 50 year copyright protection of sound recordings in the United Kingdom. The fair play for musicians advertisement proposed that the copyright be extended to the American standard of 95 years, and was viewed as a direct response to the Gowers Review (published by the British Government on 6 December 2006), which recommended the retention of the 50 year protection for sound recordings.
In 2007, "Drown On the River" was released as a single in iTunes. The song later appeared on the soundtrack of Deal. Also in the same year, Gibb sing background vocals on Jamie Jo's song "U Turn Me On".
In more recent years, Gibb has participated in a variety of activities, such as appearing as a mentor in season six of American Idol, writing the song "Drown on the River" for the soundtrack of the film Deal, and writing the theme music for ITV's Grease Is the Word. On 14 March 2009, Gibb teamed with Olivia Newton-John to present the one-hour finale performance at a star-studded 12-hour live concert at Sydney's Sydney Cricket Ground, part of Sound Relief, a fundraiser to aid victims of the February 2009 Victorian Bushfires that devastated large tracts of heavily wooded and populated south-eastern Australia, where the Gibb family once lived. The concert was televised live nationally across Australia on the Max TV cable network.
On 10 July 2009, Gibb was made a Freeman of the Borough of Douglas (Isle of Man). The award was also bestowed upon his brother Robin, and posthumously upon his brother Maurice. Also in 2009, Barry and Linda Gibb became US citizens. They retain their British citizenship.
In late 2009, Barry and Robin announced plans to record and perform together once more as the Bee Gees.
On 21 February 2012, Gibb performed his first solo concert in the US at the Seminole Hard Rock Cafe in Florida. He sang "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" with Maurice's daughter, Samantha Gibb, who is a singer in her own band. Barry's son, Steve, was also on stage as lead guitarist and sang a Maurice composition, "On Time".
On 20 May 2012, Robin Gibb died, making Barry the sole surviving Gibb brother. Ricky Skaggs recorded "Soldier's Son" before June 2012, on which Gibb added vocals on July in that year, the song was recorded for Skaggs' album Music to My Ears to be released in September 2012. Gibb made his debut performance at the Grand Ole Opry on 27 July 2012, performing three songs.
Gibb commenced a world tour in 2013, starting in Australia called Mythology Tour, featuring the Bee Gees anthology set album of the same name. He was joined on stage by his son Steve Gibb and Maurice's daughter Samantha. On that tour, for the first time, Gibb performs "Playdown", "Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You", "I Started a Joke" and "With the Sun in My Eyes". Also for the first time, the music video of the Bee Gees' 2001 song "Technicolor Dreams" which was written by Gibb was shown on the video before the show was started.
Barry Gibb's first marriage was to Maureen Bates, whom he married on 22 August 1966, when he was 19 years old. The couple lived together for only a short time, and were divorced in 1970. Gibb said: "When we first came out, Jimi Hendrix said we were two-year old Beatles. He was just giving an opinion at the time. People just like to have go at other artists. But we are very good friends with Jimi now". Years later, Gibb recalled: "He was a great mate of mine. He came to my twenty-first birthday. He was an extremely polite bloke. I never knew about the drugs then. I thought he was acting a bit weird and saying kind of remote things, but I was too naive to even consider that it might be drugs, I never cottoned on with Jimi and the drugs. I saw him drunk a few times because I remember thinking he was always really quiet until he had a few drinks".
During the taping of Top of the Pops, Gibb met the former Miss Edinburgh, Linda Gray as Gray explained: "Barry and I we are so in love". And on 1 September 1970 (his 24th birthday), Gibb married Gray and they have five children, Stephen (born 1973), Ashley (born 1977), Travis (born 1981), Michael (born 1984) and Alexandra (born 1991).
After all stresses of their personal and professional lives, both Barry and Robin collapsed from nervous exhaustion on a flight from Australia to Turkey in 1967. On 23 December 1967, Barry and Robin left England for Australia as Gibb explained: "But due to time difference we arrived on Christmas Day, We missed Christmas eve altogether!". The pair celebrated Christmas with their manager Robert Stigwood's family as Gibb said: "We went on to Sydney".
In January 2006, Gibb purchased the former home of country singers Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in Hendersonville, Tennessee, intending to restore it and turn it into a songwriting retreat. The house was destroyed by fire on 10 April 2007 while under renovation. On 10 July 2009, Gibb was made a Freeman of the Borough of Douglas (Isle of Man). The award was also bestowed upon his brother Robin, and posthumously upon his brother Maurice. Also in 2009, Barry and Linda Gibb became US citizens. They have dual citizenship.
Influences and legacy
Gibb's influences when he was in the Rattlesnakes were The Everly Brothers, Paul Anka and Cliff Richard. the Bee Gees acknowledged that they would sing in the style of the Everlys and then add a third harmony and the result was "New York Mining Disaster 1941" (1967), When Gibb heard Roy Orbison's song "Crying" he said: "That was it. To me that was the voice of God."
Gibb had a highly successful career as a member of the Bee Gees, a group near the top of the all-time top-sellers list. When the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, their citation read "Only Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees". The trio's contribution to Saturday Night Fever pushed the film's soundtrack past the 40 million mark in sales. It reigned as the top-selling album until Michael Jackson's Thriller. They are the only group in pop history to write, produce and record six straight No.1 hits. They have 16 Grammy nominations and nine Grammy wins.
Barry Gibb is also a prolific and successful songwriter. In 1977, Gibb saw five of his songs simultaneously enter the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100, and for one week in March, four of the top five songs were written by him. His songs were No. 1 for 27 out of 37 weeks from 24 December 1977 to 2 September 1978. Gibb also holds a very unusual record, in that he is the only songwriter in history to write four successive US number one hits: in 1978, the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" was replaced at number one by Andy Gibb's single, "Love Is Thicker Than Water", followed by the Bee Gees' "Night Fever" for their longest run, seven weeks. This was then replaced by Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You".
As a songwriter Gibb has had No. 1 songs in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s 1990s and 2000s, when "Islands in the Stream" became No. 1 in the UK as the comic relief single for 2009. His songs have been recorded by numerous artists, including Jose Feliciano, Al Green, Wyclef Jean, Janis Joplin, Jimmy Little, Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton-John, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Nina Simone, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, Conway Twitty, Frankie Valli, Luther Vandross, Sarah Vaughn, Jennifer Warnes, Dionne Warwick and Andy Williams. Gibb has also produced albums for Andy Gibb, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand and Dionne Warwick.
- 2006: The Eaten Alive Demos (iTunes)
- 2006: The Guilty Demos (iTunes)
- 2006: The Eyes That See in the Dark Demos (iTunes)
- 2006: The Heartbreaker Demos (iTunes)
- 1988: Hawks (soundtrack album)
- 1969: "I'll Kiss Your Memory"
- 1970: "One Bad Thing"
- 1978: "A Day in the Life"
- 1981: "Guilty" (duet with Barbra Streisand)
- 1981: "What Kind of Fool" (duet with Barbra Streisand)
- 1984: "Face to Face" (duet with Olivia Newton-John)
- 1984: "Shine, Shine"
- 1984: "Fine Line"
- 1988: "Childhood Days"
- 2006: "Dr. Mann"
- 2006: "Underworld"
- 2007: "Drown on the River"
- 2011: "All In Your Name" (featuring Michael Jackson)
- 2011: "Daddy's Little Girl" (Gibb composed this song in honour of his daughter Ali Gibb)
- 2011: "Grey Ghost" (dedicated to the people of Japan)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barry Gibb.|
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