Hugh Gibb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Hugh Gibb
Birth nameHugh Leslie Gibb
Also known asHughie
Born(1916-01-15)15 January 1916
Manchester, Lancashire, England, UK
Died6 March 1992(1992-03-06) (aged 76)
GenresBig band
Occupation(s)Musician, delivery man, photographer
Associated actsThe Hughie Gibb Orchestra

Hugh Leslie Gibb[1] (15 January 1916 – 6 March 1992) was an English drummer and bandleader and the father of English musicians Barry, Robin, Maurice and Andy Gibb.[2] Barry, Robin and Maurice would go on to success as the Bee Gees, one of the most successful musical groups in the 1960s and 1970s, while Andy would have several hits as a solo performer.

Life and career[edit]

Early life and family background[edit]

Hugh Leslie Gibb was born in Chorlton district in Manchester to Hugh Gibb and Edith Yardley. He said: "I was the oddball in my family 'cause I liked music and the attitude was that it would never do you any good. The main theme then was go to work, have a steady job, and bring your wages home every weekend. A side track from that wasn't right in their eyes. To be a musician was like the old days, you know, when they were considered vagabonds, and that's all I ever wanted to do."[1]

Gibb's father was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1876. His mother was born in Manchester in 1892 to William and Hannah. She was 16 years younger than her husband and became step-mother to his seven children he had from his previous marriage, to Annie, who had died in 1889 at the age of 38. Gibb's grandfather, Thomas Yardley, was born in 1826 and is recorded as a railway worker.[3]

Barbara Pass[edit]

Barbara Pass was a dance band vocalist, and one of her nights off, she went with a friend to another dance hall and she said: "that's where it all started".[4] Hugh escorted Barbara home that night and thereafter romance blossomed. Despite the nightmare of the war, Hugh has fond memories of the time he met his future wife, as he said: "People enjoyed themselves more. Kids today, think they've done everything by the time they're 18 and have nothing to look forward to.[1] They were married on 27 May 1944 in Manchester. Their first child, Lesley Gibb, was born on 12 January 1945. Shortly afterwards, they moved to Scotland, where his band was starting to play in Edinburgh; as Barbara explained: "We lived just at the outskirts of Edinburgh". After a while, Hugh and Barbara with Lesley moved back to Manchester and lived with Barbara's mother Nora Pass in Stretford, and then Gibb got a job in the Isle of Man and they moved to Douglas. Gibb started to play at Douglas Bay Hotel and the Alexandra, both in Douglas.[4]

On 1 September 1946, Barry Gibb was born at 8:45 am at the Jane Crookall Maternity Home in Douglas. During the same time, Hugh was busy with his music at various hotels in Douglas when Barry was a baby: "I stayed there for [about] 10 years and Joe Loss' band used to be there, that was the big band era".[1] On 22 December 1949, Robin Gibb was born at 3:15 a.m. Later at 3:50 a.m., Maurice Gibb was born at Jane Crookall Maternity Home. In 1955, the Gibbs returned in Manchester area.[5] On 5 March 1958, Andy Gibb was born in Stretford Memorial Hospital in Manchester.


"What dad did, unknowingly, was to play a lot of music that was inspirational to writing, I would say the Mills Brothers, regarding my dad's input from them to us, was probably when you are on stage, smile. If you feel like crap and look like crap, people will feel like crap too. Dad would always be down the back holding a smiley face because that's what the Mills Brothers did. I really did think that Dad wanted us to be little white Mills Brothers".[1]

—Maurice Gibb

His band, the Hughie Gibb Orchestra, was firmly ensconced on the circuit of Mecca ballrooms, playing mainly in Northern England and Scotland. After Barry was born, Hugh was busy with his music at various hotels in Douglas when Barry was a baby: "I stayed there for [about] 10 years and Joe Loss' band used to be there, that was the big band era". Rosalia Black, who was the daughter of the hotel owner, Carlo Raineri recalls "the band must have been popular because the ballroom was always packed, even though the Joe Loss Orchestra was at the Villa Marina and Ronnie Aldrich with the Squadronaires was at the Palace Ballroom".[1]

Hugh was always on the lookout for work. Even as an extremely popular musician, he did not earn very much, and he often put together bands for one-off gigs, one such dance might have been the Invitation Dinner Dance held at London's Metropole Hotel on 24 February 1949, the reception was at 7:00 PM, the title of the show was 'Hughie Gibb and his Music', entertaining the people until 1:00 AM.[1]

Hugh didn't actually play on board the ferry, and his band was not paid by Douglas Corporation, who ran the ferry. Apart from trumpeter Charlie Whewell, others who played on Hugh's band, his band in 1946, the line-up consisted of Arthur Crawford (accordion), Jim Caine (piano), Tommy Cowley (bass), Albert Metcalfe (tenor saxophone) and John Knight (trombone).[1]

Aside from being a musician, Hugh's work at day was delivering bread as their neighbour Joan Hill said: "We were all very poor in those days and Mr. Gibb was a godsend, He used to bring home dozens of loaves that had to be sold before the end of the day, bread must have been much more wholesome in those days, didn't have all the preservatives it does today. Hugh would then be able to sell these off to neighbors at a fraction of the normal cost." Hugh musical background is credited as the Bee Gees' inspiration to follow a musical career, his influence on his sons was actually more indirect.[1]

Hugh credited his wife's sister, Peggy, with the idea of emigrating to Australia, as she eventually did with her family, though it was his family that migrated first. Later, he and Barbara applied for passage to Australia but did little to prepare for the move as Hugh said: "Because they say, don't dispose of your property until you know what you're doing. Sometimes you have to wait two years, we got it in six weeks." At the beginning of August 1958, the family set sail for Australia.[1]

When the family arrived in Queensland, Hugh found work as a "bush photographer". His photography assignments were not as frequent as he would have liked, so he took on extra work for Scarborough local council.[1]

Hugh remembers that the group's break came when television was started in Brisbane around 1960: "We auditioned for one of the variety shows, anything goes right way, they signed us".[clarification needed] When the family moved back to Britain[clarification needed], on 7 February 1967, at 7:40 in the morning, the phone rang. Robert Stigwood, Brian Epstein's partner, said "Look we've been doing a lot of reshuffling in the office here, and we've just come across the acetate you sent us, and we played it. Could you come along and see us this afternoon?"[6][clarification needed] By November 1971, Hugh and Barbara moved to Ibiza, Spain with Andy and adopted daughter, Beri.

Later years and death[edit]

After Andy Gibb's death in 1988, Hugh lost interest in his life. On 6 March 1992, one day after what would have been Andy Gibb's 34th birthday, Hugh died of internal bleeding at the age of 76. Hugh lies buried in the same cemetery as Andy in the Court of Remembrance section, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles.[7] Barry Gibb's reaction was "I believe all this was meant to happen, I miss my father of course, but he stopped living when Andy died and I'm sure he's happier now".[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hughes, Andrew. The Bee Gees – Tales of the Brothers Gibb. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  2. ^ "When are their families' birthdays and anniversaries? (Bee Gees)". Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Robin Gibb on Genealogist". Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b Adriaensen, Marion. "History Part 1: The Story about the Bee Gees / 1940–1950". Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  5. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1946–1962". Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  6. ^ "The Bee Gees". The Telegraph Herald. 22 July 1979. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  7. ^ a b The Bee Gees: The Biography