Monday 27 May 2019

Bee Gees co-founder Barry Gibb hails ‘treasured moment’ of knighthood

The legendary singer-songwriter also paid tribute to his brothers.

Barry Gibb attending the O2 Silver Clef Awards 2017
Barry Gibb attending the O2 Silver Clef Awards 2017

By Kerri-Ann Roper

The Bee Gees co-founder, singer and songwriter Barry Gibb has said “the magic, glow and the rush” of being given a knighthood in the New Year Honours will “last him for the rest of his life”.

Gibb, 71, also paid a touching tribute to his brothers as he was awarded the accolade for his services to music and charity.

In a statement to the Press Association, he said: “I am deeply honoured, humbled, and very proud. This is a moment in life to be treasured and never forgotten.

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“I want to acknowledge how responsible my brothers are for this honour. It is as much theirs as it is mine. The magic, the glow, and the rush will last me the rest of my life.”

Fifty years on from the release of the Bee Gees’ debut album, Gibb continues to perform today.

The oldest son of a bandleader, there was little doubt that he would embark on a musical career after he began performing with his younger twin brothers, Maurice and Robin, as children.

The three became stars under the Bee Gees name and scored hits, Grammy awards and worldwide success with the soundtrack to John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever in 1977.

But he was also a prolific writer.

Solo – and along with his siblings – Gibb wrote some of the biggest tracks to ever hit the charts, including Islands In The Stream, Destiny Child’s Emotion, Diana Ross’ Chain Reaction and even the title track from Grease.

Born on September 1 1946 on the Isle Of Man, Gibb and the twins formed the Bee Gees after they had moved to Australia in 1958.

Robin and Barry Gibb Investiture

Returning to England in the late 60s, the trio’s pop rock sound hit off with first hit song New York Mining Disaster 1941, with Barry often on lead vocals and guitar.

Their debut album arrived in 1967 and fame followed – but not for long. With their reputation waning in the years after that first release, they adapted to the kings of the disco movement and Gibb began to flaunt his high-pitched falsetto vocals.

Their catchy tunes and moving ballads saw them land a trio of number ones in the form of Stayin’ Alive, Night Fever and How Deep Is Your Love – all part of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

During this time Gibb was one of the era’s biggest icons, and he was teaming up on songs with Barbra Streisand and Dionne Warwick.

By the 80s they had fallen out of favour but continued to retain an international fan base and Gibb was entered into the songwriter’s Hall of Fame in the early 90s.

In 2002 the trio received a Commander of the British Empire honour in the New Year Honours List.

Sadly one year later Maurice died and the surviving brothers opted to retire the Bee Gees name as a mark of respect.

Robin passed away in 2012 leaving Barry to venture on alone. He returned to touring in 2013 and delighted Glastonbury-goers earlier this year as he worked through a catalogue of Bee Gees hits during his Sunday afternoon Legends slot performance.

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