For The Brothers Gibb, singing in harmony is as natural as breathing. They began performing when Barry was nine and twins Robin and Maurice were six, singing hits of the day at a local Manchester cinema. Since their first American number one in 1971, The Bee Gees have written and performed a non-stop stream of hit singles for themselves and other pop music icons in a career spanning five decades: the ‘60s (“1941”, “New York Mining Disaster”, “Massachusetts”, “To Love Somebody”, “Gotta Get a Message to You”, “I Started a Joke”, “Lonely Days”, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”); the ‘70s (“Jive Talkin’”, “Nights on Broadway”, “Fanny”, “You Should Be Dancing”, “Stayin’ Alive, “Love So Right”, “Night Fever”, “How Deep is Your Love”, “Too Much Heaven”, “Tragedy”, “Love You Inside Out”, “If I Can’t Have You”, “Emotion”, “Grease”); the ‘80s (“Guilty”, “Woman in Love”, “What Kind of Fool”, “Chain Reaction”, “Heartbreaker”, “Islands in the Stream”, “Ordinary Lives”, “One”, “You Win Again”); the ‘90s (“Alone”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “Ghetto Supastar”, “Immortality”, “Words”) and into the new millennium with this year's highly acclaimed album, This is Where I Came In.
Now, for the first time, the world will be able to celebrate this musical legacy in one definitive two CD, 40-track collection, when Universal Records releases Bee Gees: Their Greatest Hits: The Record on Tuesday, November 20th. It also contains four newly recorded Bee Gees’ hits originally written for other artists, “Emotion” (Samantha Sang), “Heartbreaker” (Dionne Warwick), “Islands in the Stream” (Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton and then later as “Ghetto Supastar” by Pras, ODB and Mya) and “Immortality” (Celine Dion).
It all began back in 1958 when the Gibb family emigrated to Australia. The brothers achieved stardom as a teen pop group, earning their first number one in 1966 with Spicks and Specks. They used the money from that hit to finance their return to England where they hooked up with legendary impresario Robert Stigwood.
The first four Bee Gees’ albums contained a stream of hit singles – “1941 New York Mining Disaster”, “Massachusetts”, “To Love Somebody”, “Holiday”, “Gotta Get a Message to You”, “I Started a Joke”, “Lonely Days”, and their first U.S. number one, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”. At the same time, Bee Gees’ songs were being recorded by some of their idols (including Elvis Presley, Sarah Vaughan, Al Green and Janis Joplin).
Always inspired by R & B music, the Bee Gees began making soul-drenched records in the 1970s – Mr. Natural, Main Course and Children of the World (featuring “Jive Talkin’”, “Nights on Broadway”, “Fanny”, “You Should Be Dancing” and “Love So Right”). Saturday Night Fever (1977) prompted a cultural revolution, became the biggest selling soundtrack in history with number one hits “Staying Alive”, “Night Fever” and “How Deep is Your Love” and made the Bee Gees the biggest group in the world. It was followed in 1978 by Spirits Having Flown which sold 20 million copies and produced three more million selling singles (“Too Much Heaven”, “Tragedy” and “Love You Inside Out”).
In the 1980s, the brothers took a break to work with some of their favorite singers, writing and producing Guilty, Barbra Streisand’s Grammy Award winner, with three Top Ten singles including the number one “Woman in Love”, as well as Diana Ross’s number one single, “Chain Reaction”, Dionne Warwick’s “Heartbreaker” and Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ “Islands in the Stream”, the most successful single in RCA Records’ history. By the end of the 1980s the Bee Gees had resumed their own place on center stage. After the success of their singles “Ordinary Lives”, “One” and “You Win Again”, they launched a tour on three continents, with the Royal Symphony Orchestra, for three generations of Bee Gees fans.
The 1990s have been marked by continued international success with hit albums High Civilization, Size Isn’t Everything and 1997's Still Waters (with the worldwide top ten “Alone”).
The Bee Gees had another fantastically successful year in 1998. It began in London with Robert Stigwood’s stage production of Saturday Night Fever, which was a huge hit with West End audiences. This was followed in June by the London press conference where the Bee Gees announced their return to live performance in their One Night Only world tour.
All of these shows were sold-out, making The Bee Gees one of a very few bands capable of selling out stadium shows around the World. These special shows featured performances of all the number one hits from The Bee Gees’ entire career.
The live album, One Night Only, was released in September 1998 and by March 1999 had gone over triple platinum, and had sold a million copies in the U.S. alone. This success story was repeated in countries around the world.
The Bee Gees released a brand new studio album in 2001, This is Where I Came In. It was written, performed and produced by the Bee Gees over the past three years primarily in Middle Ear Studios in Florida, which has long been their adopted home. The title track tells a story in itself, because this album really is where The Bee Gees came in, in the sense that it again explored the roots of their music - rock, soul and classic balladry - without losing the contemporary edge that wins fans in every succeeding generation.
On top of their own achievements other artists enjoyed huge successes with Bee Gees' songs: “Immortality” by Celine Dion; Pras Michel and ODB had one of the biggest hits of 1998 with “Ghetto Supastar”; Wyclef Jean’s “Trying to Stay Alive”; and Pras Michel had a international hit with “Blue Angels”, which featured parts of “Grease”. The first UK singles’ chart of 1999 saw Steps at number one with “Tragedy”, with another top five hit in January 1999 from Blockster’s remix of “You Should Be Dancing”. Earlier this year Steps released “Chain Reaction”, which entered the UK charts at Number Two, while “Emotion”, recently released by Destiny’s Child, was destined for a top spot on the Billboard singles’ chart.
The Bee Gees have had number one records in the UK in each of the last four decades and are among the top five most successful recording artists of all time. They are the only recording artists to write and produce six straight number one singles, and the first composers to have five songs in the top ten at the same time. Among a lifetime of honors, they have earned 16 Grammy nominations and won seven Grammy Awards. They are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in both the US and Australia, Songwriters Hall of Fame, honored by the Brit Awards for their Outstanding Contribution to Music, earned Lifetime Achievement honors from the World Music Awards, American Music Awards and the Australian Recording Industry.
Additional Bee Gees accolades and accomplishments include:
- Induction into The Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls Of Fame
- Only songwriters to have five simultaneous Top 10 singles
- Wrote and produced six straight number ones
- Seven platinum and five multi-platinum singles
- Over 60 charted hit singles with their first number one in 1966
Saturday Night Fever is the best selling movie soundtrack ever with three number one hits
- Ten Lifetime Achievement Awards including a Brit Award, American Music Award and World Music Award
- Only artist in history to achieve number one in UK charts in four decades
- Barry Gibb has produced fourteen number one records making him the third most successful producer of all time.