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Bee Gees guitar strikes a chord with £24,000 buyer
Simon Warner, lecturer in the BA in popular music at Leeds University and pop critic
The death of Maurice Gibb leaves a gaping hole in a British group who never attained a fashionable credibility but rose above the fickle tastes of fans and the media to carve a career over 40 years. There are certainly arguments for suggesting only the Rolling Stones challenge the longevity of the Bee Gees in terms of successful acts with UK links. In terms of sales, the brothers Gibb exceed the achievements of Jagger and co. In fact, although the Bee Gees long left these shores to make a permanent home in Florida, it is not going too far to suggest that they are one of the few home-grown examples who have achieved American superstardom.
“If figures such as Sinatra, Streisand and Minnelli have become the gods of this Olympus, the Bee Gees have a reputation as performers and songwriters that undoubtedly places them in the upper firmament of US showbusiness”.
“While the senior Barry became the handsome face of the Bee Gees from the mid-1960s, the younger twins Robin and Maurice provided perfect vocal foils. Maurice’s upper register harmonies became a distinctive feature of the band’s sound”.
“More than that, the brothers all wrote and over the next few decades an impressive body of self-composed work was produced, much of it featuring in the UK and US top tens.”
“When the outstanding You Win Again hit the top of the British charts in 1987 it was a reminder that the band, now domiciled on the other side of the Atlantic, had not gone away, and the 1990s saw them pay several visits to the top five. It is not without irony that as Maurice reaches the end of his personal odyssey, the Gibb brothers still have a top five hit – Sacred Trust by One True Voice, the manufactured boy band who emerged from ITV’s PopStars – The Rivals.”
“Can the Bee Gees continue? The answer is both yes and no. The vocal sound that was instantly recognisable dies with Maurice as the singing style owed everything to the three-voice alchemy. But it seems improbable that Barry and Robin will not maintain their singing and recording careers in due course. The family has survived terrible tragedy before – the death of younger brother Andy in 1988 was a shattering blow but one of the group rose above. Perhaps, given time, they will rise again but not, sadly, on the wings of Maurice’s high-flying notes.”
Howard Cohen, Miami Herald
The music industry, and South Florida in particular, lost a hell of a lot when Bee Gee Maurice Gibb died Sunday after emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. Gibb will be memorialized for his many contributions to popular music. That’s what he did for a living for more than 40 years as songwriter, bassist, keyboardist and vocalist with the Bee Gees. Songs such as Stayin’ Alive, Tragedy, Words, You Win Again and Lonely Days, all of which Gibb had a hand in writing and performing, are the soundtracks to the lives of countless people.
The Bee Gees’ accomplishments during Gibb’s tenure are almost without peer: an unprecedented six consecutive No. 1 singles from 1977’s How Deep Is Your Love through 1979’s Love You Inside Out. More than 110 million records sold worldwide. With more than 500 cover versions in existence, artists ranging from Elvis Presley to Janis Joplin and Celine Dion to Destiny’s Child have recorded one or more of their songs.
But, outside the spotlight and industry accolades, Gibb was also one of the most upbeat, accessible stars South Florida has known — and that might be his greatest legacy. He was a gracious human being in the highest echelons of the music business. These traits are often mutually exclusive.
When Gibb read a story in The Herald over the recent holidays about a quadriplegic Hialeah man whose wish was for a computer to help in his recovery process, Gibb called the paper with an offer to buy the man a computer.
“It’s Christmas, mate,” Gibb said
Elton John, singer
Elton John is in shock over the death of fellow British hitmaker Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees. “He was a really sweet and talented performer, a nice guy. What a sad way for his family to start the New Year.” John commented backstage Monday (January 13) at the American Music Awards: “It’s a tragedy and a huge shock, and someone who I’ve known for a long time, the Bee Gees, and someone who’s been 12 years sober, like me. For someone to go that quickly, I was really, really upset and sad.”
Brian Wilson, friend and singer of The Beach Boys.
Maurice Gibb was one of my favorite Bee Gee’s because his voice was so impressive. It made me happy and feel really good to hear him sing. His voice had a joy that touch one’s soul. On a personal level, I loved his sense of humor, and his spirit. He was a real friend to me.
“I remember when I inducted the Bee Gees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I sang [their song] Too Much Heaven. I was blown away by the experience only to find out later that Maurice was feeling the same sentiments. I will truly miss him. At a time like this, all my love and prayers go to his family and, of course, his brothers.”
Shania Twain, singer
“We all grew up listening to their music, so it’s a pretty sad time.”