Poem's stories and comments

January 2014

Peter Foldy: about my friend Maurice Gibb


Maurice was a great friend and I miss not having him in this world

I met Maurice when I was about 16. He and Robin were 15. We were introduced by my best friend at the time, Trevor Gordon, who was a kid singer and aspiring pop star in Sydney. Trevor was a frequent guest on Australian television and became great pals with the Gibbs, soon bringing me into the mix.

Maurice was a sweet, hilarious, adventurous kid and the Bee Gees were more precocious than any teenagers I had ever met. They were naughty young lads and so much fun to be around. They had done lots of stuff I hadn’t. I was of course still in high school, doing homework and having to go to bed by ten, which was about the time they were starting their second set at the various night clubs they would be playing at. At that time the Bee Gees weren’t yet a rock band, just talented kids wearing these checkered vests with the letter B.G. sewn on, performing old standards like “Bye Bye Blackbird” to an adult audience.

left: Peter Foldy, Rob. Mo. and Trevor Gordon (© Peter Foldy) Trevor Gordon and The Bee Gees (© Peter Foldy)

I spent a decent amount of time with Trevor and the twins on weekends, roaming around Sydney, making 8mm films, and sometimes going to the Bee Gees house and hearing them jam on Beatle songs. It was a mind blowing experience listening to the amazing vocal blend that these brothers had. I had only heard harmonies like that from the Everly Bros. or Lennon and McCartney. We all knew the Bee Gees were destined for stardom. I of course didn’t dare mention my own musical aspirations, but being around them was a huge inspiration.

One day my parents announced that our family was moving to Canada at the end of 1965. Maurice, Robin, Trevor and I spent my last night in Sydney staying up till about 5am, partying. I almost missed the plane. It was a sad farewell and I knew it was the end of an era that would never come again.

In those days of letter writing, I had little contact with Trevor or Maurice. I did get a letter from Maurice in 1967 telling me that they were now in London, that they were going to meet with Brian Epstein, and that I should think about coming over. I still have that letter somewhere at my mother’s place in her basement. Might be worth looking for.

It wasn’t long after that I was in a friend’s car on our way to Niagara Falls when “New York Mining Disaster” came on the radio. I remember the moment well. I was stunned and amazed that my old friends were on the radio and that their dreams of stardom were coming true.

The next time I saw Maurice was in London in the summer of 1969. He picked me up in a green Rolls Royce convertible with his wife, Lulu in the front seat. We all went to the Revolution Club that night and I remember thinking how much had changed since 1965.

The Bee Gees had helped Trevor Gordon get a record deal and he and his cousin, Graham Bonnet went on to have success in a duo called “The Marbles,” best known for their hit, “Only One Woman.” Maurice, Trevor and I hung out a bit that summer of 1969, but Maurice was now quite different from that 15 year old kid I was mates with back in Sydney. Still sweet and funny, but it wasn’t the same–and how could it be?

Trevor Gordon and Peter Foldy, London 1971 (© Peter Foldy)

I returned to London again in 1971 and Maurice invited me to stay with him in High Gate, at the new impressive home he shared with Lulu. Ringo lived across the street. Some of these photos were taken during that 1971 stay. Lulu was away on tour and Maurice and I got to spend a lot of quality time. I would go with him to the Stigwood office, or to the studio. He was co-producing the duo, Tin Tin with his brother-in-law, Billy Lawrie who was Lulu’s kid brother. “Toast and Marmalade for Tea” was their single. Maurice also threw a couple of dinner parties with some really interesting guests showing up. Truthfully, he seemed a little bit down in those weeks that I was around in ’71. He was missing Lulu but more importantly Robin had recently left the Bee Gees. It was just Mo and Barry at that point.

Billy Laurie (© Peter Foldy)

One night we went over to Barry’s house and the three of us, Maurice, Barry and I drank wine and jammed till dawn on guitars. That was pretty cool. Their sense of humor, especially when they were together was brilliant.

When I came back to London that summer after some traveling around Europe, Robin was back in the group. Maurice played me a test pressing of a new record they had just finished mixing. It was the amazing “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” I was totally blown away hearing it in Maurice’s dining room and it is still one of my favorite Bee Gee songs ever.

I stayed in touch with Maurice over the years. Saw him when the Bee Gees played Toronto. Had some dinners together in L.A. At one point he was going to produce my album, but that somehow didn’t work out.

Maurice was a great friend and I miss not having him in this world, but really it’s that funny little 15 year old that I especially miss and remember fondly, the young kid who became my friend, and without realizing it helped put me on the road to a career in film and music.

Peter Foldy.
(GSI, January 2014)

Do not reproduce the photo material without written permission of Peter Foldy.
See photo report by Peter Foldy of Maurice Gibb.