Surviving Bee Gees collect CBEs

Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK

The two surviving Bee Gees, Barry and Robin Gibb, have made a “bittersweet” visit to Buckingham Palace – and paid tribute to their late brother Maurice.

The musical trio were made CBEs three years ago, but Maurice died last year before the brothers had a chance to pick up their gongs.

“We are not the Bee Gees now,” Barry, 58, said at the palace on Thursday.

Robin, 54, Maurice’s twin, and Barry collected their honours from Prince Charles, alongside Maurice’s son Adam.

Looking close to tears, Adam, 28, said his mother, Maurice’s widow, Yvonne, was at the ceremony but had been too emotional to collect the award.

Prince Charles told him he hoped the honour would be “a little something” to remember his father by.

Robin, who was at Maurice’s bedside when he died, said the prince had also discussed the band’s songs with them during the ceremony.

Barry said the brothers had “mixed feelings” about receiving the honours.

“It is bittersweet,” he added. “We are not the Bee Gees now”. It would have been wonderful for all three of us to be here.

“Knowing Mo, this would have been right up his alley.”

The Bee Gees were born on the Isle of Man, but moved with their family to Manchester in the 1950s, where they lived until the family emigrated to Australia in 1958.

The band went on to become the fifth biggest-selling pop act of all time, producing 28 albums and selling 110 million records in a career that spanned four decades.

Disco spearheads

After starring in their own TV show in Australia, they moved back to the UK with manager Robert Stigwood in the 60s, notching up a string of hits including New York Mining Disaster 1941 and Massachusetts.

Their career looked set to dwindle until they became unlikely spearheads of disco music in the 70s, providing the soundtrack to the movie Saturday Night Fever, one of the best-selling albums ever.

The brothers never looked back and became part of pop’s aristocracy, writing hits including Heartbreaker for Dionne Warwick and Chain Reaction for Diana Ross.

Robin appeared as a judge on the BBC talent show Fame Academy, and went on to record with the series’ runner-up Alistair Griffin