He finally got top billing

Sam Preece

IT was a day of bitter-sweet memories for Bee Gees brothers Robin and Barry when they returned to Chorlton this week.

The pair flew over from their home in Miami to open a new recording studio at Oakwood High school – named in honour of brother Maurice who died suddenly during an operation last year.

And as Barry, 56, pressed a button to open the suite he made a touching tribute to Maurice.

“Here ones for you pal”, he said, and turning to the guests at the ceremony, added: “He finally got top billing.”

Later, following a performance by the youngsters of Bee Gees classics, Robin, 54, told the audience: “Todays a fantastic day and calling it after Maurice would have made him very proud.”

After receiving honorary degrees from Manchester University the brothers made their way to the new multi-million pound Oakwood High on Nell Lane. The school has recently built a state-of-the-art recording studio. Teachers emailed the Bee Gees earlier this year to ask if they could name the facility in Maurice’s honour.

Following a tour of the studio the pair were treated to a special performance from the youngsters including a rendition of Staying Alive, a samba version of Jive Talking, a ballet to Words and a vocal arrangement of Too Much Heaven.

Barry said: “What I noticed is the talent. Within the next ten years I think a star will emerge for the pop industry.”

“We’re overwhelmed – it’s such a nice a compliment for our music.”

Robin added: “We’re so proud to be here and we hope there’ll be many years of success and successful young artists. I think these children have great careers ahead.”

The trip brought back memories of their time growing up on Keppel Road where the three began practising the harmonies which would eventually turn them into world superstars.

Since the announcement that the Bee Gees would be in the area the school has been inundated with calls from fans eager to catch a glimpse of their idols.

A group of fans from Belgium are even travelling to Chorlton to visit the school. Their high-pitched disco hits may be among the most recognisable in the world. They went on to sell 110 million albums, had 19 No 1 hits and made the definitive disco record saturday Night Fever.