Bee Gees go back to their roots

Bee Gees Robin and Barry Gibb were returning to their roots on Wednesday to open a school recording studio named in memory of their brother Maurice.

The brothers were joined by family and friends at Oakwood High School in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, the Manchester suburb they grew up in.

They also received doctorates in music from the University of Manchester and a posthumous honour for Maurice.

Maurice Gibb died, aged 53, after suffering a heart attack in 2003.

Accepting the honorary degrees from university chancellor Anna Ford, Barry said the ceremony was “overwhelming and wonderful”.

The Doctors Gibb

“Maurice would be very proud. He was applauding as well. He’s looking down on us and I bet he wishes he was here.”

“This is certainly not because of our education. This is based on our recording and our music and what this means to people.”

“It’s tremendous. People who do what we do certainly don’t expect something like this.”

“It means a lot to us. There are lots of people here today who are very deserving.”

Barry, 56, and Robin, 54, posed for photographs and signed autographs in the cap and gowns on Wednesday before moving on to Oakwood High.

The school was named as a centre of excellence for the performing arts last year.

The Gibb brothers met pupils who performed a selection of Bee Gees songs.

Disco spearheads

The musical trio were born on the Isle of Man, but moved with their family to Manchester in the 1950s, living in Keppel Road, Chorlton, until the family emigrated to Australia in 1958.

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

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

Their career looked set to dwindle until they became the unlikeliest spearheads of Disco music in the 70s providing the funky soundtrack to the movie Saturday Night Fever.

Solo career

The brothers never looked back after that and became part of pop’s aristocracy.

Maurice Gibb died after suffering a heart attack during intestinal surgery at a hospital in Miami.

Robin, his twin brother, was at his bedside.

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