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left: . Family reunion: The Bee Gees with Andy, Lesley and some of her kids, Linda and Stevie, Hugh and Barbara.
right: The Brothers on Douglas beach, Isle Of Man
Also in 1975 The Bee Gees recorded six Beatles songs for a film called: All This And World War II. The album was re-issued in 1977 with the title: 'The Songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney Performed by the World's Greatest Rock Artists'.
Meanwhile in Australia Andy had met Kim Reeder who lived close to Andy in Rydalmere. The Reeders bred Staffordshire Bull Terriers like Andy's sister Lesley and husband Keith Evans. Lesley introduced the two during a dog show.
left: Me during one of my visits to The Gibb family on the Isle Of Man, Rose Villa
right: Barry with Stevie and uncle Mo in the music room of Rose Villa
I spent about 2 weeks on Man with my friends and visited The Gibbs almost daily. We were invited to their house many times, went out with Maurice several evenings for a chat and a drink. Most special was that The Brothers invited us to listen to their new tapes which they had just recorded in Miami. They wanted to know our opinion about Main Course before it was released!! We had a great time on Man and many times they picked us up at the hotel to spend the afternoon or evening together, Marion / GSI).
The Bee Gees rehearsing at the Douglas Bay Hotel
Jive Talkin, their first single of Main Course reached nr. 1 in the US on June 18. (5 in U.K.). A party was organized by Stigwood at Rockefeller Plaza and when Main Course was released no one believed this were The Bee Gees after hearing their new sound! Time for a next American Tour. The group had rehearsed on Man for their upcoming tour in Douglas Bay Hotel and May 30th. the tour started in Dayton, Ohio. It was not an immediate success as no one was aware yet of the change the group had made musically. After a couple of shows the situation changed and even more appearances were added as well as TV shows. The Bee Gees still had all their old fans but suddenly there were coming lots of new fans too. In June the album Main Course was released. Maurice and Lulu's divorce became final August 21st, however Lulu would always stay friend of the family. In September there was the release of the second single: Nights On Broadway, the group started their Canada tour. Maurice announced his engagement to Yvonne Spenceley and Linda had a miscarriage. The Canadian tour ended in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the group returned to Europe. Barry and Linda then moved to their new house, also in Douglas; 'Sherdley' on Princess Rd. and Maurice and Yvonne decided to get married. The ceremony took place October 17th. at Haywards Heath. Barry was best man and walked on crutches and with his leg in plaster after a fall from the steps in front of his house.
Wedding of Maurice and Yvonne, Oct. 17. 1975 ///// Barry on crutches during wedding of brother Maurice ///// A look into the personal photo book of Maurice and Yvonne
(I again saw the boys several times during this tour in their hotels and we mostly talked about their tour of course and the fan club I was involved in at that time already, Marion / GSI).
I n the beginning of the year The Bee Gees left again for the US to record their following album. The third single from Main Course would become: Fanny, Be Tender. The group now couldn't work any longer with Arif Mardin as he was with Atlantic Records and they were signed to Polydor. A sudden end of a great partnership this was, but a challenge for the future. The group first recorded in L.A. with producer Richard Perry but soon decided to return to Miami. There they again worked with Karl Richardson and also Albhy Galuten. A great team and lots of more hits followed. Their new project they would call: Children Of The World. For the first time since 1966, no strings were used, but a horn section was added (The Boneroo Horns) and a few guest players like Stephen Stills. Blue Weaver contributed a lot too. The first song which was created during the new sessions in Criteria was You Should Be Dancing and people like Joe Lala and George Perry became involved too. There was a break in February when Robin went home for a while and Maurice too for the birth of his son. Barry stayed behind in Miami to mix the new single. Maurice and Yvonne's son Adam was born February 23rd. and shortly afterward Maurice and his family moved from Dane Hill, England to a small house at Stanley Terrace, Douglas I.O.M. The second half of March recordings continued again in Miami. The first single of the new album became You Should Be Dancing and the mixing of the album was done in Le Studio, Montreal, Canada.
Andy during one of his performances, dec. 1975
T heir parents Barbara and Hugh had again moved to Australia and plans were made for The Bee Gees to play in a film with Beatles songs. In June Andy had received a phone call from Barry who asked him to come to America to continue his career over there. Barry and Stigwood agreed Andy was ready for a next level in his career. So Andy decided he wanted to marry Kim before leaving for America. They married July 11th. 1976 at Wayside Chapel in Potts Point just outside Sydney. Honeymoon brought them to Stigwoods' house on Bermuda where Barry would visit him to start making future plans etc. Andy signed with RSO in July and started working in the Miami studio and recorded material for an album.
(The second half of July I again spent a holiday on Man with my friends and we had many nice visits with the Gibb Family again at Barry's and Maurice's house, Marion / GSI). Maurice and Yvonne left for a belated honeymoon to Acapulco, July 18th and Maurice as well as Barry were again busy finding other houses.
Me at Barry and Linda's house "Sherdley", Isle Of Man 1976.
I n September Children Of The World was released as well as the second single of the album: Love So Right. Also this year the album All This And World War Two was released and by the end of the year the group started another tour across the USA. The Bee Gees did a huge charity concert in New York: Madison Square Garden on December 2nd. for the Police Athletic League. A charity to provide facilities for underprivileged children via police sponsored youth clubs. They received keys of the city of New York as well as New Orleans and San Francisco. The group became extremely popular again and RSO even let The Bee Gees open their own shop at New York's 57th. Street, their 'International Headquarters' where one could buy their albums and lots of Bee Gees merchandising!! The last concert of their American Tour at the L.A. Forum , December 20th. was recorded for their planned live album.
left: President of RSO Al Coury together with Bee Gees and Band, 1977 right: Robin
The first song which was born in the French castle was If I Can't Have You. In France they also mixed their live album and next to that Robert Stigwood phoned them telling he was planning on making a film and he needed music for this project. The boys had no time to also write special compositions for this new film but offered some of their just composed new material without even knowing anything about the film. They sent Stigwood: Stayin' Alive, Night Fever, How Deep Is Your Love and the one Yvonne Elliman would sing: If I Can't Have You. Their live album: Here At Last, Bee Gees Live was finally released May 1977 and the single: Edge Of The Universe followed in July. How Deep Is Your Love would become the first single of the film music, released even before the film was ready and the second: Stayin Alive came close to the release of the film: Saturday Night Fever. The soundtrack of the film was released in October ( US) and 2 months later in the UK. No one realized it would be such a success, but S.N.F. with the Bee Gees music became huge and the group was more famous then ever before.
Stevie with Linda's mum and Barry's parents in the pool, Miami Beach 1977
A fter their work in France Barry and Linda decided to move to Miami Beach and most of the family followed, so did Dick Ashby. Andy already lived there with Kim and later on decided to move to California. Andy's first album (Flowing Rivers) was released in September too. Robin and his family stayed behind in Britain. September 8th. Barry and Linda's second boy was born: Ashley Robert Crompton Gibb in Miami' Sinai Hospital. Ashley was born with a heart disorder and spent the first month of his life in hospital.
Sgt. Pepper Schooting Schedule, 1977
A lso this year Barry did more and more producing work for other artists like Network, Samantha Sang etc. and by the end of the summer the boys recorded a Special in Miami for TV. A short week after the birth of Ashley Barry flew to L.A. where Robin and Maurice already were for some final mixing work and the recordings at Cherokee Studio for The Sgt. Pepper film. Their success was unbelievable and awards and gold and platinum records came their way. The film shooting of Sgt. Pepper started October 10th with all the activity around S.N.F. the timing for shooting this film at this time was not the best. December 24th. The Gibbs left L.A. to spend the Holidays at home with the families.
R ight after the New Year The Bee Gees continued filming Sgt. Pepper in L.A. On January 25th. Andy's wife gave birth to a baby girl named Peta Jaye and in April the divorce of Andy and his wife Kim became final. Andy was very busy doing a tour through Europe.
Linda and Barry at house with new born baby Ashley, Jan. 1978
(I met Andy of course when he visited the Netherlands. I went with him to the TV studios and was present during his radio interviews etc. The next day Andy collapsed in Amsterdam and had to fly home to Miami right away, Marion / GSI).
Later on he'd continue doing TV shows, interviews and touring and received gold and platinum records like his brothers. His Shadow Dancing tour ended September 1st.
I t was unbelievable for the Bee Gees as well as Stigwood to hear that Saturday Night Fever (the best selling album sound track of all time) wasn't even nominated for an Academy Award. In February they did get a Grammy Award for: How Deep Is Your Love. Their next single to be released became Night Fever and Samantha Sang released the Gibb song Emotion. Through the years there have been countless artists who covered Bee Gees songs and also many artists who released material The Gibbs had never used themselves. No one really knows how many Gibb compositions there have been written since the start of their musical career!!
left: Robert Stigwood on the Sgt. Pepper film set with The Bee Gees right: Maurice in a scene from the Sgt. Pepper film
Barry was asked by Stigwood to write a song for yet another project. The song should be called: Grease. It sounded difficult but it again worked and Barry wrote another smash hit - Grease- for the film with the same name. (Released in May).
left: Robin and Molly with their kinds in Sesame Street, 1978 right: from left to right: Ashley, Adam, Stevie at Stevie's 5th. birthday party
I n May 1978 a press conference was announced with The Bee Gees, Robert Stigwood and David Frost at the U.N. Building in New York to tell about their plans to do something for children in need and the proceeds of a next single they'd decided to donate to Unicef. July 18th. was the premiere of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at the L.A. Palladium, 3 days later the East Coast premiere took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York. One expected another great success as RSO already dominated the charts in the US Billboard Top 100 at that time with 6 Gibb hits in the period of 1977-1978, however Sgt. Pepper didn't become that big hit film everyone thought it would become. Only 2 songs charted (Earth, Wind and Fire and Robin with Oh, Darling) In August Molly Gibb travelled to Germany to receive more awards for The Bee Gees. She also flew to Robin in New York together with the kids: Spencer and Melissa to visit the studio of Sesame Street, the fave show of Robin's children. Robin had agreed in recording for The Sesame Street Fever album. His song Trash was released in October.The first single of Spirits was released in November: Too Much Heaven and the proceeds would all be going to Unicef. The B side: Rest Your Love On Me, also became a hit in the US Country Charts. The horn section from the US band Chicago played on Too Much Heaven as well and in return The Brothers appeared on a Chicago song: Little Miss Lovin' (The band Chicago were recording their new album in Criteria at the same time the Bee Gees recorded there).
left: Me during a visit at Barry's house in Miami Beach, 1978 right: Me and my friends were invited to a soccer game Barry had organised for family and friends on Yvonne's birthday. (front: May Gray and Yvonne Gibb, back: Barbara Gibb and sitting: Betty Spencely)
The boys enjoyed the rest of the year and the Holidays with their families. Maurice in Britain, Robin in New York and Barry with his family in Miami Beach. The Bee Gees received more awards this year amongst others a number of Billboard Music Awards. Fans received at the end of the year a special disc with Bee Gees Christmas Wishes.
left: The Music For Unicef concert right: Bee Gees receive their star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame
(I was lucky enough to be invited too with my friends, as I was touring to many of their concerts for one and a half month: see the special report of the Spirits Tour on the GSI Memory Lane page!, Marion / GSIl).
I n September the Bee Gees were invited to the White House and President Carter congratulated them for their Unicef work. The final concert of this amazing tour took place at the Miami Baseball Stadium. It had been hard work and the group needed some time off. It had been a stressful time, doing all these shows and Maurice still suffered from his drinking problem which had made his brothers sometimes wonder if he'd be able to perform. Anyway when NBC showed the Spirits Tour Special on TV in November it looked perfect. The Bee Gees had done a very successful concert tour and thousands of fans had seen them all over the U.S. and Canada. Now it was time to relax a bit at home with the families. In December Spirits, Having Flown, the single was released. Barry continued working with Andy for his new album. Also The Brothers had started to write material for a Barbra Streisand album. Between December 1977 and June 1979 the Bee Gees got 6 consecutive number ones in the USA: How deep is your love (77), Stayin alive (78), Night fever (78), Too much heaven (79), Tragedy (79) and Love you inside out (79).
The Bee Gees: time to relax
T. de Bont
To be continued.
Part eight: History