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A fter a busy touring year in 1989 the group this year only did some performances and they recorded their last album for Warner Bros. : High Civilisation. In March The Bee Gees were present at the VHI cable TV (USA) for a fund-raiser in aid of cystic fibrosis research in Colorado, doing an acoustic performance and Maurice started another of his projects when he began writing for a proposed film called Sonja. The idea came from a book Andy had read: Doctor And The Damned, about the life of Albert Haas, who spied on the Nazis in WW-II, and his wife Sonja. The project was shelved. Barry worked with young singer Kelly Wolfe on some material. In April was the 6th. Love And Hope Tennis Festival for which The Brothers came together in Aventura, Florida and performed together. In August a live version of 'How Can You Mend A Broken Heart' was released on a Warner Bros. charity album: Nobody's Child (for the Romanian orphans) and by the end of the year Polygram issued the Bee Gees box set, covering their entire career since 1967 including a few songs from the Warner Bros.: Tales Of The Brothers Gibb as well as the one disc summary: Very Best Of Bee Gees.
left: Me and my girlfriend with The Brothers, backstage in Frankfurt 1989
right: Me, with Maurice, backstage in Mannheim
I n February The Bee Gees finally were in the spotlights of the UK TV Show: This Is Your Life. Family and friends were gathered in the studio and many others sent kind messages and shared anecdotes on tape. March 2nd. niece Beri (brought up with Barbara and Hugh) got married with Harry Rhoades in a chapel in Las Vegas. The Bee Gees couldn't be present due to busy promoting work for the latest album: High Civilization and their first single of that album: Secret Love which was released in March as well. Another single follows in May: When He's Gone and the third one in August: The Only Love while in April Polydor released the Andy CD: Andy Gibb. May 25th. the group started their European High Civilization Tour in Germany and during the first evening they included their Andy tribute: Wish You Were Here. However the memories perhaps were still too fresh as the song was dropped from the set list.
Maurice in Berlin, 1991
(I was fortunate to also visit a number of their H.C. shows and had again a chance to visit the Brothers and their family back stage as well, Marion/GSI).
The tour very successfully ended in Britain where they performed in Birmingham on July 6th. and the following show at Wembley Arena in London was broadcast live on BBC Radio 1. An extra concert was given to satisfy all fans and the group returned to Birmingham once more. After the tour the Brothers and their families went on a well deserved break. Linda and Barry suddenly realized that they were expecting another baby. They always loved to get a baby girl and when the doctor confirmed to Linda: it's going to be a girl, she couldn't believe and both Linda and Barry were in tears of the good news. Their 4 boys decided already for the name although Linda's fave name was Leanna, the boys wanted to name her Alexandra. So Linda's name would become the middle name: Alexandra Leanna. The family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas but shortly afterwards their son Michael became ill and unfortunately Linda (being pregnant) became infected too. She'd to go to hospital and operated at once to get the baby out although the little girl wasn't due for another 16 weeks. It was December 29 and everyone wondered would little Alexandra Leanna survive at 25 weeks! it was a scenario of chaos for Barry, Linda and their family. Only one pound and nine ounces Ali tried to survive but she was a fighter. Ali lived in an incubator for quite some time and Linda had to cure from her virus infection. Next to that Barry went to hospital too as he was scheduled for back surgery early in January.
t was a busy and difficult time for Linda having her baby in one hospital and her husband in another. On top of that Barry suffered from an allergic reaction to morphine which caused a cardiac arrest and when Linda's mum ended up in hospital too Linda had 3 people in hospital at the same time! Very stressful and a awful beginning of the new year. Maurice had his own struggle against alcohol and one day when things became worse Yvonne and the kids went to Barry's place. After a couple of days Maurice realized something had to happen to change him and finally he came at the turning point when he realized otherwise he'd be losing his family he loved so much and he started a new rehabilitation programme. After a while he'd say: I owe a lot to my friends at Alcoholics Anonymous! When Maurice then was able to go back into the studio again he realized that Barry and Robin had been waiting for him and it was great working together again on their album. February 23rd. it was the 16th. birthday of Adam (eldest son of Maurice and Yvonne), time for celebration. With daughter Sam as maid of honour and Adam as best man Maurice and Yvonne renewed their wedding vows in their Miami Beach home. The first week of March father Hugh Gibb died at the age of 76. It had been too hard for him to enjoy life again after the death of his youngest son Andy. Barry and Linda were finally looking forward to get Ali back home after a very difficult first 3 months. When she left hospital March 25th. she still had to be monitored and needed special attention but the little miracle was making exceptional progress and after about 6 months the family felt confident that all would be well. Barry's back problem wasn't quite cured but he had little pain and could live with it.
Barry and Linda with their baby girl Alexandra
In May the group signed again with Polydor records after their Warner contract had ended. Robin's wife Dwina had been interested by Druidism since being a child and she studied all kinds of religions and ended with a special interest in Druidism. It was June 21st. 1992 when about 300 Druids gathered on Hampstead Heath in London to celebrate the Summer solstice and they elected Dwina Murphy Gibb their patroness. A very moving moment for her. A private Stonehenge was built in Robin and Dwina's Thame garden to mark Dwina's new position. August 24th. Florida witnessed the strength of Hurricane Andrew however the Gibb properties didn't have much damage the family all helped and donated for the people who needed help and September 26th. they performed at the Hurricane Andrew Relief Concert in Miami. In the meantime, the long-slumbering Bunburys project now reached its final stages in the form of animated cartoons based on the drawings of Jan Brychta. The twelve cartoons were about five minutes each and were shown one each week on Channel 4 (England) from August 26 to October 1. A CD with all the songs called Bunbury Tails was released in September. December 27th. Barry and Linda's youngest children Michael and Ali were christened at St Mary's Church in Hendon (near London) along with Amy Rose, daughter of their friends David and Robyn English. Little Ali had been doing very well in her first year.
1993 © Kevin Winter
I n the summer the group worked for several charities both in Britain and the US and dedicated their song 'Blue Island' to the children of Yugoslavia. Also this year the first of some Gibb Brothers tribute albums was released: The Bee Gees Songbook - The Gibb Brothers By Others. After their return to Polydor their fist new single was released in August: Paying The Price Of Love (23 in Britain) and the group finally felt being respected by the media. In September their album Size Isn't Everything was released , again made in cooperation with engineer Femi Jiya. The second single arrived in November: For Whom The Bell Tolls, a song with a wonderful melody (4 in Britain). Some other projects this year were: the release of Independence, an album by Lulu, on which Barry played rhythm guitar and did the backing vocal and which included the Gibb composition: Let Me Wake Up In Your Arms as well as the single release of Eyes, which Kelli Wolfe recorded with Barry.
A planned promotional tour in February for the album Size had to be cancelled due to Barry's health. Barry was having trouble with arthritis in his back, right hand, and right knee. Robin mentioned to the press that the Bee Gees were working on an album of acoustic versions of songs they had written for other artists. Later in the year this plan had turned into an album to be called Love Songs that would combine some new and old recordings. Also Melody Fair, another tribute album was released this year on which all sorts of artists covered Bee Gees material.
On this album there's also the previously unreleased recording the brothers made with their niece Beri Rhoades in 1987, 'I'm Not Wearing Make-Up'. 'Miracles Happen' was written and recorded to be the title song for a new film version of Miracle on 34th Street. The Bee Gees got the job in June and quickly returned this recording, with a boys' choir and a big string section backing them. The filmmakers however decided later to use only old Christmas songs. The Bee Gees recorded it again in 1996 for Still Waters. Other releases of The Bee Gees in the first part of the year were Kiss Of Life and How To Fall In Love, Part 1 June 1st. The Bee Gees were inducted into The Songwriters Hall Of Fame during a ceremony at the New York Sheraton Hotel. September 1st. The Bee Gees were in Blackpool (England) to switch on the Blackpool illuminations,( the start of the Autumn season) in conjunction with a Radio One Special. Later in September they were inducted into Florida's Artists Hall Of Fame. On November 25th. the group performed on the Royal Variety Performance before the British Queen at the London Dominion Theatre. They felt greatly honoured.
Maurice, September 1995
Robin, December 1995
T he Love Songs album was cancelled by the start of the year. Reasons: unknown. In March the Bee Gees announced that they were starting a whole new album. They wrote about 12 new songs but no album was released this year. (We had to wait for Still Waters until 1997). Maurice by this time started a special new project which would keep him busy for the rest of his life: producing recordings of his daughter Samantha. Angel Of Mercy (B.R.M. Gibb) - Here, There And Everywhere (Lennon & McCartney) and Without You (Adam Gibb) were the first recordings by Maurice's daughter Sam. She and friends had started singing at charity events as the China Dolls in 1992. Now being 15, Samantha made her first serious recordings with her friend Majandra Delfino (later known as an actress on the television series Roswell). These first 3 songs might have been planned for a single, but this didn't happen in the end. Around the same time Maurice's son Adam started to write with his friend as well. The Bee Gees recorded the Carole King classic 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' for a tribute album called Tapestry Revisited. The album was produced by Arif Mardin.
T he Bee Gees did recording work for the upcoming album Still Waters but didn't finish it yet. The first plans for a musical based on Saturday Night Fever were born early in 1996 and the Brothers needed to write some more material for this project, like Immortality. A documentary was made called Keppel Road for which they returned to there childhood home: Keppel Road in Manchester for some filming. Barry also worked this year together with Jordan Hill: Too Much Heaven and he did backing vocals on a recording with Paul Anka. Next to that yet another tribute album comes out: Soul Of The Bee Gees. October 24th. the group opened VH1 Fashion Awards in New York and November 25th. the Bee Gees featured in VH1's Storytellers series on US television performing a number of their compositions in Coral Gables, Florida. The format of the show was for them to say a little about each song and then perform it in a simple arrangement. The Bee Gees had just Barry on guitar, Maurice on keyboard or guitar, and Ben Stivers on synthesizer, with Barry, Robin, and Maurice singing live at the same time. (The performance was first shown on television in 1997).
Visiting their old house in Keppel Road
B y this time a whole new group of people became interested in Bee Gees music. The generation of fans of boy bands: new British groups who climbed the charts with Bee Gees covers. The public more and more respected Gibb music and the Brothers became more recognition from the music industry as well. They were presented with the International Artist Award in L.A. on January 27th. Also in January their single Alone was released which became a hit again in both UK and Australia and halfway the year released in the US too. Their new album was called: Still Waters and released in March. In the first part of the year the group did quite some promotion work like an appearance on the British show: Noel's House Party, performing Alone and where they also were the 'victims' of Noel Edmond's 'gotcha' pranks. Some days later they were guests on Des O'Connor Tonight Show and February 24th. The Brothers were proud to receive the British Phonographic Industry's Lifetime Achievement Award at the Brit Awards and the Lifetime Contribution to Music Award at the World Music Awards in April. In May they were inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The VH! Storytellers mini-album became available only in Target stores in the United States as part of a 2-CD box.
The five songs were recorded November 1996. The medley the Bee Gees did at the Brits was included on their second single in June ( I Couldn't Love You More). Céline Dion recorded 'Immortality' in June 1997 and the Bee Gees put on backing vocals on August 18. Céline attended the Bee Gees session, which was recorded for the video. There was success again in America, their album Still Waters had also entered the US charts. September 22nd. The Bee Gees were inducted into the Hall Of Fame of the Australian Music Industry Association and one month later they were awarded the Bambi Award in Cologne, Germany and received a lifetime achievement award at the Goldene Europa Awards. Privately Barry and wife Linda had to deal with heroin problems of their eldest son Steve but things went better after he'd visited a rehabilitation centre. This year Robert Stigwood asked The Brothers to make a stage musical of their hit Saturday Night Fever and requested some additional music to use. This is how The Bee Gees had come up with the song Immortality. The Bee Gees were very happy that Celine Dion was delighted to record the song. October 4th. The Bee Gees got a chance to join Celine on stage during her concert in Florida to perform Immortality together. October 21st. The brothers together with Robert Stigwood gave a press conference at the London Palladium to launch the new Saturday Night Fever show.
Bee Gees with mum Barbara at the American Music Awards, 1997
Barry's continuing problems with arthritis had made it impossible for him to endure the rigors of touring. In 1997 he decided he would commit to a series of shows spaced well apart that would be called: One Night Only. Just play some major concerts in different parts of the world and bringing them on TV instead of touring 20 to 30 cities in a few months. So this new concept brought them to Las Vegas first where they did a huge show at the MGM Grand Hotel, this was November 14th. The show was recorded on videotape and in multi track sound for broadcast and release on CD and DVD. Las Vegas became Bee Gees city for a week when November 10th. The Brothers first were presented with the key of the city an the Governor of the State of Nevada declared it Bee Gees week and Las Vegas Boulevard was renamed for a week in: Bee Gees Boulevard. More then 15000 people enjoyed their show at the MGM where The brothers were accompanied on stage by Matt Bonelli on bass, Steve Rucker on drums, Ben Stivers on keyboards while Barry's eldest son Steve assisted on guitar and of course Alan Kendall on lead guitar.
Mo and Yvonne at the World Music Awards, 1997
Barry and Robin during ONO Las Vegas show
J anuary 31st. the boys joined other Saturday Night Fever artists like Yvonne Elliman, KC and the Sunshine Band, Tavares etc. for a reunion concert at Madison Square Garden where they of course performed a number of their hits including some S.N.F. songs and they received an enthusiastic response. It was March 5th. when Saturday Night Fever, the stage show opened at the London Palladium, again standing ovations when The Gibbs arrived for the premiere. Amongst the guests was Robert Stigwood, Sarah Ferguson and Benny and Bjorn of Abba. In April the limited-edition CD of Ellan Vannin was released to benefit the Manx Children in Need. In July Immortality of Celine was released on single and August 28th. the group performed in Dublin, the first of 4 sold out stadium concerts this year. There was a guest performance of Ronan Keating who joined the Brothers for Words and during this show was the first live performance of Ellan Vannin.
September 5th. it was a full house at Wembley Stadium with Tina Arena as support act and September 7th. the live album and video of ONO - Las Vegas were released. September 13th. the group recorded the TV Special; An Audience With, in London ( for broadcast on November 7th). In October there were the releases of the 2 CD set Brilliant From Birth about their Australian days from Festival Records and Assault The Vaults with 31 songs written by The Gibbs for other Australian artists. It was on October 17th. when The Bee Gees did their first South American concert in their career in Buenos Aires at the Boca Junior Stadium followed by a show in Pretoria, South Africa on November 28th. Maurice continued to produce songs for his daughter Samantha and a promo CD was released of their group Luna Park (Sam, brother Adam and friend Laz). At the same time Robin's eldest son Spencer was already working on his own career in Austin Texas and Barry's eldest Steve worked in some groups as well as played guitar with The Bee Gees (ONO).
Series of Bee Gees stamps from The Isle Of Man
D uring this years' Love And Hope Ball Barry performed a number of Frank Sinatra classics. March 20th. it was time for the ONO Show in New Zealand and the following week they performed at the new Olympic Stadium in Sydney where old Bee Gee Vince Melouney joined them on stage to play guitar on some of their old hits. After these shows the group went back to Florida to start writing songs for a new album and started recording in June (Barry and Maurice both used Middle Ear while Robin recorded in London). By September they then all gathered in Florida again at Middle Ear for some weeks. In October the Isle Of Man Post Office issued a series of stamps to commemorate The Bee Gees' contribution to music. A limited edition of the Ellan Vannin CD, with stamps included in the CD insert booklet, was also issued. The brothers received the special stamps on October 21 in New York. After the presentation all went to the Minskoff Theatre for the opening night of the Saturday Night Fever stage show on Broadway. The Brothers received a standing ovation when entering the theatre.
In November the BG composition 'I Will Be There' was released on the Tina Turner album: Twenty Four Seven and Robin did a wonderful version of the traditional Christmas song 'In the Bleak Midwinter' for British television. On his return to Florida in December the Bee Gees had another concert to prepare: a last ONO concert. New Years' Eve The Bee Gees celebrated with this concert the turn of the century at the National Car Rental Auditorium in Sunrise, Florida. The group added their 1967 song: 'Turn Of The Century' to their medley this time. Just after the Brothers had left the stage it turned midnight and the giant screens showed Times Square, New York while the audience counted down. Then the band played: Auld Lang Syne and the arena was showered with balloons and confetti etc.
Bee Gees with the old members Vince and Colin, Australia
The Brothers then rejoined their band on stage for: You Should Be Dancing.
At the start of 2000 people were still dancing to the sounds of The Bee Gees.!
Kevin Winter, Chris Walter
To be continued.
Part ten: History