There are many examples of great bands formed by siblings. The Jackson Five – with Michael Jackson and his brothers – The Kinks, The Allman Brothers, Sister Sledge, Gladys Night & The Pips are just a few examples. The group that has probably gotten the most recognition though, at least in so far as breaking new ground regarding music genres is concerned, is the Bee Gees.
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English brothers Barry, Maurice, and Robin garnered massive success in the 1970s and the 1980s, bringing their fantastic dance and disco music to concert halls, discotheques, and arenas worldwide.
Yet though the Gibbs family enjoyed great success in music as a whole, they have also been through their fair share of grief.
Things have been particularly tough for Barry, the eldest Bee Gee brother, since he’s had to witness the passing of all his three siblings. A few years ago, the man himself explained that the only way he can handle it all is through music.
The eldest of the brothers, Barry Gibb was born on September 1, 1946, on the Isle of Man. Three years later, twins Robin and Maurice were born, and the three were destined to turn their talents towards music.
Their mother, Barbara, was a well-known singer. Their father, Hugh, was a bandleader, drummer, and performer on the island where they were born.
By a very young age, Barry and his younger twin brothers were experimenting with music for fun. Then, in 1955, the family moved to Manchester, England. It was there that their parents began to understand how talented their boys were,
In The Ultimate Bopgraphy of The Bee Gees: Tales of The Brothers Gibb, it’s described how their mother, Barbara, one day returned home to find her father-in-law watching TV. She offered to lower the volume on what sounded like the radio in the other room. It transpired that it wasn’t a radio at all; it was her 9-year-old son Barry and 6-year-old twins Maurice and Robin singing together.
She knew they had something, and not long after that did Barry receive his first guitar for holiday.
He started singing and writing songs with his brothers. In 1957, the three of them – alongside two friends – made their debut as The Rattlesnakes at the Manchester Gaumont Theatre.
At this time, Manchester was still struggling in the aftermath of the Second World War II, like many other cities in the UK. As a result, the Gibb family decided to leave, and in 1958 the family moved to Redcliffe, Australia.
Why was the group named Bee Gees?
The brothers were now without the two friends who had played alongside them previously. Instead of continuing as The Rattlesnakes, Barry, Maurice, and Robin renamed the band the ‘Bee Gees’.
“Though it is widely believed that the Bee Gees first got their name from being the Brothers Gibb, this meaning did not come until a few years after their founding. When the brothers moved to Australia in 1958, they began playing on the radio with friends Bill Goode and Bill Gates.
The group’s name was originally The BG’s – contrived from the common initials between Barry Gibb, Bill Goode, and Bill Gates. The name then evolved from The BG’s to the Bee Gees, which eventually came to mean the Brothers Gibb!”
The Bee Gees continued making music, and it wasn’t long before they could be heard on their friend Bill Gates’ radio station. Performances on television shows followed, and not long after that their father Hugh decided to become the band’s full-time manager.