From archive: Robert Stigwood talks about the Bee Gees Part 1-Robin & Maurice

The hypochondriac Robin (left) and gregarious Maurice (right)
The hypochondriac Robin (left) and gregarious Maurice (right)

The UK music paper Disc & Music Echo did a two-week Bee Gees Special in March 1969 where their then manager Robert Stigwood talked about the Bee Gee personalities he knew. 

In this first issue, dated March 8, 1969, Stigwood talked about the twins, Robin and Maurice Gibb.

About Robin, he spoke of his "incredible persecution complex" and "hypochondria," while he maintained that the marriage (to Lulu) would be very good for Maurice. Incidentally, his less than overly diplomatic reference here to Robin’s little finger understandably triggered some sarcastic comments from Tamla Motown.

Here’s some of what Robert Stigwood had to say at that time:


Robin: fretting about his health

*Robin Gibb is gifted with one of the finest pop voices of all time.  Robin has more soul in his little finger than the whole of the Tamla Motown record label. (…) I believe Robin’s voice is utterly sensational. But Robin has an incredible persecution complex.  He tends to think that the whole world is against him.  He has no confidence at all and can be hurt by the pettiest of rmarks, which is silly, since every artist must expect to receive a few knocks.  Robin, though, gets unbelieabavly upset.  (….)Perhaps this is why he is sucha a hypochondriac.  Actually he is as healthy as an ox, but he is forever fretting about his health.  It reflects, perhaps, in the fact that he keeps a close check on everything that is happening for the Bee Gees. He has a private calagloue of every song the  Gibb brothers have written asince the age of eight and he documents the chart rertun from every country around the world.

*He is also the most explosive of the Bee Gees. He can be impatient over the smallest points.  Of course he had a recent row with me over the decision not to put "Lamplight" on the A-side of the new single. But I I haven’t released a single yet that the whole gorup have liked. Somebody is alwatys going to b unhappy.  ]This time it was Robin. 

*The fact is that he has an incredible and wonderful imagination.  This is shown in the lyrics of his composition, "Odessa”–the title track of the new LP–which is, I think, one of the finest pop songs ever written.

*He’s also a great clown.  There is a great sort of Chaplinesque quality about Robin. He has an incredible list of character interpretations.  He can take off anybody.

*Of course, he’s come in for laughs he wasn’t wanting. Like the jokes about his teeth and his hair and his traffic signals on stage.  I–and he–judge it by the public reaction to his stage appearances.  He gets screams ad hysteria, same as the others.


Maurice: past his raving days now

*Maurice Gibb is the boy people tend to put in the background and yet his contribution is enormous because he is the arranging brain and the multi-instrumentalist of the group.  Although his singing is usually restricted to singing harmonies on the choruses, in the studios his part is enormous.  He plays bass, piano, organ, Mellotron, rhythm and is now lead guitarist.
*His rapport with the two other brothers Gibb is incredible, too.  The way he can translate the songs they’ve written into the right field for recording amazes me. It’s because of this that the other two can come into a recording studio and write a song and then Maurice will instantly arrange it for immediate recording.

*As a person, perhaps he’s the easiest of the Gibb brothers to get on with since he is always a cheerful person. He’s not as moody as Robin, for example, and he’s also quite mature.  As an example, on a date, when the polie lose control of the crowd, Robin will get frightened, yet Maurice will merely laugh about it.

*Maurice is great company as he is so easy going and he is a splendid host. 

*His marriage will be very good for him.  The additional responsibility will help to settle him down and Lulu’s such a level-headed person.  They make a perfect couple even though that sounds corny and, most important of all, he’s very much in love with her.

*He’s out of his raving stage now.  As many pepole know, he used to drink too much. It didn’t affect his work, but he has cut down now.

*He’s gregarious.  He loves meeting people and he’s fond of touring, probably for the same reason.  He and Colin are both keen, whereas Barry and Robin dislike touring. He is also rather an extravagant person.  He likes buying clothes and spends too much. In dress, though, he has developed tremendous good taste and for 19 years of age has become remarkably poised.   He is also terribly generous to his family and friends.
* Really, Maurice is totally different from his twin brother and yet the three Gibbs are fantastically close.

* Of course, they argue like mad and anybody who bursts upon them in the mibble of a row would think they were about to murder each other.   But two minutes later they are as thick as thieves and the closeness betwen them is the tremendous thing in their ability for delveloping harmony on theri records.

(Disc and Music Echo — March 8,1969)

In this two-part interview, Robert Stigwood was speaking only of the four Bee Gees as Vince had already departed.  However, not everything was perfect among the members, and in hindsight he seems rather critical of Robin.  Part 2 (Barry and Colin) will come up soon.

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