From archive: Robert Stigwood speaks about the Bee Gees (Part II)

Barry: easygoing spendthrift and Colin not the outsider

Part 2 of the profile of the younger Bee Gees as seen by Robert Stigwood, who was their manager and "guiding light," as Barry called him during the 2013 U.K. Mythology Tour. (Sorry it took so VERY long after Part 1.)

The "Barry and Colin" article was featured in the March 15, 1969 issue of Disc & Music Echo.

It appears that Barry in 1968 was into clothes and was somewhat extravagant.  After all, he suddenly became such a big star at such a young age.  And he wasn’t just a pop star but also a writing sensation, with wealth and accolades rolling in from all quarters.  It is a pity that Vince Melouney’s profile is not included here as this article was written after he left the group. Anyway here’s some of what Stigwood had to say about Barry and Colin at that time:


 Barry Gibb: easygoing spendthrift

 Although Barry Gibb is an idol already, I predict that he’ll grow into a legend of the magnitude of James Dean or Rufolf Valentino, as a singer, composer and actor.

Barry is the Bee Gees’ coordinator.  I use the word advisedly, as there in no leader of the group as such.  He has a tremendous feel for soul music a la his composing work for the Marbles, but he is also a fantastic solo singer in his own right.

He possesses a perfect ear for music in regard to pitch and harmony and he is the absolute perfectionist in the studio.  He will never let anything go until he finds it absolutely right. (….) It is true that some of the greatest hits written with Robin have actually been composed on the spot in the recording studio.

As to his acting abmbitions, he is bombarded with offfers to go into films, but nothing definite’s been decided.  His loyalty to the group comes first.

Despite this ambition, though, he’s very easygoing.  For example, he’s not as explosive as Robin can be although all of them are temperamental and Barry can lose his temper like anyone.  Usually, it will  be in the studio when he is trying to recall some complicated harmony part and a lot of noise is going on.  Then he’ll explode without warning.

The fact that he is easygoing probably explains his attidude towards money.  He’s a terrible spendthrift.   I’m terrified of allowing him near any clothes shop.  You see, he thinks not of buying one suit but 13.  I’ll never forget the time he was once in Carnaby Street, walked into a shop and ordered 45 pairs of trousers! Also he must have in his possession over 1,000 shirts and 300 pairs of boots and shoes.  But everything gets worn for he changes three or four times a day.

He’s also impulsive in some of the things he says at interviews, but I never tell him off about it bcause it’s not a manager’s job to gag artists.

I should also make it clear that besides being incredibly kind and considerate, Barry is not remotely conceited or bigheaded.  The public love him because the Bee Gees have been so internationally successful as composers as well as performers.


Colin Petersen: not the outsider

People tend to thnk that Colin Petersen must be something of an "outsider" in the group, but the fact is that his rapport with the Gibb brothers in the studio is so close that you’d really think he was one of the Gibbs himself.

He’s so attuned to them musically and his drumming simply speaks for itself.

Outside the studio, it’s very different. He is the easygong Australian, whereas the Gibbs have explosive Mancunian temperaments.  But he sitll gets on extremely well with them and never at any time has he beenregarded as at all dispensable.  How could he be, with such fantastic musical rapport? (…) Obviously there is some difference between the Gibbs, with their being brothers, and him, but he’s adult enough not to feel an outsider in that connection.  Anyway, he’s very popular with the fans and receives a colossal amount of fan mail.

Vince Melouney’s departure didn’t isolate him either.  Colin was happy for Vince that he was moving forward to something he wanted to do, but it didn’t mean he was left on his own at all.

But then Colin is a very level-headed person, despite being a racing car enthusiast.  I was very happy to see my personal assistant, Joanne, whom I’m very fond of, marry Colin because I knew that she was in good hands.  He’s a very sophisticated person.  He has a good appreciation of good food and wines.  (…) He is mad on soul music which is also a grat asset to the Bee Gees because so much of their music is soul-oriented.  Then, again, he’s 100 percent professional in everything he does and he’s an old professional like the Gibbs because he’s been in entertainment as a child as they were. He is a talented writer, too, and will be writing material for artists he himself is going to produce this year.

In those days it was mentioned that Barry would eventually pursue his acting career by leaving the Bee Gees or would try to do so while still remaining with the group.  Nothing ever came out of those plans, and the TV comedy "Cucumber Castle" featuring Barry and Maurice and the "Sgt. Pepper" film which the Gibbs regarded as a massive failure were the only two major acting projects that materialized in their career.  It would have been nice, though, if they had been able to act more properly in a film or two when they were younger. 

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