[Archive 2003] “NOT FORGOTTEN …MAURICE GIBB” (Record Collector)

Never forgotten – Maurice Gibb
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Record Collector magazine paid tribute to Maurice Gibb following his untimely passing in January 2003.  Here’s a quick summary.


Despite reports that suggest Barry and Robin Gibb will continue to work together, the death of Maurice Gibb on 12th January brings the career of the most successful trio in pop history to an end.

After summing up their extraordinary career, the article continues to depict Maurice’s "brother-in-the-middle" quality:

Locked in the eternal sibling rivalry for supremacy, Barry and Robin tended to claim the lion’s share of lead vocals and composer credits on Bee Gees records.  However, the amiable, less competitive Maurice was arguably the glue that held the band together over four tempestuous decades.

while casting lights on his musicianship:

He was certainly the most versatile and gifted instrumentalist, contributing bass, piano, organ, mellotron, harpsichord and guitar to the brothers’ stunning, Beatles-derived UK debut LP, Bee Gees First, in 1967.  Lacking the steely determination of elder brother Barry or the egotism of twin Robin, Maurice would be content to stay in the background, restricted to the occasional showcase lead vocal (the title track of Trafalger, ‘Kitty Can’ on Idea) although, like Graham Nash of the Hollies, his harmony work was always exemplary.

According to the article, among various extracurricular projects Maurice worked on during the breakup of the Bee Gees, "arguably his most interesting venture was the result of a drunken session at IBC studios in the summer of 1969."

By this time Maurice was managing and producing Tin Tin, a duo of Steve Kipner and Steve Groves.  Aided by Maurice and Lulu’s brother Billy Lawrie, the four men consumed a bottle of Scotch before recording the Beatles parody, ‘Have You Heard The Word‘, with Maurice providing an uncanny John Lennon impersonation.    Suitably amused, they left the results on the cutting-room floor and went home.
     Some months later, the track turned up at the offices of the Beacon label, who, despite the fact that all four men were exclusively signed to Polydor, sneaked it out as a single that they credited to the Fut.  Arguably the ultimate pastiche of the Fab Four circa Magical Mystery Tour, ‘Have You Heard The Word’ appeared on numerous Beatles bootlegs – indeed, it was so convincing that in 1985 Yoko Ono mistakenly registered the song as a Lennon composition.

The closing lines read:

A new Bee Gees album, This Is Where I Came In, and a successful hits compilation seemed to confirm the brothers’ continued eminence: they were working on new material when Maurice was admitted to a Miami hospital on 9th January with severe stomach pains.  Three days later, he was dead after suffering a heart attack during memergency surgery for an abdominal blockage.  He was 53.

     — David Wells

From Record Collector, 2003

FYI, ‘Have You Heard the Word‘ (Maurice Gibb with The Fut) on YouTube

{BGD – January 2016}

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