RICHARD AND JUDY: ROBIN INTERVIEW
(Richard and Judy, Channel 4, December 3rd 2004)

Robin Gibb was in this show to promote Number Ones

 

Judy: Barry Gibb is one of the top writers and producers, but I am in awe of this man. The Bee Gees have sold over 110 million albums, that's two for every person in Britain. Their latest is a compilation, not of their greatest hits, but their greatest number ones. Fabulous music.  Robin is here now

Robin Gibb: Can I just say about something you said earlier about Barry writing all the songs? Well, actually we wrote all the songs together.

Richard: Sorry about that.

Robin Gibb: It's OK

Richard: I thought Barry had ...

Robin Gibb: Barry wrote some songs.

Judy: Barry produced...

Robin Gibb: Yes, he did, but we wrote all of the songs together.

Richard: That's my error. I wrote the script very early this morning because we had an awards thing. When I wrote the production thing I put... I apologise...

Robin Gibb: That's the wonderful thing about the album, it presents what we've written for other artists as well, like"Heartbreaker"  we did for Dionne Warwick, "Chain reaction" for Diana Ross, "Woman in love" for Streisand.

Judy: Yes. It's vast really, isn't it? As you just said, it's astonishing when you look back on your track record of success. Every record was just stunning.

Robin Gibb: Thank you.

Judy: Is there a kind of sense in this particular album that it is something of a memorial to Maurice?

Robin Gibb: Yes, I think so. I think there's a lot of that as well. It's the first release since Maurice died and it is in a sense a tribute to Maurice and I think that will be ongoing in a way in our whole career, you don't really get over it, something like that... It's a real part of my whole life now and forever. You wake up with that fact everyday. But yes, the music, everything we do now will be that.

Richard: We have lost a lot of friends this year. One of our closest friends -as people watching on here will know- was Caron Keating, we were very close to her and her family. I remember something the vicar said at her funeral: it was that "Those of us that loved her and who were loved by her could maintain contact with her through that channel, that's the one channel, the one frequency that remains open between the living and the dead - love, and it's two-way communication."

Robin Gibb: That's right, yes.

Richard: Do you feel that with Maurice?

Robin Gibb: Yes.

Richard: I think that's the one way you can...

Robin Gibb: Yes, and again I think we had this special relationship, not just as a twin, as three brothers, all our lives, so it goes beyond just being brothers; it's a musical relationship that we shared from the beginning.

Richard: What I mean't was... Are you conscious of him? Yes, he's beyond reach now...

Robin Gibb: Yes.

Richard: But nevertheless, he's contactable in another place...

Robin Gibb: Yes. I don't know if I can actually feel that he is getting in touch with me. I'd love that. I'm not saying that you can't and that people don't feel that, but I actually feel sometimes that he is... that there's a presence, that he's there... And I think that's probaly what you mean, I think there is that feeling, that he's always there.

Judy: Talk about the three of you. It really is remarkable that you were all gifted with such fantastic voices, isn't it?

Robin Gibb: Yes.

Judy: And you and Maurice, you used to harmonize together in the bathroom in Manchester, didn't you?

Robin Gibb: My mother used to wash us in the kitchen sink as well; we weren't that well off!

Judy: My mother used to wash me in the kitchen sink!

Robin Gibb: Two of us, one each side. Then she'd get us out and do the dishes!

Richard: I used to wash my mother in the kitchen sink...

Robin Gibb: That's right! I used to wash my mother as well... We had a great bath tub in front of the fire as well that she used to wash us in and she used to sing "Ding dong dell pussy in the well," you know, all the old stuff, all the rhymes.

Judy: So that wasn't just you and Maurice, that was all three of you?

Robin Gibb: In that? Well... the three of us used to sleep in the same bed because we didn't have many bedrooms  and we all used to sit in bed at night and talk about what we were going to do in the future, we needed that kind of quality time to talk about what we were going to do.

Richard: Yes.The first time I was conscious of the Bee Gees cornering the market in that beautiful close harmony falsetto was 'Jive Talkin.' Had you done it before then?

Robin Gibb: Yes, in the late 60's, "Massachusetts"

Richard: Massachuetts , of course!

Robin Gibb: "I've gotta get a message to you," they were all number ones. And "Words," that went on to be recorded by Ronan Keating later on, that was top ten.

Richard: How did you get in to that? Because it's quite a challenging way to sing, falsetto, I mean in all the other ways...

Robin Gibb: A lot of other artists were doing it at that time, people like Mick Jagger were doing it, and of course later Prince was doing it. It was kind of a melting pot in music to do that. It was actually only done on a few songs, only two or three songs, that was stuff from Fever. Incidentally all the stuff for Fever was written in the countryside in France, in a little village. The cows got to hear it first!

Richard: Let's see a clip, this is "Stayin' alive," your careers were already mega. It's a bit like these satellites that go into space and they get extra velocity going round the planet, Saturday night fever really sling shot you into...

Robin Gibb: Yes, it was a special project; we didn't realise how big it was going to be, it was just a project to us.

Richard: Well, you never know, do you?

Robin Gibb: No.

Richard: Well, let's have a look.

[Video shown]

Richard: Well, you're going to like this, not a lot, but a bit. Well, you must know this... he has to get permission: Have you heard that Ozzy Osbourne wants to do his own version of "Stayin alive"?

Robin Gibb: I'd love to hear that!

Richard: We've done it. We went into the studios in Abbey Road earlier today. He's not quite got it together but it's not too bad.

[Osbourne's lookalike perfoms the song]

Robin Gibb: I think it could be a bit better than that...

Richard: Yes. I think it will be better than that... It was a laugh...

Robin Gibb: Yeah!

Judy: Did you know he's done that? That's definitely what we've heard.

Robin Gibb: Yes, he's doing it. I can't wait to hear it!

Richard: Tell us how did you guys work together when you were writing songs together and rehearsing them... what did you do? Did you always work in a studio like the Beatles mostly used to do? How did you write together?

Robin Gibb: Exactly the same way. We'd be sitting around a table like this, we'd have a memocord in the middle of the table and there'd be a keyboard and a guitar and we'd have ideas, maybe a title, and one of us would come to the table with an idea of two halves of a song, or we'd get the ideas putting them both together to make one song. Lyrics used to come later, music first.

Richard: So the melody first. he melody, and the sound and the harmonies; then you'd work on the lyrics?

Robin Gibb: Yes. Well, with the song you don't really worry about the harmonies right away, you just worry about the melody, and then you write the lyrics. With the Streisand album for instance "Woman in love" and "Guilty" we wrote all the melodies first in one week and then the following week we wrote all the lyrics

Judy: You've got children, two sons. Has any of your kids kind of inherited the... ?

Robin Gibb: Yes. Robin-John is very much into producing and writing, and he's working on stuff right now. And I've got Spencer in Austin,Texas and he has a blues band.

Judy: And what about Maurice's and Barry's?

Robin Gibb: They're working in music too.

Richard: Well, it's in the genes. This is a wonderful album. It really is. It's the Bee Gees' number ones...

Robin Gibb: Thanks very much, thanks a lot!

Richard: I think Paul McCartney said about the White album in the documentary about the Beatles "Look, it's the white album, it's good!"

Robin Gibb: Yes. 

Richard: It's great. It's lovely to see you again. 

Robin Gibb: Thanks a lot Richard.

Judy: Nice to see you.

Robin Gibb: Congratulations on the award!

Judy: Thank you!


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