(Jan Nesbit, New Musical Express, December 7 1968)

Transcript by Anne Marie

Looking out of the penthouse window I was confronted by a grey mass of bustling businessmen in their prestige open-plan office block.  In contrast, Barry Gibb, self employed Bee Gee, splendid in marmalade velvet jacket was romping on the leather sofa with Barnaby, his sheepdog.

When Barry had recovered with the help of a cup of tea I asked him how he felt about Vince Melouney leaving the group.

“Vince has been a big blues fan since we started” he said.  “He felt stifled because the rest of us are only interested in playing commercial numbers and it’s no good having somebody in the group who’s not really with you.  Obviously he’ll be a great loss to us but Vince will be a great gain to another group, because he’s a brilliant guitarist, although I don’t think he’s even realised it himself yet.  I honestly hope he’ll be very successful”.

What are the future plans of the new Bee Gees quartet?  “We’re going to bring out a double LP in January”.  Immediately on the defensive Barry added “WE thought of a double LP at the same time as the Cream but everybody will say we’re jumping on the Beatles’ bandwagon again.  Did you know we took the Golden Otter, a German magazine award, off the Beatles?  The kids over there don’t stick to one group, if they like you they vote for you

“We want to do a double album because we’ll be able to develop our ideas and its more value for money.  It won’t have any over all format, songs should be left separate with a beginning and an end and they should have heart.  There won’t be any sound effects just ballads with an emotional message


Wrong spelling

I asked whether he thought the proposed title “Masterpiece” was pretentious.  “Ha, that is what everyone thought! Who do those Bee Gees think they are?” he mimicked “In fact, love, it’s Master Peace, p-e-a-c-e, master as in recording the disc others are pressed from, and Peace.  It’s going to be a very unusual cover – red velvet with gold lettering”

What did he think of the Beatles LP? Barry made a negative face.  “I’m not going to knock anybody.  When you’re at the top it just makes you feel good to have people knocking you, I know.  I have only listened to four tracks of that LP.  With the Beatles you always think ‘diabolical’ at first then in a few weeks you think ‘great’ so its pointless knocking them until they do something that’s really no good”.

Barry Gibb as we all know wants to be a film star.  His first oft-postponed film “Lord Kitchener’s Little Drummer Boys” is to be made with the rest of the group.

“It’s Warner Brothers, Cinemascope and two and a half hours long.  I think it is very funny, it’s about the Boer War and how we all get roped in as soldiers.  There are going to be six songs although we are not going to be singing them as a group.  We’ll be sitting round the camp fire of something and the strings will come up

“I want to get out of the pop business because its too petty.  There’s too many little people trying to talk big! A film star is more solid.  Pop singers get no respect.  Their lives are filled with drugs, bawdiness, and no religious beliefs.  They don’t know anything about the rest of the world, just their own narrow little lives.  The men behind the desks in the film business are more realistic.”

Barry Gibb’s disenchantment with the pop scene has been accentuated by what he feels to be the rough treatment handed out to him by the Marbles.

“I got them started in the same way Robert Stigwood opened the doors for us.  We were friends at school, but as soon as they get a hit they turn round and criticise me in the papers.  It’s very sad what you learn about human nature in this business.

“It could have been a great relationship.  I’m going to do another record with them all the same “The Walls Fell Down” then they’ll have two hits to carry in the bag.  Getting to No.5 with your first song is pretty exceptional ‘New York Mining Disaster’ only got to No 9

“It made me laugh when I read somewhere that the Marbles were at the top.  They’re not at the top. Being at the top means going to Japan or Russia and people pointing and saying there’s Barry Gibb

“But I’m not going to knock anybody any more.  When I criticised Scott Walker for not doing any more tours because the fans screamed, I just got abuse back, I love my fans, but kids don’t appreciate being cared about.  They queue up, stand in the cold, love you, how can you tell them not to scream?”

Barry has plans to write Lulu’s new single, “Don’t take my man away”

“I like female singers but not girl groups.  Let’s just say that the Paper Dolls are not my favourite act

“I’m not going to let any more of my songs be used on albums and flip sides.  I want more status.  When Burt Bacharach writes a song it’s immediately used as a single.  I would like the same treatment”.

Barry stopped to draw breath and have another cup of tea. He seems to be conducting a one man campaign at the moment for more recognition and respect.  For all his success he still gives the impression of being remarkably insecure but then most talented people are.


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