It's a partnership, no dictatorship, he says

Robin tells Alan Smith about how in his own home

(Alan Smith, NME, August 30, 1969)

Transcript by Anne Marie

I found him tense, intense, slight, sincere, benevolent, bitter and virtually ready to burst with the torrent of his words and his eccentric thoughts. His executive case sat on the desk packed with 40 new songs. To find him quietly waiting for the questions would have been a rare occurrence indeed. He devoted the first 20 minutes of our meeting to a galloping discourse on his pride in England and the greatness of Sir Winston Churchill.

This was the Robin Gibb of ‘Saved By The Bell’ fame, bubbling with energy and still only beginning to think about his potential and his plans for the future. The Bee Gees may have suddenly begun to zoom up the NME chart after brother Robin – but with stamina like that I believe they will always have a tough job on their hands to keep apace.

Robin is understandably annoyed at recent reports and comments that his wife, two years older, rules his life and controls his mind.

He told me firmly “I make my own decisions. I love her, but my wife comes second to me in my own house. Maturity isn’t a question of age, it’s a question of mind. Molly and I have a partnership not a dictatorship. She’s a wonderful person and these stories that she’s some kind of demon … they make me sick.

“I as a Bee Gee 13 years and it’s hard to forget, but I’m throwing myself into my work. I’m writing a 300-page book, I’m doing a Christmas special of my own for ATV.

“The tracks on the album are Alexandria Goodtime. The Flag I Flew Fell Over, I’ll Herd My Sheep, The Man Most Likely To Be, Love Just Goes, Make Believe, I Was Your Used To Be, The Complete And Utter History, Seven Birds Are Singing. It’s No Use Crying Any More, Sing A Song Of Sisters, and Beat The Drum. I don’t think I missed any”.


Talk of his songwriting led him onto an incredible story of how he wrote a song for the Bee Gees’ “Odessa” album after starving for four days and four nights in a broken down chalet in the French Alps

“It was while we were on honeymoon,” he alleged. “And we were conned into this deserted, boarded-up shack in the mountains with any hot water.

“A blizzard was blowing, but I went out and got trapped in the snow I almost suffocated until this French guy saw me with his torch and shouted to hold still while he threw a rope.

“He couldn’t pull on the ice, and by now the snow was almost up to my neck and they had to get a truck and a chain to pull me clear. I nearly died that night.

“I got back to the chalet and all that was there was one egg and a piece of cheese. I had the egg raw – there was nothing to cook with – and I tell you it was the nicest thing in my life.

“When I got back I worked on the ‘Odessa’ track for the LP I’d started in that shack. The others wanted to call the album ‘Masterpiece’; you know but I thought that was pompous.

“I worked and worked and worked on that ‘Odessa’ track,” he rolled on, the words tumbling out fast, “and I got a ring from Robert Stigwood to say it was the greatest pop classic he had ever experienced. He said it was stupendous, and I used to get calls from him at three and four and have and six in the morning telling me the same thing.

“I thought it was going to be the new single …” his words stopped short at the thought of his great disappoint.

Robin alleges the difference between his own and his brothers’ songwriting is that he has a taste for getting away from the conventional; they don’t.

He cites “Never Say Never Again on the ‘Odessa’ album

“I wanted a line to go ‘I declared war on Spain’,” he says “Instead Barry wanted something so normal it was ridiculous. He said my words were so unromantic. But what could be more normal than a man in love wanting to declare war on anything that was to him unlovely!”

Robin’s self definition is that he’s “Very romantic, sentimental and very patient”


I have no doubts about the patriotism he shamed my previous lukewarm interest by telling me that Sir Winston Churchill was his biggest hero; and how he’d read almost everything Sir Winston had ever written.

Robin’s also fiery about his lack of love for America and Americans; blasts that in this country we do nothing but ‘crawl’ to them and shouldn’t and for good measure adds that the Americans are glory hunters and personally he puts them on the same basis as the Russians.

Robin went on to tell me of his knowledge that “Britain is making her own nuclear warheads at a secret and very well guarded establishment near Bath

“They’re turning them out like mad,” he added “and MI5 are behind every tree”

He went on to tell me about his interest in early Britain’s development around 600AD: the sunken lost continent of Atlantis: how early Englishmen were divided into two types which later merged, roundheads and large heads – agent Harold Davison, he declared, was a roundhead – and then back to Americans and how they lack culture.

I like Robin

His mind is one great buzzing backcloth of ideas, and hopes, and dreams, sincere, if unconventional points of view.

But the talent is there. And the energy. And I think about it carefully when I say that one day I believe the fusion will take him well over the threshold of musical genius.

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