BEE GEE MAURICE PLAYS
(Richard Green, New Musical Express, June 21, 1969)
Transcript by Chis
Below the bustle
of Mayfair's elegant Brook Street is a large, well-furnished virtually soundproof room
where, practically every day, two of today's most profilic young composers sit playing a
grand piano and guitar. It was into this sacred inner sanctum that I was invited to meet
one half of the duo - Maurice Gibb.
Maurice was still at lunch when I arrived, so I took a look around at the expensive tape
machine, record player and other electrical equipment. A large executive desk, a sofa, a
few chairs and a cocktail cabinet were the only other pieces of furniture. A comfortable
carpet covered the vast expanse of floor.
Maurice arrived, full of enthusiasm about the telephone in his friend's Lamborghini, but
bemoaning the fact that he would have to wait up to eighteen months for a similar device
to be fitted in his recently acquired Rolls Royce.
"The car was written off after the accident," said Maurice, referring to the
recent crash near his home where noses were broken, much blood was spattered about and
Lulu passed out when she saw the result. "The chasis was bent, so they wrote it off,
now I suppose they're spending twice as much as it was worth putting it right. Roll's just
don't get written off."
Maurice spoke about his Pyrennean mountain dog, similar to Barry's, called Aston which
consumes two steaks a day. It cost £30 as a pup, has grown out of all proportion and is
currently away at kennels being trained where not to leave its puddles.
On the subject of the Bee Gee's new single 'Tomorrow, tomorrow,' Maurice told me: "I
don't think it's us, but I quite like it. We've got another one that we'll put straight
out if it doesn't make it."
The new one was recorded last week and features a well-known girl singer with the Brothers
Gibb and Colin. This the first time an outsider has sung on a Bee Gee single.
Maurice played a tape of the song ('Bury me down by the river') which is so unlike the Bee
Gees' normal style - no tears and heartbreaking strings, but an up-tempo gospel-type
"That's the sort of thing we're doing more of now," Maurice revealed.
"Since Robin left, we're working like that" (he held up the first two fingers of
his left hand pressed close together).
"Barry and I are a lot closer. we're working much more together. We're having a ball,
we can bring anyone we like in to things."
"We know we don't want to split up... maybe Colin will want to leave sometime in the
future, but we all have different things we're involved in - Colin and Joanne have an
agency and Barry and I have production companies- but at the moment we're all happy with
the way things are."
Robin's departure and future was a necessary topic for discussion and as we sat with our
Bacardis and Coke, Maurice commented: "The controversy hasn't harmed us. I hope his
single is a hit. I wouldn't stop it. I read somewhere that I was supposed to be against
it, but I wouldn't do that, he's my brother. I wish him luck and I hope it's a hit."
More in limelight
Maurice has found himself being pushed much further into the centre of things in the past
few weeks and explained: "I did the majority of the backings anyway, even when Robin
was with us, but there's more work for me now. It's bringing me out more - I do six leads
on the next album, before I think I only sang three all told.
"I write soft and Barry keeps telling me to write harder music. I'm progressing more
to the arranging side and Barry is getting more ideas song-wise, he's freer with his
"Backing wise we haven't progressed, orchestra-wise we have. Everyone progresses,
look at the Beatles' things like 'If I fell' and 'And I love her,' they won't write songs
like that again."
As we were talking, the two phones on the desk kept ringing and Maurice broke off to take
notes from the caller. He seemed to be conducting his affairs in a very
business-like maner, taking care to put everything in its place.
"Barry leaves notes about like this," smiled Maurice, indicating a scrap of
paper on the desk. "He wants me to write some stuff for 'Cucumber Castle' the
With another album imminent, there is yet another of Bee Gees oldies "for people who
like that sort of thing."
"I still think Bee Gees First is our best album," Maurice said. "In those
days we were very ambitious and on cloud nine all the time. There must be at least a
hundred songs at IBC we've done nothing with.
"We always keep the public in mind when we do a record, we'll never progress from
melody. Nobody knows what commerciality is, if people can whistle a melody and keep it
going through their minds, that's enough."
How about a replacement for Robin?
"We've only seen two people," Maurice replied, adding, with a touch of cynicism,
"We're getting tapes from Wapping and Nottingham and Stoke and all over, but... we
want to get someone who can sing nice, we can take care of the hair and the clothes and
"At the moment, we'll go on as a three-piece and if we find someone suitable to take
Robin's place, we'll take him in. We're not looking for a copy of Robin, though."
Eventually Lulu crept into the conversation and it was like listening to an old-fashioned
love story the way Maurice talked intimately about their courtship and marriage.
"Lu's brother Billy is getting some good songs written, he's written songs about Lulu
and I and I'm producing some of them." Maurice later pointed out, "I'm Capricorn
and Lu's Scorpio, they're supposed to be the two most compatible signs, and we do get on
well though we have completely opposite ideas about things."
I left Maurice to work alone, Barry being laid up with a cold, and wait for another call
from his missus - an almost hourly event. All seems to be peaceful and content with the
Bee Gees at the moment, let's hope it stays that way.
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