SCREAMS, SQUEALS WELCOME BEE GEES
(Robert Windeler, New York Times, January 29, 1968)

Posted by VallyVal

Coast teen-agers turn out for pop group's US bow

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The screamers and squealers among American teen-agers once again had something to scream about: the Bee Gees gave their first American concerts here last night.

Pop music groups are back in a big way in Britain and the Bee Gees are now leading in popularity there. They are considered the most exciting British export in the field since the Beatles. In their two concerts last night (backed by a 30-piece orchestra) they sang simple but subtle songs, all self-written. Their sound is uncomplicated and, with 23 strings, a harp and six horns, even sweet.

Their first hit, a year ago, "New York mining disaster 1941," the plaintive cry of a man trapped by any tragedy not of his own making: "Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones? Do you know what it's like on the outside?"

In their latest record, "Massachusetts," the Bee Gees are extolling the beauty of staying, or going back to wherever it is one came from. In point of fact none of the five members of the group has ever been to Massachusetts, but it represented to them the opposite extreme of San Francisco and the hippie scene, which they deplore.

'Reality against fantasy'

There are no sound effects in their music. They take no drugs, drink no alcohol and smoke no cigarettes. The title of their second album, out this week, is a plea for what the Bee Gees describe as "reality against fantasy" and a rejection of psychedelia: "Horizontal."

The Bee Gees have at their center three Brothers Gibb (hence the name): Barry, 21 years old, and twins Robin and Maurice, 19. They started as a baby brothers act in 1956, singing Bill Haley and his Comets music, in their native Manchester, England. They moved to Brisbane, Australia, in 1958 and sang there for nine unsuccessful years.

"We were kids and kids don't like kids' records," Barry explains. "Now it's sex appeal. We're old enough to have kids be attracted to us."

A year ago, in England, the group was joined by Colin Peterson, who plays drums, and Vince Melouney, a bass guitarist, both 22. The brothers alternate on guitar and piano.

Robin and Barry write all the material, with the assistance of Maurice, who arranges and expands the melodies. The brothers write together or apart, always with speed: "From 10 to 15 minutes -words and music," Barry estimates. "We go into a recording session with no songs and write in the studio."

Fee matches Beatles's

Robin and Barry recently wrote a song called "World," which they had always wanted to do. They each wrote separately versions in five minutes and combined them, one version becoming the chorus, the other the verse.

Despite a string of No.1 records in both Britain and the United States, the Bee Gees and their manager, Robert Stigwood, deliberately try to create a demand for live concert appearances - and to increase the volume of screaming when they do appear.

The choice of Anaheim's Convention Center for their first American concerts ( at 6 PM and 9.30 PM) was calculated. The group had had four No 1 hits in a row in Los Angeles.

For the two concerts (they were on for 45 minutes in each) the Bee Gees made $25,000, the same fee the Beatles received when they first played the Hollywood Bowl.

The Bee Gees acknowledge a certain debt to the Beatles, but are scornful of their present activities.

Back to List of Articles

1