Posted by Glenna Marie Helton
SIMON MAYO: Out today is the Bee Gees album "Number
Ones." It's a Bee Gees album and it's full of number ones...
ROBIN GIBB: That's right!
SIMON MAYO: And that's pretty much it.
ROBIN GIBB: That's right Simon!
SIMON MAYO: Robin Gibb is here. How are you doing Robin?
ROBIN GIBB: I'm very well thanks, Simon.
SIMON MAYO: This is a great listen.This is pretty darn good. Actually I haven't heard that
one for ages.
ROBIN GIBB: Yes, I think a number 1's album is what it is. I think it's one of those
albums where you think it's better than the "best of," better than the
"greatest hits" : it's the number 1's.
SIMON MAYO: And you're defining Number Ones as a Bee Gees record of songs that got to
number 1. Is it in the UK and US?
ROBIN GIBB: Well basically UK and US. There're a lot of US number 1's on this album. I
don't think we would have done it if Mo hadn't died. It's a kind of memorial album to our
work with Maurice, as well as to our career.
SIMON MAYO: So is it a way of saying "that's it then"?
ROBIN GIBB: No, it's not at all. It's very much just a summary of what we've done as the
Bee Gees in terms of number 1's, pure and simple. I don't think it draws a line under
where me and Barry are going from here, because we're songwriters, we always were at home
in the recording studio. So there's plenty of work as far as writing and even ourselves
are concerned in the future. So even though Mo is not with us, I think there's very much a
place for me and Barry to go forward and be creative.
SIMON MAYO: It just won't be the Bee Gees?
ROBIN GIBB: It just won't be the Bee Gees... We're not even quite sure about that. That's
something that is ongoing for me and Barry. At the time it was a knee-jerk reaction when
Mo died rather than a practical reaction. I think as time has gone by, we've realized that
me and Barry, whatever we do, we'll always be the Bee Gees, whether we change it to Robin
and Barry Gibb, it's not quite the same. People will always look at us and say
"you're the Bee Gees." You can't really change the way people see you.
SIMON MAYO: What would Maurice have wanted? It's not something you would have discussed...
ROBIN GIBB: I think that if we got together and made an album together, Mo probably would
have wanted us to continue as the Bee Gees, although Barry at the moment is not quite sure
that's something we should do, and I'm kinda leaning towards agreeing with him, though a
lot of record companies would say "let's put it out as the Bee Gees." You've got
that as well so...
SIMON MAYO: When you sit down and listen to it, I don't know if when you were putting the
tracks together, there must have been some very strange feelings for you to be putting
them together as the two of you rather than three?
ROBIN GIBB: Yeah. It's something that we have got used to now, I mean, it's nearly 2 years
now since we lost Mo, and it's not a feeling where we think "oh, it's strange without
Mo," it's almost like we've accepted it and it's reality. It's sad. It has moments of
sadness where we think he's not around anymore. It's very easy when you look at the legacy
and the history of the Bee Gees that Maurice is very firmly in there and so that will
never go away, that's already written in stone and it's there, so it's easy from that
respect that he's part of that history, he's an integral part of it.
SIMON MAYO: There're 20 tracks on here, it does divide itself into phases, and certainly
the first 7 tracks go from Massachuetts to How can you mend a broken heart. Then all of a
sudden Jive Talkin appears. Now if someone had never heard a Bee Gees record before and
you said "sit down and listen to this" and they would say "hang on, between
track 7 and 8, what happened there?" There's an extraordinary jump.
ROBIN GIBB: Well, I think we've always been songwriters, and we've always experimented
with change, and if you look at different people who have written their own songs, from
say Elton John to Lennon and McCartney for the Beatles, you'll see that they always
experimented with a variety of styles. And we came from that sort of similiar school where
you just tried different kinds of music, and it was a period where you were influenced by
American R&B, which we were, and soul music, so it was quite normal for us to jump
from one style to another, and because we were writing for other people, we wrote
Heartbreaker for Dionne Warwick, Islands in the stream for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers,
Chain reaction for Diana Ross and Woman in love and Guilty for Barbara Streisand, so they
were artists with completely different styles of music, and to use that wasn't a
challenge, it was an adventure, because we thought "well let's make a record that we
think was right for them"
SIMON MAYO: But to get played on black radio stations is a phenomenal achievement, it
wouldn't happen now.
ROBIN GIBB: Yes, it wouldn't happen now, you're quite right. We were the only white
artists of that period to be played, apart from George Michael that got played later on
American black radio, and I think it was because certain aspects of the music, even today,
fit in with a certain type of music that has a feel of black radio; that's perfect even
today because a lot of black artists today in America are influenced by that music because
we were so heavily influenced by it at the time where other white artists were not.
SIMON MAYO: And do you still want a number 1 single? Is that still your desire? As the
music industry changes, do you think "that was good, that was fine, now let's move on
and do something else"?
ROBIN GIBB: I don't think there is an artist who doesn't like having a number 1 single. I
think it's not a money thing, it's a prestige thing, and it's part of what you do, it's
always an exciting thing to get a number 1 single or a number 1 album.
SIMON MAYO: There was talk of a tribute concert for Maurice. Is that still going to
ROBIN GIBB: Well, that's only going to happen with Barry and myself. We're going to be the
ones who do that in the future. Right now, it's on hold because Barry wants to be part and
parcel of putting that on.
SIMON MAYO: Because there was talk of people like Justin Timberlake and such.
ROBIN GIBB: That's right. All the acts are still in place, but it's going to be done from
Barry's side, and he wants to be in charge of that and I'm quite happy to let that happen.
SIMON MAYO: We were just having an argument in fact on what track to play, because we
could just put the needle on any track, if indeed there was a needle...
ROBIN GIBB: If there was a needle, Simon!
SIMON MAYO: If there was a needle! So I could press a couple of buttons and put on any
track, do you want to choose one?
ROBIN GIBB: How deep is your love? or Tragedy? or You win again?
SIMON MAYO: Oh, you're not helping at all!
ROBIN GIBB: You win again!
SIMON MAYO: Ok, what are your memories of this and where it came from at the time?
ROBIN GIBB: I think we got this idea in my bedroom, in my house. Me and Barry were in the
bedroom in the house and we had a memo-cord and we just blurted it out on the recorder and
played it back, it had no music. I remember Barry saying that it was very Whamish, and I
said "Yes, and that can't be bad, let's do it"
SIMON MAYO: Can I just hold you on that?
ROBIN GIBB: Yes.
SIMON MAYO: Lots of great music has been composed in bedrooms, they're usually students,
people starting off. What on earth are you doing composing music in your bedrooms again??
ROBIN GIBB: Well, it's just a very pleasant atmosphere Simon! I mean you can't beat the
SIMON MAYO: Is that right??
ROBIN GIBB: Everything happens in the bedroom!
SIMON MAYO: OK, we'll play it, and I hadn't actually thought it was Whamish before until
ROBIN GIBB: Well, it was on the memo-cord, but it is not as Whamish now.
SIMON MAYO: Well, it's still a great track...
ROBIN GIBB: And a Bee Gees track!
SIMON MAYO: It's one of 20 on the Bee Gees Number Ones. Robin, always good to talk to you,
thanks for coming in.
ROBIN GIBB: Thanks Simon.