Maurice Gibb

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Maurice Gibb
Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees) - TopPop 1973.png
Maurice Gibb performing on AVRO's TopPop (a Dutch television show) in 1973
Background information
Birth name Maurice Ernest Gibb
Also known as Mo,1 The Quiet One2
Born (1949-12-22)22 December 1949
Douglas, Isle of Man
Origin Manchester, Lancashire, England3
Died 12 January 2003(2003-01-12) (aged 53)
Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Genres Rock, pop, blues rock, progressive rock, soft rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, piano, organ, harpsichord, mellotron, keyboard, harmonica, mandolin, drums
Years active 1955–2003
Labels Polydor, Atco, Spin, Beacon, Pye, Capitol, RCA, Audiotrax
Associated acts The Rattlesnakes, Bee Gees, the Fut, Tin Tin, the Bloomfields, Lulu4
Notable instruments

Maurice Ernest Gibb, CBE (/ˈmɔrɪs/ (22 December 1949 – 12 January 2003) was a musician, singer and songwriter who achieved international fame as the bassist, guitarist5 and keyboardist of the Bee Gees. Although his brothers Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb were the band's primary lead vocalists, most of the groups albums included at least one or two Maurice Gibb compositions, including "Lay It on Me", "Country Woman" and "On Time". The Bee Gees were one of the most successful rock/pop groups ever.6

Born in Isle of Man, he started his music career in 1955 in Manchester, England, joining the skiffle/rock and roll group the Rattlesnakes3 that later evolved into the Bee Gees in 1958 when they moved to Australia.7 They returned to England where they achieved worldwide fame. In 2002, the Bee Gees were appointed as CBEs for their "contribution to music", and followiing his death in 2003, Maurice's son collected his award at Buckingham Palace in 2004.8

Gibb's earliest musical influences included The Everly Brothers, Cliff Richard and Paul Anka; The Mills Brothers and the Beatles were significant later influences.9 By 1964 he begun his career as an instrumentalist playing guitar on "Claustrophobia". After the band's break-up in 1969, Gibb released his first solo single "Railroad" but his first solo album The Loner has never been released.

1949-57: early years

Born in Douglas, Isle of Man10 on 22 December 1949. His parents are Hugh and Barbara Gibb, he is the fraternal twin of Robin Gibb as was the younger of the two by 35 minutes. At that time, he has one sister Lesley and one brother Barry. In January 1955, the Gibbs moved back to Manchester, England, UK, when he was 5 years old. Around 1955, Gibb with his brothers heard by their parents doing harmonizing.

Also in 1955, he started his music career when he joined the skiffle/rock and roll group the Rattlesnakes with his brothers and two friends Paul Frost and Kenny Horrocks which was their neighbors. The group's first major appearance was on 28 December 1957 when they performed live at a local Gaumont cinema where children were invited to sing between films. They had planned to sing along to a 78rpm record Lesley had just got as a Christmas present, but on the way Gibb or Robin dropped and broke it, so they sang live. The song may have been "Wake Up Little Susie" by the Everly Brothers, in the end, the audience were happy with the performance.113

1958-2003: the Bee Gees

On 5 March 1958, the youngest Gibb children, Andrew Roy Gibb was born. By May 1958, the Gibbs moved in Northern Grove as Horrocks and Frost left the band.The band name was changed to Wee Johnny Hayes and the Blue Cats. Later in August, the Gibbs emigrated to Australia settling in Redcliffe, near Brisbane, Queensland. After a numerous group named changes finally the name was evolved into the Bee Gees. By January 1963 the Gibbs moved to Sydney. The group's first single "The Battle of the Blue and the Grey" but was not charted. Around 1963, the Gibb brothers has worked with Judy Stone, Johnny Devlin and Jimmy Hannan. By 1964, he made his first appearance as an instrumentalist on the beat-influenced "Claustrophobia". Also in 1964, the Gibb brothers has worked with Johnny Devlin and Trevor Gordon.12 Around 1965, the Gibb brothers has worked with Trevor Gordon, Michelle Rae and Noeleen Batley.13 By 1966 the first song that was written by the three Gibb brothers was "The Storm", also in 1966, Gibb began his career as the lead guitarist as well as bassist for the band, around the same time, he first recorded his first solo composition "All by Myself" the guitars were played him. Around 1966, the Gibb brothers was worked with Bip Addison, Sandy Summers, Anne Shelton, Vince Maloney, April Bryon, MPD Ltd, Ray Brown and the Whispers, Ronnie Burns, Lori Balmer, Marty Rhone, Vyt, Phyton Lee Jackson, Dennis Knight, Barrington Davis, Jenene and Jon Blanchfield. Their second album, Spicks and Specks (1966), included "Where Are You", Gibb's first solo writing credit which was released.5

By March 1967 the Gibb brothers was worked with Billy J. Kramer recording "Town of Tuxley Toymaker, Part 1". Around the same time, Colin Petersen and Vince Melouney joined the Bee Gees. In the middle of 1967 Bee Gees' 1st was released. The album was praised by the critics and was comparing to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band which was released weeks earlier.14 Allmusic's Bruce Eder described Gibb's mellotron on "Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You" 'was close in the spirit of the Moody Blues and opening by a Gregorian chant.'15 The band's first number 1 single in the UK, "Massachusetts" released in 1967. By early 1968, Horizontal was released. In August 1968 the Marbles released their first and only successful hit "Only One Woman" a song which co-written by Gibb. In the middle of 1968, the band's third international LP Idea included the song "Kitty Can" features Gibb's high harmony vocal with Barry Gibb singing low harmony.16 In early 1969 Odessa which features Gibb's solo vocals on "Suddenly" and "I Laugh in Your Face". By 1 December 1969, Gibb and brother Barry announced that the Bee Gees had broke up.17 In September 1986, the Bee Gees began writing and recording songs for their upcoming album E.S.P..18

The Bee Gees released their 23rd album, This Is Where I Came In included his compositions, "Walking on Air" and "Man in the Middle".

Solo work and outside projects

Around 1969, Gibb was worked with his next-door neighbor Beatle Ringo Starr the result was the track "Modulating Maurice" but was not released. In March 19, 1969 the same day that Robin Gibb announced his plans as a solo artist, Gibb and his bandmates recorded and later released "Tomorrow Tomorrow". Gibb played piano on the track "Saved by the Bell" as well as bass on "Mother and Jack" both songs performed by Robin Gibb for his first solo album.19 In April 1970 he released his first solo single "Railroad" backed by "I've Come Back". His debut solo album The Loner has not yet released until this day. All of the songs in the album features a guitar work by Stone the Crows' Leslie Harvey. In May 1970 Sing a Rude Song album was released in UK, Maurice sings lead vocals on the three songs on the album. Around 1970, Gibb played piano on George Harrison's song "Isn't It a Pity" and Genesis' Phil Collins remembers him being present when he played on that song. Also in 1970, he formed a supergroup The Bloomfields with Billy Lawrie and Heads, Hands & Feet member Johnny Harris, and they recorded a short version of "The Loner", which was released as a single in 1972 and intended for the film Bloomfield20 In 1971, he produced Lulu's 1971 song "Everybody Clap" consist of Gibb on guitar, Leslie Harvey on guitar, former Manfred Mann and Cream member Jack Bruce on bass, and Led Zeppelin's John Bonham on drums. Also in that year, he played bass on Billy Lawrie's 1973 song "Freedom". Wings' Jimmy McCulloch played guitar on that song, and he suggest that it was recorded during the same time as "Everybody Clap". with Stone the Crows' Maggie Bell provided backing vocals on that song.21 On 17 January 1972, Gibb produced with Billy Lawrie, "Baby Come On Home" and "(Have You Seen My) Angelina", released as a single also in that year. In April 1972, Gibb produced Jimmy Stevens' album Don't Freak Me Out called Paid My Dues in US. Also in 1972, Gibb produced Drift Away, an album released by Bob Saker and Mike Berry, it features a cover version of "On Time", Gibb's composition from 1971, and was originally used as the B-side of "My World".22 In 1973, Gibb produced and play bass on Jimmy Stevens' songs "Maggie May", "Fiddler's Tramp", "Tennessee", "Sinner", "Yoko", "She Put Love In My Soul", with Bee Gees guitarist Alan Kendall and Jimmy McCulloch on guitar, Pete Willsher on acoustic guitar, Zoot Money on keyboards, Paul Jones on harmonica and others. In August 1973, Gibb participated on Andy Gibb's first recording session performing "Windows of My World" and "My Father's a Rebel".23 In 1981, he recorded some instrumental tracks for his unreleased instrumental album Strings and Things. In 1978, Gibb produced with Steve Klein Osmonds' album Steppin' Out, a cover version of "Rest Your Love on Me", was originally recorded by the Bee Gees on Children of the World sessions in 1976, but it was used in 1978 as the B-side of "Too Much Heaven". Also in 1978, Gibb composed "The Love That Was Lost", with Blue Weaver on keyboard and was arranged by Mike Lewis, who also arranged for the disco group KC and the Sunshine Band.24 In 1980, Gibb co-wrote with Tim Rice "Last Affair of the Heart", which was recorded by Elaine Paige in AIR Studios in London along with "Secrets" and "Carried Away".25 In 1982, Gibb participated with Barry recording the song "Eyes That See in the Dark", the first song was originally intended to Kenny Rogers for his album of the same name. In August 1982, Gibb recorded and wrote "Spirit of the Snow", and was originally intended for the film A Christmas Carol. Gibb worked with Robin on the album How Old Are You?, which was released in 1983. In 1984, Gibb also worked with Robin on his fourth solo album Secret Agent. Gibb co-wrote "Shine, Shine" and "The Hunter", both songs were released on Barry's second solo album Now Voyager in 1984.26

In 1985, Gibb produced Robin's fifth LP Walls Have Eyes with Tom Dowd. In 1985, Gibb sings background vocals on Larry Gatlin's songs "Indian Summer", which was released on Gatlin's album Smile with Gatlin and Roy Orbison on lead vocals, another track "Didn't We Call It (Falling in Love)" was not released.27 In 1986, Gibb produced Carola's album Runaway. Also in 1986, Gibb participated on The Bunbury songs "Up the Revolution", "Fight (No Matter How Long)", "Bunbury Afternoon" and "Seasons". In September 1986, the Bee Gees began writing and recording songs for their upcoming album E.S.P..28


Gibb died unexpectedly at the age of 53, at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida on 12 January 2003 of a cardiac arrest, while waiting to undergo surgery for a twisted intestine, with his wife, children, and brothers at his side.29 After his funeral service, he was cremated. His brothers Barry and Robin ceased performing as a group for a time,30 but later decided to perform occasionally under the Bee Gees banner 31 before twin brother Robin died of liver and kidney failure on 20 May 2012.32 Barry and Robin Gibb told the BBC about Maurice's death, ""The fact that they had to operate on Maurice during the shock of cardiac arrest is questionable". Barry said "None of the sequence of events have yet made sense to us."33 Robin Gibb told the Mojo magazine about the death of Maurice in 2003, "We were kids together, and teenagers. We spent the whole of our lives with each other because of our music. I can't accept that he's dead. I just imagine he's alive somewhere else."34


Jagged Edge and Paul McCartney recorded "Too Much Heaven" in 2004.35 Wyclef Jean recorded "Jive Talkin'" in 2005 and Sheryl Crow recorded "To Love Somebody" in 2005 as a tribute for him.36 A tribute to Maurice entitled Souls Stick Around: A Tale of the Black Hills and Maurice Gibb, was published as an eBook on in March 2012 by Bee Gees fan and author, Dawnette Owens. A recording studio at Chorlton High School, one of the schools the brothers attended, commemorates Maurice Gibb.37


Maurice Gibb's role in the group focused on melody and arrangements. He provided harmony and backing vocals, and played a variety of instruments. Very early on in 1965 and 1966 he played lead guitar, but as early as 1966 he was playing other keyboards and strings in the studio. Bee Gees records from 1967 to 1972 are dominated by Maurice playing bass and piano, along with Mellotron ("Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You" and "Kilburn Towers"), rhythm guitar (along with Barry), and other parts. The piano on songs like "Words" and "Lonely Days" is Maurice Gibb sound. On stage he usually played bass guitar, with an additional musician taking bass when Maurice switched to piano. Maurice was less influential in the disco Bee Gees sound of 1975 to 1979, when he played primarily bass.38 After that time for the last 20 years of his life he played primarily keyboards on stage and in the studio, but occasionally lead guitar (including the acoustic guitar given to him by John Lennon, which Maurice used on "This Is Where I Came In", 2001).39 In the reunited Bee Gees from 1987 onward, Maurice was the group's resident expert on all technical phases of recording, and he coordinated musicians and engineers to create much of the group's sound.

As a songwriter, Gibb contributed primarily to melody, with his brothers writing the lyrics that they would sing on the finished song (for the most part). It is difficult to identify his contributions because the songs were so shaped to the singer, but his brothers' continued writing collaboration with him on solo projects shows how much they relied on him. Maurice sang lead on average one song per album. He was sometimes known as "the quiet one" for his less obvious contributions to the group, but privately he was a good teller of stories who immensely enjoyed talking with fans. His reputation as a mild-mannered, stabilizing influence with two very ambitious brothers continued through his life.40 His comic personality shone on stage during Bee Gees concerts when the brothers would perform an acoustic medley. Many times during the song "Holiday", Maurice would mock Robin while he was singing or pretend he was bored (Maurice did not sing on the original record).

Personal life

Gibb said he had "battled the booze" since the seventies. John Lennon introduced him to his favourite drink, whisky and coke:41 "If he had given me cyanide, I would have drunk the cyanide, I was so in awe of the man."42 With his neighbour Ringo Starr he would go out drinking. It got to the point where he became unreliable and prior to going onstage would have to feel his way along the wall to get there, according to Barry.42 One factor in Maurice's recovery was the active intervention of his brothers, who had recently lost youngest brother Andy. In an interview, Maurice acknowledged that his final years of alcohol abuse had been driven by his failure to reach Andy before his death, and his subsequent guilt. After rehab Maurice started to rediscover his family again, spending quality time with them. To celebrate this, he and Yvonne renewed their wedding vows in 1992. The ceremony was attended not only by many members of their families but many of the friends Gibb made whilst at the rehabilitation centre.42

Personal relationships

Gibb met Lulu through Colin Petersen. Lulu recalls about Maurice, "I thought Maurice was cute, so I said, In that case, tell him to stop talking about me and take me out, He did just that, I never expected much to come from this, but in fact our relationship grew, after a fashion, Going steady is quite the wrong way to describe what was happening between us. Going unsteady might better sum up the way we fell in and out with each other". According to Lulu that She, Maurice and Robert Stigwood watches Pink Floyd at the Saville Theatre. Later, his relationship with Lulu had become public knowledge as he said: "Lulu and I met on the Top of the Pops TV show three months ago, and then at the Saville Theatre in London last month".3 Later in 1968, Lulu was seen out on the town with Davy Jones of The Monkees, Jones was also a friend of Maurice as Gibb recalls, "Davy Jones was a good friend of mine, I broke it off with Lulu over the phone and Davy called me up and said 'I am going to ask Lu to dinner with some friends, is that all right?' I said, 'Yes, I am not going out with her any more, have a ball' and threw the phone down. They then took so many photos of them and made it look like a six-month romance, but she had only been out with him that one night, she did not even want to go out. She phoned me the next day and she was crying, saying she was sorry". Maurice later regretted not accepting her apology, "We just grew up, that's all," Maurice admitted. "We were miserable apart and when we started going out again, it got so that I didn't want to be with anyone. I used to phone her up from Los Angeles about twice a day. Then she'd call me back. We used to make about 90 minute calls". And on the same year, Gibb was seen around town with a Hungarian singer Sarolta Zalatnay, but he later insisted: "I'm not a Casanova and it's all most unfortunate. I've never been publicised to be available. Because of the stories of my affairs with Lulu and Sarolta, the fans feel, 'Oh, we won't bother about Maurice because he's always got a steady girl'. Gibb recalled the first meeting with his future-in-laws, "I went up to Glasgow to meet Lu's parents, and I was told that Billy, who is younger than Lu, would be at the station to meet me. I got off the train and was walking along the platform when I saw him. I didn't need to speak, I knew it was Billy and I went up to him and said, 'You're Billy, aren't you?', he said, 'You must be Maurice' and we had met".3 The couple married in 18 February 1969 and divorced in 1973.43 Their careers and his heavy drinking forced them apart and they divorced, childless, in 1973.44 Gibb later stated they both drank: "We didn't have any responsibilities, we'd just party." 42

He married his second wife, Yvonne Spenceley Gibb, on 17 October 1975. They had two children, and their marriage lasted until his death. Maurice's alcoholic nadir came in 1991, when he pulled a gun on his wife and kids after a month long bender.42 She left him and immediately went over to brother Barry's house, refusing to come back until he had done something about his drinking. Maurice went into rehab, calling Yvonne telling her he was going to stay because he really wanted to stop drinking. She said that was the call she had been waiting for.42


Studio albums
Year Album details UK US
1970 The Loner
1981 Strings and Things
  • Released: Unreleased
  • Label: Unknown
Year Album details UK US
1970 A Breed Apart
Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
UK US Malaysia Singapore
1970 "Railroad" 6 9 The Loner
1984 "Hold Her in Your Hand" A Breed Apart (soundtrack)
"—" denotes releases did not chart


  1. ^ Maurice Gibb - Biography at IMDb
  2. ^ "The Quiet Bee Gee". Legacy. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Hughes, Andrew. The Bee Gees - Tales Of The Brothers Gibb. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Maurice Gibb Biography". All Music. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1966". Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Bee Gees biography". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. 1997. Archived from the original on 2011-06-28. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  7. ^ OMalley, Brendon (11 January 2009). "Bee Gees real Brisbane music pioneers". Courier Mail. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  8. ^ 'Bitter-sweet' trip to palace for Bee Gees. Telegraph. Retrieved 13 February 2014
  9. ^ "The Bee Gees Influences". Shmoop. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Story About the Bee Gees / Part 1: 1940-1950". Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs:1946-1962". Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1964". Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1965". Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1967". Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Bee Gees - Bee Gees' 1st". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  16. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1968". Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  17. ^ Sandoval, Andrew (2012). The Day-By-Day Story, 1945–1972 (Paperback) (1st ed.). Retrofuture Day-By-Day. pp. 102–115. ISBN 978-0-943249-08-7. 
  18. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1986". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  19. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1969". Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  20. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1970". Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  21. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1971". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  22. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1972". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  23. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1973". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  24. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1978". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  25. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1980". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  26. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1984". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  27. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1985". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  28. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1986". Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  29. ^ CandiottI, Susan (16 January 2003). "Gibb autopsy cites twisted intestine". CNN. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  30. ^ D'Angelo, Joe. "Bee Gees Name To Be Retired, Robin Gibb Says". MTV. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  31. ^ Michaels, Sean (8 September 2009). "Bee Gees to re-form for live comeback". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  32. ^ "Gibb died from kidney, liver failure". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  33. ^ "Bee Gees raise questions over death of Maurice". Dailymail. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  34. ^ "Robin Gibb, 1949 - 2012". Mojo. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  35. ^ Joseph Brennan. "Gibb Songs: 2004". 
  36. ^ Joseph Brennan. "Gibb Songs: 2005". 
  37. ^ "Bee Gees go back to their roots". BBC News. 12 May 2004. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  38. ^ David Leaf, "Bee Gees" / The Authorized Biography", 1979.
  39. ^ Album credits.
  40. ^ Melinda, Bilyeu, Hector Cook, Andrew Mon Hughes, The Bee Gees / Tales of the Brothers Gibb. London: Omnibus, 2001.
  41. ^ "Interview With the Bee Gees". CNN. 2 February 2002. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  42. ^ a b c d e f Woman's Day Australia, 3 October 1992. "Maurice Gibb: Demon Drink", page 8.
  43. ^ Marion Adriaensen (1966-11-25). "History Part 4". Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
  44. ^ "Maurice Gibb – Obituaries, News". The Independent. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 

External links

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