Anniversary of Maurice Gibb's Death

01/12/2011
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(Gibson) In the Bee Gees, Maurice Gibb was always known as "the quiet one." But it was his death, on this day in 2003, that silenced one of the most enduring and popular groups in music history. Although surviving brothers Barry and Robin Gibb have occasionally reunited since to perform together, most would agree that the Bee Gees will never be the same without Maurice.

Maurice was born on December 22, 1949 and was the fourth of five Gibb children, but only just barely. His twin brother Robin was born 35 minutes before him. Maurice (pronounced "Morris") grew up in England in the '50s, until the family moved to Brisbane, Australia in 1958 just after the birth of youngest brother Andy. As a kid, Maurice, along with older brother Barry and twin brother Robin, began singing to make a little extra money. The trio first called themselves the Rattlesnakes and then Wee Johnny Hayes & the Bluecats. They were introduced to a radio DJ, Bill Gates, by Bill Goode, a racetrack promoter who had seen the boys perform at Brisbane's Speedway Circuit. Gates renamed the group the Bee Gees after his and Goode's initials (and not the Brothers Gibb, as some once thought).

The trio did pretty well for themselves in the early '60s in Australia, with the oldest brother Barry getting plenty of attention for his songwriting skills (hence the title of their 1965 debut LP, The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs). The year after their debut, the boys decided to move back to the U.K. In advance of their arrival, their father had sent demos to Beatles manager Brian Epstein. He, in turn, passed them along to Robert Stigwood, who helped orchestrate a five-year contract with Polydor Records in England and ATCO Records in the U.S. more on this story

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