By John Coulston
Rock legend Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees graced the Tucker Theatre stage tonight plucking strings on his acoustic guitar and keeping his decades-old music alive.
“A couple years back, John [Merchant] asked me if I would do it, and I thought what a fantastic thing to be able do, but I didn’t know if I could do it. So I told him, let’s give it time, because I don’t really know how I’d deal with it or what I would do … I’m gonna tell people what influenced me the most, what to look for if you wanna write songs and give people some kind of idea how it worked for me,” Gibb told Sidelines in an exclusive interview.
The final recording industry chair speaker series event was reminiscent of a “This Is Your Life” segment with Beverly Keel, department of recording industry management chair.
She walked through Gibb’s career from its early beginnings to playing in back-alleys, through the Bee Gees’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He shared his memories with the audience, such as working with Otis Redding, meeting his wife Linda at a taping of “Top of the Pops” and writing “Islands in the Stream” with Kenny Rogers.
While retracing Gibb’s career was intriguing, the most fascinating moments of the interview came when Gibb shared the process behind the writing and recording of the Bee Gees’ greatest hits. Whether it was the power outage at their record label that inspired “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” or his daily drive to a Miami studio that inspired “Jive Talkin,” he showed that song writing inspiration can come from anything in the world.
After sharing these inspirations, Gibb took the opportunity to deliver acoustic renditions of tracks such as “Stayin’ Alive,” “Lonely Days” and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” These intimate performances helped make the event truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Gibb also took a moment to share his advice for up and coming songwriters saying, “[Have the] desire, don’t listen to anybody else, and I know it’s corny, but believe in yourself more than anyone else believes in you.”
After the interview, audience members had the opportunity to address Gibb, asking questions or letting him know the impact his music had on their lives.
“This is really a dream come true to see you,” one audience member said.
Community members and students walked out of Tucker Theatre tonight with an unforgettable experience. Gibb will leave campus tonight as the Center for Popular Music’s newest inaugural member.
The admiration was not only radiating from the audience, but it was reflected right back, with Gibb saying, “Your acceptance and love of the music is what makes me tick.”
Be sure to look for our exclusive interview with Barry Gibb in the Nov. 6 edition of Sidelines.