Band: The BeeGees
Maurice Gibb died at the age of fifty-three at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida,U.S.A. on 12th January 2003, due to the complications of a twisted intestine. His wife, children, and brothers were at his side. Maurice's funeral service was attended by Michael Jackson and Maurice's ex-wife Lulu.
Maurice's brothers Barry and Robin did not perform as a group for a period, but later decided to perform occasionally under the Bee Gees banner untill twin brother Robin also died.
Maurice Ernest Gibb was born in Douglas, Isle of Man, on 22 December 1949, the son of Hugh Gibb, a drummer, and his wife Barbara. He was the fraternal twin of Robin Gibb, and was the younger of the two by 35 minutes. At that time, he had one sister, Lesley, and one other brother, Barry.
In January 1955, the Gibbs moved back to Manchester, England. During that year Maurice Gibb and his brothers were heard harmonising by their parents. Also in 1955, Maurice 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, who were their neighbours. The group's first major appearance was on 28th December 1957 when they performed at a local Gaumont cinema where children were invited to sing between films. They had planned to sing along to a 78 rpm record which Lesley had just been given as a Christmas present, but on the way Maurice and his brother Robin dropped and broke it, so they sang acappella The audience were pleased by their singing.
When he was eight years old, Maurice Gibb emigrated to Redcliffe, in Queensland, Australia, with his family. Shortly after, he and his brothers formed the Bee Gees. By January 1963 the Gibbs moved to Sydney. The group's first single was "The Battle of the Blue and the Grey" but it failed to chart. Around 1963, the Gibb brothers worked with Judy Stone, Johnny Devlin and Jimmy Hannan. By 1964, Maurice Gibb made his first appearance as an instrumentalist on the beat-influenced "Claustrophobia". Also in 1964, the Gibb brothers worked with Johnny Devlin and Trevor Gordon. In around 1965, the Gibb brothers worked with Trevor Gordon, Michelle Rae and Noeleen Batley. In 1966 the three Gibb brothers wrote their first song, "The Storm". Also in 1966, Maurice began his career as the lead guitarist and bassist for the band; around the same time, he recorded his first solo composition, "All by Myself", on which he also played guitar. Their second album, Spicks and Specks , included "Where Are You", Maurice Gibb's first solo writing credit to be released.
In March 1967 the Gibb brothers worked with Billy J. Kramer recording "Town of Tuxley Toymaker, Part 1". At 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 who compared it to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band which had been released only weeks earlier. AllMusic's Bruce Eder wrote that Maurice Gibb's Mellotron on "Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You" 'was close in the spirit of The Moody Blues and was opened by a Gregorian chant.' The band's first number 1 single in the UK, "Massachusetts" was released in September 1967. In August 1968 the Marbles released their first and only successful hit "Only One Woman" a song co-written by Maurice. In early 1969, they released Odessa, which features Maurice's solo vocals on "Suddenly" and "I Laugh in Your Face". On 19th March 1969, the same day that Robin Gibb announced his plans as a solo artist, Maurice Gibb and his bandmates recorded and later released "Tomorrow Tomorrow".
Maurice and Barry alone comprised the Bee Gees on the 1969 album Cucumber Castle during Robin's absence as a soloist. They sang the hit "Don't Forget to Remember", which reached number two on the UK chart and follow up singles; "IOIO" and "Tomorrow, Tomorrow" with Barry taking lead and Maurice providing harmony vocals. On 1st December 1969, Maurice and brother Barry announced to the world that the Bee Gees had broken up.
In April 1970 Maurice Gibb released his first solo single, "Railroad" backed with "I've Come Back". His debut solo album, The Loner, had yet to be released. All of the songs on the album feature guitar work by Stone the Crows' Leslie Harvey. In May 1970 the album Sing a Rude Song was released in the UK with Maurice Gibb singing lead vocals on the three songs on the album. By 1976, New Blood Records issued Bee Gees Information which was credited to Maurice Gibb himself and features four songs from The Loner, but was only a limited edition for fan club, although the EP has no title but the picture sleeve of that has the club name ("Bee Gees Information") in large letters. In 1970, Maurice formed a supergroup The Bloomfields with Billy Lawrie and they recorded a short version of "The Loner", which was released as a single in 1972 on Pye Records.
The Bee Gees reunited in August 1970. Maurice later began taking a few lead vocals on a Bee Gees tracks in the 70s such as "Lay It on Me", "Country Woman", "On Time" and "You Know It's For You".
In 1981, Maurice recorded some instrumental tracks for his unreleased instrumental album Strings and Things, including "Image of Samantha", which seems refer to his daughter Samantha.
In 1982, Maurice appeared at the San Remo Festival and performed "Wildflower", a Bee Gees' song on which he provided lead vocals from Living Eyes. In 1983, Maurice Gibb re-recorded "On Time" at the same time as "Hold Her in Your Hand". By February 1984, he collaborated with arranger Jimmie Haskell for the film soundtrack of A Breed Apart, recorded at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles. By March, he recorded "Miami, A Musical Score", this song was later used for a promotional film in Miami. His second single "Hold Her in Your Hand" was only issued in UK, Australia and South Africa. In September 1986, the Bee Gees began writing and recording songs for their upcoming album ESP. on which Maurice took lead vocal on the song "Overnight".
Maurice Gibb composed and recorded the instrumental "The Supernaturals" in July 1985, it was later dubbed on the film of the same name, he also appeared on the film doing a cameo appearance. On 24th April 2001, The Bee Gees released their 23rd and final studio album, This Is Where I Came In, which included his compositions, "Walking on Air" and "Man in the Middle".
From 1967 to 1979, Maurice played bass guitar both studio and live. On live performances of the group, an additional musician is taking the bass part when Maurice switched to piano. He was less influential in the Bee Gees' disco sound of 1975 to 1979, when he primarily played bass. Maurice Gibb played Mellotron on several Bee Gees songs, most notably "Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You" and "Kilburn Towers" The piano on songs like "Words", "First of May" and "Lonely Days" is Maurice's. He played the Moog synthesizer on the song "Sweet Song of Summer" . Since 1987, he played keyboards on most of the songs in the group's performances, but still played bass or guitar occasionally.
Maurice Gibb debuted his career as an instrumentalist in 1964 on "Claustrophobia". Also he occasionally played lead guitar (including using the acoustic guitar given to him by John Lennon, which he used on "This Is Where I Came In", 2001). In the reunited Bee Gees from 1987 onward, Maurice was the group's resident expert on all technical phases of recording and co-ordinated musicians and engineers to create much of the group's sound. He also contributed lead guitar on the Bee Gees' recordings in 1966. His composition on which he played lead guitar was "Country Woman" which was the B-side for the group's hit, "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart", as well as some songs on 2 Years On including "Back Home", "Lay It on Me" and "Every Second, Every Minute".
On average, Maurice Gibb sang lead on one or two songs for each album album and he was the lead vocalist on some Bee Gees tracks including "On Time", "Lay It on Me", Closer Than Close, and his last song Man in the Middle. His first composition is "All by Myself" recorded in 1966 but not released until 1970 on Inception/Nostalgia. On the Bee Gees' performances of "Nights on Broadway", Maurice sang falsetto on it, rather than Barry who originally sang falsetto on the studio recording. He also showcases his singing career on his unreleased LP 'The Loner'.
As a songwriter, Maurice Gibb contributed primarily to melody, with his brothers writing the lyrics that they would sing on the finished song (for the most part). 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, stabilising influence with two very ambitious brothers continued through his life. His comic personality shone on stage during Bee Gees concerts when the brothers would perform an acoustic medley.