This Sunday evening’s episode of The Two (Newstalk ZB, 9pm-midnight) features my biggest hero as our special guest. Barry Gibb is the last man standing; the only surviving Gibb brother; a man who has experienced success so astonishing as to make him the second most successful pop songwriter in history after Paul McCartney (according to the Guinness Book Of Records), but tragic loss so severe he has outlived his three younger brothers.
Barry will be talking to Pam Corkery and I about his emotional and cathartic Mythology tour which begins with three dates in Australia in February (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne) before heading to New Zealand for a concert at the famed Mission Estate in Napier on February 23rd. We’ll also be asking Barry about his future plans and how he has maintained his humility despite he and his brothers achieving the following:
- The second most successful songwriter in music history after Paul McCartney with 21 different songs to hit US or UK #1.
- 220 million albums sold.
- Most covered songwriter in Australia in the mid-60s – an accolade achieved while still a teen.
- Only songwriter to simultaneously have five songs in the US top 10.
- Only songwriters and producers to have six consecutive US #1 hits.
- Only songwriters to have UK #1 hits in 5 consecutive decades.
- Biggest selling album of all time pre-Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
- Writers of the biggest country hit song of all time.
- Writers of Barbra Streisand’s biggest selling album.
- Writers of Diana Ross’ biggest solo UK hit.
- Writers of Dionne Warwick’s biggest non-Bacharach / David hit.
- Greatest singles chart dominance of one year in American music history by one act – 1978 (Seven US #1 hits).
- Nine Grammy awards.
- Inductees in the both the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame and Songwriters Hall Of Fame.
- Most played song catalogue in the world on radio 2006.
- Highest grossing concert in New Zealand history – Western Springs, March 20 – 1999.
- Second most covered songwriters worldwide of all time with versions of Gibb songs by A-list artists like Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick, Elvis Presley, Nina Simone, Destiny’s Child, Janis Joplin, Take That, Glen Campbell, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, the Fugees, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Olivia Newton-John, Cliff Richard, Michael Buble, Diana Krall, Lulu, Tom Jones, Cher, Tina Turner, Feist, Michael Bolton, Al Green, Adam Lambert and literally dozens and dozens of others.
One of the things I love the most about the brothers Gibb is their ability to genre-hop and here is secular gospel song from an LP I’ve often regarded as the greatest album The Band never released, Bury Me Down By The River from Cucumber Castle (recorded 1969, released 1970).