|Robert Stigwood with Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb.|
Bee Gee Barry Gibb’s statement about former manager Robert Stigwood who’s died aged 81:
Robert Stigwood was an enigma. A Victorian figure cast into the sixties to work with Brian Epstein and The Beatles. He hitch-hiked from Adelaide to London with a powerful vision to rule the entertainment world.
He was almost aristocratic in nature, the mixture of talent and insight from the moment you met him was omnipresent. He signed us as his group at a moment in time when groups were no longer being signed.
The odds against us having success was very high but Robert took an act of faith and against the advice of others, became our manager. He also became a member of our family and all the success we had was because of Robert Stigwood.
On behalf of Linda and our family we wish you God speed. Every time the first of May comes around I will think of you and I will miss your phone call. We shared so many wonderful moments. I will never forget you my dear friend.
Click here to read my tribute article to Stigwood from January 6th which focuses on a couple of the more audacious marketing stunts he pulled in order to get the Bee Gees played on the radio. That article also features the song Spirits Having Flown, a track I’ve regularly described as one of the Bee Gees most poignant songs in times of loss.
That said, there are so many Gibb songs that work as emotional farewells. The 1989 Andy Gibb-inspired Wish You Were Here is a contender for the biggest number one the Bee Gees never had – I’ll never understand how it was overlooked as a single. 1993’s For Whom The Bell Tolls hit the UK top 5 and is a devastating tale of uneven love: “for you it’s goodbye / and for me it’s to cry / for whom the bell tolls.”
Then there’s Morning Of My Life – originally written in 1966 as In The Morning but re-recorded in 1971 with smoother harmonies and production for the Melody soundtrack – yet another Gibb track that strikes me as a meaningful goodbye. That a teenager (Barry Gibb) could write a song of such depth and simple beauty to convey the seasons of life as morning, daytime and evening still blows my mind.
So for the enigmatic Robert Stigwood, the man who took “an act of faith…against the advice of others” and signed the Bee Gees back when they were just kids in 1967, here are three of his lads’ finest ever goodbye songs – Wish You Were Here (1989), For Whom The Bell Tolls (1993) and Morning Of My Life (1971):