The Bee Gees:The Early Years

Barry, Maurice and Robin 
The Bee Gees weren't always the Bee Gees and in fact when they began their musical career way back in the 1950's as children in Manchester, England, they were known as The Rattlesnakes. Their first gig was as a fill-in act between films at a local cinema, where they performed with two friends. Legend has it they were intending to mime to a popular record of the time when someone dropped it on the way to the gig and they had to sing live.
In 1958, the Gibb family, which included the then 12 year old Barry, his 9 year old younger twin brothers Robin and Maurice and baby brother Andy, moved to Queensland Australia. The boys continued to perform here and there for small change and by this time had changed their name to Wee Johnny Hayes & the Bluecats. The boys' father Hugh had been a drummer and bandleader, so they had grown up in a musical atmosphere. The Gibb boys were ambitious, particularly Barry, who guided his young siblings in the formative stages of their career.

The Bee Gees in Australia
From the earliest the boys talent was clear; they were smooth performers and had fantastic harmonies that were so good some people thought they were miming their cover versions off original LP's. Their professionalism is evident in the video Three Kisses of Love below (their own composition)- it's a flawless performance.

The brothers got an early break when a racetrack promoter called Bill Goode saw them perform and introduced them to a popular radio disc jockey by the name of Bill Gates. It was Goode who thought up the Bee Gees moniker and changed their name, not because Beegees stood for Brothers Gibb orBarry Gibb but because, rather egotistically, they were his own initials.

Barry led the way...
Festival Records
Once having been noticed, the boys were on the move and for the next few years they appeared on Australian television and played the Queensland resort circuit. They clinched a record deal with Festival in 1963, largely thanks to established performer Col Joy, who was impressed with their songwriting talents.

Apart from a minor hit with Wine and Woman in 1965, Festival were dissapointed with what seemed like an overall lack of commercial success and the Bee Gees future may have been quite different had they not met American born entrepeneur Nat Kipner, who negotiated a transfer over to Spin Records (though lucky for them, Festival kept the Australian distribution rights).

The Kipner association led them to producer/engineer Ossie Byrne, who not only produced some of their records but gave them virtual control of his own St. Calir based studio for several months - a move that greatly helped the brothers creatively, enabling them to freely experiment as well as  gain valuable skills as recording artists.

By this time the Bee Gees were no longer fresh faced kids in dinky British teddy outfits, but good-looking, charismatic young men. In 1966, Barry had turned twenty and the twins, seventeen. The "sixties' had happened and the Gibbs had suitably long hair, groovy clothes and, according to their growing fan base at least,  a sexy, charismatic appeal.

They were also producing a large amount of original material and had their first major hit with the single Spicks and Specks, which they later produced as an album. The albums success in Australia (it reached the top five in every State) gave the Bee Gees the impetus to travel back to England, where they moved into the second phase of their success story, produced more original music and were on the way to becoming an International name. Later, during the disco period in the US, they would emerge as one of the best-selling bands of all-time.

Young Bee Gees