Remembering Maurice Gibb

Bee Gees brother Maurice Gibb dies
When Maurice Gibb died at 53 Sunday following a cardiac arrest before undergoing emergency surgery for a blocked intestine, pop music lost a member of one of its most famous and prolific families.
The career of the Bee Gees, the group Maurice (pronounced “Morris”) Gibb formed with twin brother Robin and elder sibling Barry in the late ’50s, spanned more than four decades and a wide array of musical styles and eras. They first found fame with Beatlesque pop nuggets, then gained attention for lush, ambitious orchestral-rock tunes, most distinguished by their trademark high-pitched vocal harmonies.
But the Brothers Gibb scored their most conspicuous success with delirious disco hits such as Stayin’ Alive and Night Fever, which helped make 1977’s Saturday Night Fever the best-selling soundtrack album of all time. The photo of the three brothers in snazzy white outfits on the album cover remains one of the era’s most indelible images.
“In a weird way, the worst thing that ever happened to the Bee Gees was their disco success,” says veteran music journalist J.D. Considine. “It saddled them with an identity that the group could never shake. As a result, even though they continued to make polished and often very interesting music after the disco era, practically nobody heard it.”
Indeed, the Bee Gees continued to release albums after their Fever heyday, and did enjoy hits outside the USA, particularly in their native U.K. and Germany. They also earned seven Grammy Awards and nine U.S. No. 1 hits, and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Their most recent studio outing was 2001’s This Is Where I Came In, which garnered good notices for its mix of elegant production and earthy, rock-based textures.
Though never as visible a presence as Barry √≥ whose hirsute good looks, keening falsetto and collaborations with such other stars as Barbra Streisand and Dionne Warwick kept him in the post-disco-era limelight √≥ Maurice contributed to the group’s ever-evolving but always pop-savvy sound as a bassist, keyboardist and singer. He also played a role in writing the trio’s material, particuarly its pre-disco efforts.
Gibb was especially proud of This Is Where I Came In, which included songs each band member had penned individually. He said to USA TODAY in 2001, “Now our audience can get more of a perspective on each brother. That made it a new adventure for all of us.”