Friday, July 08, 2005

Bee Gees: Staying Alive

Brilliant title, no? Anyway, here's some fun Bee Gees news from

In the wake of the sudden death of the Bee Gees' Maurice Gibb in 2003, his brothers Robin and Barry decided to cease performing under the group's name. But Robin has taken it upon himself to turn grief into rejoicing with an extensive plan to keep Maurice's memory and the Bee Gees' music alive.

The artist's co-manager John Campbell tells Billboard a slate of Bee Gees events will begin rolling out next year. In the works are a Maurice Gibb tribute album, a free summer concert in Central Park, a prime-time special, a Broadway musical, a film and a book. The timing could not be better, as the rights to the Bee Gees' entire catalog will revert back to them from Universal in 2006. [What a coincidence!]

...The tribute album, which is being produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, is especially close to Robin's heart. "We've asked artists of every generation to express our songs in their own way," Gibb says. So far, Paul McCartney, Wyclef Jean, Jagged Edge, Rascal Flatts, Snoop Dogg and, as previously reported, Sheryl Crow are working on tracks. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the album will go to charity.

"I'm a major Bee Gees fan," Edmonds says. "They are great songs; we just re-did them and flipped them a little bit."

...The Bee Gees stage musical, named after their song "You Win Again," is being modeled on hit shows like ABBA's "Mama Mia!" and Queen's "We Will Rock You." It goes into preproduction in the fall, and will debut on Broadway and London's West End toward the end of next year. Campbell says the story, written by Maurice and Sidney Greenberg, centers on a fashion designer and the model he falls in love with, and is, of course, all set to Bee Gees hits. Numerous labels are said to be interested in releasing the soundtrack.

A brand new generation may also get to discover "Saturday Night Fever." Industry sources say advanced talks are continuing with a major film studio to invest $30 million into a remake. A Bee Gees book is also being discussed. Campbell declined to comment on the film and book deals. Barry Gibb has given his blessing on all these projects, but is on the sidelines for now. "We've worked together all our lives," Robin says. "We need some emotional space."
Sounds like Jimmy Fallon will be dusting off his chest wig sometime next year. I love it when people talk about a whole new generation getting to discover something as ubiquitous as "Saturday Night Fever." I think it might be more accurate to say that the Bee Gees are discovering a brand-new generation of customers. I have no problem with that, of course.

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