B = Barry R = Robin M = Maurice P = Parkinson
(Michael Parkinson was talking about Sir John Mills, who was appearing after the BeeGees, then......
P: And talking of legends, my first greatest one - three
singer-songwriters, who have been stars for over forty years. They've written some of *the* classic pop songs of our time as well as the biggest selling movie sound track Saturday Night Fever. Here singing one of their most famous numbers, Jive Talking, welcome please, the BEE GEES!!!
(The Bros walk on, full of smiles and Maurice does a little curtsey then they sing Jive Talkin'), before the interview.........
P: That was good fun that.......good fun.......
M: Ho ho
P: Now, can I get something straight - you're not going to walk out on me are you?
B: No you're gonna walk out on us!
R: You can come with us actually Michael.
P: That, that song of course......apart from being very popular, that had a crucial part to play in your careers, didn't it?
B: Yes, it was the beginning of a comeback for us, I guess we'd been through a bit of a dry spell 1970 to about 1974.
R: No rain at all. (Laughter).
B: No rain............and we came to America to make an album and met Eric Clapton in the office over there. He said 'why don't you go away and make another album in another country?' And he'd done I Shot the Sheriff 461 Ocean Boulevard in Miami. And he said 'I'm making a
comeback.' In other words - go away! Which we did. So we went to Miami and fell in love with Miami and er we have our homes there today. So Jive Talkin' was the beginning of a different era for us.
P: But where did the idea for songs come from, such as Jive Talking?
R: Well Jive Talking actually originated on a bridge.
B: Ahh.......we were actually on our way to the recording studio and were in the back seat and the tyres going over the ridges made a noise, a rhythmic noise, I think Barry picked up on this.......chic-chic-chic-chic-chic-chich-chic-chich...........
M: It was more of a CHOOKA -CHOOKA -CHOOKA!...........But it had to be thirty five miles per hour!
B: It was a start, a rhythmic start, and it gave us the idea for a song.
P: I mean do the ideas come out of the blue?
B: Yes, basically, they come in the shower, out of the blue in the middle of the night, in the shower, just like everyone else.
R: You must have ideas in the shower yourself, Michael?
P: I have many ideas in the shower, but never for a song actually.
M: When you go to bed at night and you have a little mike set and you've got an idea in the night, just in case, and the next morning when you hear.......(makes a sound like a drunk singing).
P: Wh - wh- what's the process, writing the three of you? I mean it must be complicated, or is it?
B: Well it's not to us.......it's instinctive to us.....but er.......
P: Who provides what? I mean do you each have a separate function or....er...?
R: We don't all have......we can all have individual ideas. We can come to the table with a melody or a chorus. Maurice can come with a verse or I can come with a chorus and Barry can come with a chorus and sometimes we can make it one song......er....or but it's a mood thing.
R: But it's a mood thing - you can actually work all day and come up with nothing.
B: But we'll put a mike up, make echo, make it sound like a record before you've written a song, so it feels like you're singing on a record and that inspires you to go to somewhere else.
P: Yeah, talking about making an echo there, I've read and researched your earlier attempts to find an echo were in such very strange places.
B: Yes.........primarily er Lewis' er department store in Manchester, which are about the best toilets in the world.
R: Toilets are always good because they're tiled.
M: (to the audience): You lafffed!!
R: It's true.....and I actually read in Dusty Springfield's biography that she was very keen on toilets.
M: They are very popular in our kind of business!
B: They are..........as George Michael so often put it.
P: What's the theory on that?
M: Well I got my own toilets! (Laughs)/ mumbo jumbo. I rent a crowd and bought a toilet. (Laughs). Seriously, we used to sing in sewage pipes as well.
B: Great staircases.......stairwells.
B: We used to look for all those places where there was great echo.
P: And where did you first discover this capacity to sing together?
M: In toilets! (Laughter). Piccadily Circus was great.
P: What about the three part harmony, I mean, did it all just come naturally or.........
M: It did, mmm
P: At what kind of age?
B: Me at nine years old, my ninth Christmas Dad got me a guitar and um Maurice and Robin started ah - um - er - we all wanted to be pop stars, I think it was the year of Elvis Presley. I think it was the beginning of rock 'n roll 'n Cliff Richard and people like that.
P: But I mean where you were at that time it would seem unlike you were talking about Manchester actually.
P: It was quite a rough area in Manchester, too.
B: Oh yeah and an' all the rougher because we were there.
P: Was it?
B: Oh yeah.
P: You were a problem family, were you?
B: Oh yeah.
M: You had to be very careful in the toilets there.
R: Rothside (?) was very rough.
R: Rothside (?) was the place where we used to live -
B: Yeh, that was our square mile and we sort of ruled it. We were sort of we were kids on the street - and we rarely came home until very late at night, yeh, we were what you'd sort of call very young delinquents.
B: Yeah!..........I got two years probation
P: For doing what?
B: For which I'm very proud of! (Laughter) For steeling um er a small racing car.
M: Still got it! (Laughter)
B: Er - we were - we were - er - sort of - er...........
R: More cranky
B: More rascals
P: Maurice, what about you?
M: I was goody two shoes me.
P: Were you?
M: Barry and Robin were the arsonists.........
R: Hey - careful!
B: Maurice used to steel bottles of orange juice off peoples' doorsteps.
M: It was the first thing I ever did! It was the only crime I committed and I got nicked for it! (Laughter)
B: So we knew it wasn't good for 'im.
R: So the Police came round to our home one day and said - and asked my mother and father to emigrate - said it might be more.....
M: It was on the recommendation of the Manchester Constabulary.
M: GO!!! (Loud deep voice)
B: Because the little car belonged to a policeman's child.
P: What about education? Did it play any part in your childhood at all?
M: NO!!! (Big deep voice)
B: Because my headmaster in particular was not a very nice man - and used to frighten me....so....from the age of about seven I would try and escape from school. I would go to school but I would never arrive.
R: You didn't?
M: (Quietly) Oh you bugger.
R: Well our school looked a bit like Colditz, didn't it? High storey Victorian building.
B: We never got to school.
P: What about since....I mean....have you ever tried to replace that lack of education?
M: NO! (Really deep voice)
P: I only heard you, Robin, talking in the rehearsals about you going to the Imperial War Museum. I mean, it's one of your fascinations, isn't it?
R: That's right, yes. I actually went to the Imperial War Museum once and they emulated one of the air raid shelters during the blitz. And I was sitting there in the dark and it was really dark and I was shaking away and there was about fifteen in there with me and, suddenly, they all started speaking German! (Laughter) And I said - this - the irony of this!
B: They came over to see what it was like! (Laughs)
(In a German accent) Let's go and haff a look! (Laughter).
M: (In German accent) It must haff been hell!
P: Alright. So the Police, on the advice of the constabulary, - you got a ten pound passage to Australia...........
B: Yep, that's right, yeh.
P: Now, there's a common fallacy abroad in this country that when you arrive in Oz it's milk and honey. Of course it wasn't like that, was it?
B: Well actually there was two sides to it. We'd never seen anything like that in our lives. We'd been brought up in Manchester. There were beaches....snow white beaches....and er - it was a wonderful place to grow up....um....it was absolute paradise. I don't know where the down side was - we went to school in bare feet.
P: It was in Australia too that your career, your professional career kick-started, wasn't it, really, in a sense?
M: If you ever saw that film Crocodile Dundee, and you see that bar in the beginning of the film, well those were the places we worked.
M: So it's very rough....and Australians have a great knack of fighting sitting down.... (laughter)
B: It's amazing
M: And....they would never hit the jug of beer in the middle (laughter)....they would always move that a little bit and then belt each other (laughter)
B: And five minutes later they'd be back
M: And we'd be singing away on stage and these guys would be belting the hell out of each other and they would stop to clap (laughter) and then go back to belting each other. (Laughter). And so we used to work the pubs and, in New South Wales, where gambling's legal, there was all, like night clubs er.......
M: Yeah, football clubs, returned servicemen, RSL clubs, so it was all one armed bandit and we knew if we stopped playing then it was alright.
B: Our audience was always drunk so it was hard to go wrong you know, three kids and a drunken audience.
P: Now let's show you - I'm sure you've seen it before I'm sure - let's show you - um - this magic moment on Australian television: (old video footage)
B) Very good......very nice (laughs)
R: Actually....Michael....that's only a year old! (Laughter)....it was only last year....Top of the Pops a year ago actually.
P: Going back, back to - er - that time in Brisbane, it's there the time the Beatles came on to the scene. That was the inspiration for you, wasn't it and of many people at the time and then to England to meet Robert Stigwood and then it sort of started taking off. You then went into the
stratosphere and that's got it's down side hasn't it, in a sense?
B: Yes it has.
P: So how did that affect you? I mean what was the first indication you had of the down side, if you like, of fame?
B: Well, we had thought we had a five year career. When we arrived in England we thought, like every other group, that you know you have a five year span and then a new generation of children come along and you sort of just go out the window. Er - and it sort of worked that way and by
1970 we were - er - sort of null and void and we thought we weren't wanted - um - for four years we sort of dealt with that, you know, and we even split up. Because the Beatles split up, you know, so did we -I guess they had so much influence on groups.
P: Or was it this business of working together, even if you're brothers as close as you are?
B: Oh we, were were just moving into our own lives as individuals, we'd lived our entire lives with Mum and Dad, so becoming individuals and getting married as I did, at a very early age....
M: Getting your own bed!
R: We weren't very well off when we lived at home so we had to share a bed - the three of us.
P: Really? (Laughter)
R: And er and er......
B: (Laughing) Not the THREE of us!!!
M: We're talking about little kids here!
R: I should hope so - it was only one or two years ago, but er.....
M: I've gotta get a room tonight!
R: But we were little kids at the time and when we did split up we'd just been two years out of living at home with our mother and father and we were actually doing a little bit better than them at the time.
R: When on rare occasions we were teenagers we were actually earning more money than our parents.
R: Where it usually the other way around....go out and earn some money you lazy sods, you know.
B: So Dad became, became sort of our manager and drove us around,
P: Yes, yes
B: ....because you couldn't work those sort of places as children without your father.