Bee Gees: The Saga of a Not-So-Average White Band
Below is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared in RS 243 from July, 14, 1977. This issue and the rest of the Rolling Stone archives are available via Rolling Stone Plus, Rolling Stone’s premium subscription plan. If you are already a subscriber, you can click here to see the full story. Not a member? Click here to learn more about Rolling Stone Plus.
London: 67 Brook Street, Mayfair, is sometimes referred to as the house that Cream built. It predates Cream by quite a bit, actually, but that’s not what they mean. What they mean is that this is the house that Cream bought. The man they bought it for is Robert Stigwood.
But Stigwood hasn’t spent much time in London lately; the pressures of running an international entertainment empire keep taking him to New York and Los Angeles and Bermuda — places like that. His staff carries on bravely, but there’s an emptiness they cannot fill, an emptiness which takes the form of a large rear office on the first floor — the office with the crystal chandelier, the fake fireplace and an inch-thick slab of glass, set atop four stone lions, which serves as a desk. It is Stigwood’s office, and it has been mostly empty for about five years now.
At the moment, however, Al Coury, president of RSO (Robert Stigwood Organization, naturally) Records, and Robin Gibb, one of the Bee Gees, are sitting in two of Stiggy’s leather chairs having what Robin would call a “chin-wag.” This particular chin-wag is focused on the Bee Gees’ studio work in progress at the Honky Chateau in France and on the lifestyle that prevails there.
Al Coury, inquisitive on his first visit to London since taking over RSO Records a year ago, stands up to sniff the air in Robert’s office. “All those famous albums,” he sighs. “All those deals….”
“You must find yourself spending a lot of time on the music,” Coury observes. “Well,” Robin retorts, “there’s nothing else to do.”
It is now early February; since the beginning of January the Bee Gees have been polishing their new album, Here at Last … Bee Gees … Live, and writing material for Saturday Night Fever, a film Stigwood is producing for Paramount. In July they will go to Toronto to record the soundtrack. In September, October and November they’ll be on location for the filming of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, an RSO musical extravaganza in which they’ll costar with Peter Frampton.
The demand on the Bee Gees for recorded product has been strong. Children of the World, their last album, is very close to going double platinum, and to intensify the action RSO recently released two oldies albums — a greatest-hits package and a one-disc version of Odessa, their commercially unsuccessful concept album recorded in 1969. Bee Gees … Live, recorded in L.A. in December, is their only live LP, but it was required by their new five-year, eight-album contract with RSO — and besides, as Robin puts it, “These particular tapes warranted being brought out.”
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