Bee Gee’s Barry Gibb Reveals Rock and Country Stars Who Had ‘Radical Influence’ on His Music

by Madison Miller

Bee Gee has one last surviving member. Barry Gibb, or also known as Sir Barry Alan Crompton Gibb, is a singer-songwriter, record producer, and musician. The Bee Gees remains of the most commercially successful groups in popular music.

While he has survived past his brothers, he is still creating music on his own. The “Stayin’ Alive” group is known for their vibey disco sound most prominent in the ’60s and early ’70s.

As an artist, his far-reaching, high-pitched falsetto cuts through as his most noticeable musical trait. Similar to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, he shares the record of six consecutive Billboard Hot 100 No.1 hits.

Most recently, Gibb has put his talent to use in a song with artist Jason Isbell. The song, “Words of a Fool” appears on Gibb’s “Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook.” The album is an exploration of the artists’ love of old country music that he faded into after the Bee Gees no longer existed.

It is a rerecording of songs with artists like Brandi Carlile, Dolly Parton, and Alison Krauss.

So where did the disco-star get his influences, especially as a turned-country-lover?

Country Influences

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Barry Gibb and Jason Isbell both sat down to talk about their collaboration, upcoming work, and musical inspirations.

Gibb never liked aligning to a genre. Now, as he explores more country, rootsy sounds that were different than what many considered the Bee Gee’s “sound.”

“I need to give you a little bit of input about our roots. We were an immigrant family who moved to Australia in 1958, and from then onwards, we heard so many records from America. Roy Orbison and Elvis…these were country stars, but they were also rock stars. George Jones, Dolly…these people had a radical influence on us,” Gibb said.

It seems like Gibb aligns with artists who have tested the water of mixing genres. Often this creates a unique sound that sets them apart from other artists strictly following the “guidelines” of their genre.

He said that they were just kids trying to figure out their sound. He loved all kinds of music and styles. When it came time for his stylistic masterpiece of a falsetto, that had a level of influence too.

“It might have been perceived that way by certain people. But the truth is, the falsetto comes from the Delfonics and the Stylistics. It comes from all the different records where the falsetto was a feature. Brian Wilson, Frankie Valli. It became something that we didn’t fear anymore. I discovered it. I didn’t even know I could do that,” Gibb said.

Barry Gibb Talks Rock Inspirations

For artists back then, the recording was not as much of a “closed-door” concept. If many artists were recording nearby, going in and listening wasn’t frowned on. Gibb listened to anyone from the Eagles to Lynyrd Skynyrd recording in their studios. Now, the recording seems more private, more isolated, and less likely to spur inspiration for other artists.

Besides his love for country musicians, Gibb also has a love for authentic and classic groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

“I miss the creativity that the Beatles gave to us. The idea that you can write about any subject whatsoever and make it work. You didn’t have to just write about love. They were playing with our heads and they were being incredibly creative, which is what triggered it all…” Gibb said.

The group faced a downward spiral after disco backlash and the radio stations being forced to play hit after hit from the group. Through a Barbra Streisand and even a Michael Jackson collaboration, the group became hit songwriters.