October 5, 2013

I purposely waited this week to post after Barry had finished his concerts in the U.K. I feel that since his Mythology Tour is in honor of his brothers, this week’s story would have to be the one that honors all four brothers. I hope that you will enjoy what Vinny had to say about the Gibb boys.


New York City

My Bee Gee story is about family. I know what it’s like to be a part of a family of four brothers, and I identified with the Gibb brothers since I was a teenager. Lou and Dom are my two older brothers, and Tony is my younger brother. When I started listening to the Bee Gees, I was about 15. I am a few years younger than Maurice and Robin, and my brother Tony was born a year after Andy. One of my buddies brought over The Bee Gees 1st album, and I loved their sound. My brother Lou loved the Beach Boys and Dom was a Stones guy. Some days I swore if I had to hear “Beast of Burden” or “Satisfaction” one more time, I would take the record and break it over Dom’s head. I was closest to Tony, so he would spend more time with me and he listened to whatever music I liked, so he became a Bee Gee junkie, too. So here’s my story. I was part of our family business since I was old enough to hold a hammer. My Dad owned a small construction company, and my brothers and I would help after school and on weekends helping with anything that needed doing. Maybe it would be a porch remodel or adding new windows to a family room. I loved working with my hands. I was the quietest of the four of us, so I really identified with Maurice Gibb. Dom was like Barry, tall and good-looking and a talker. Lou was like Robin, analytical, practical. We’d fight all the time, and each one of us wanted his own way. Sometimes it got pretty bad, usually disagreeing about money. When “Night Fever” was released, we all went to see the movie together, and they loved the music, but they still made fun of me when the Disco backlash happened. (I stuck with my guys anyway.) The three of us took over the business when my Dad got sick with a heart problem and had to slow down–permanently. Tony went to college to study finance during this time. Ironically, he was dating a girl who became an Andy-loving maniac, so he would listen to Andy’s music with her all the time.  For me, sometimes the stress was pretty bad, since Dad was ill. I loved my brothers, but I felt like I needed some serious distance from them. There was so much pressure, and all three of us wanted to rule. I know Robin had walked away early on, and it almost destroyed the group. I wanted to bolt, no lie. Dom is really stubborn and tough to handle. I’m not a fighter. I used to think about what Maurice felt when Robin went away like he did. I suppose he just kept on being Maurice and made music, but it must have been awful for him and Barry, too. When the stress of work got to me, the music got played a little louder in the apartment. There were days I’d had enough: a fight with Dom about a lumber delivery gone wrong, a no-show by an electrician…whatever it was, those were the days I wished I could sit down with Barry, Robin and Maurice and pick their brains. How had they done what they did all these years without falling apart? I used their music to help me relax, and I always felt like they were there helping me to cope. Even though I felt like I was tangled in a vine with my brothers, and sometimes we seemed to be in a perpetual quarrel about what to do to make the business succeed, I hung in. I finally realized that being family was what tied us together, and we always forgave each other and tried to succeed. I decided we were just like the Bee Gees. I took more of a peacemaker attitude and tried to be like Maurice, (or so I thought). My little brother Tony was so much like Andy, a great kid and always trying to please everybody. He finished college and became the financial guru for our firm, which, by the way, has grown and prospered. Now, after more than 25 years, we are still successful. We still fight, and I still love my Bee Gees music. It seems like they’ve always been a part of my life. I thank God they didn’t decide to become plumbers.

About morobinbarrystories

Anne Jakowenko, the blog author, has been loving the Bee Gees for decades while raising her sons and teaching college students Speech Communication and English skills at her alma mater, Syracuse University, where she received her Master’s degree. She has also taught for SUNY Oswego and Barry University. Currently, Anne is teaching for the State College of Florida while she continues to collect stories for her book, My Life with the Boys.
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  1. Maureen Talbot says:

    The concert at the O2 in London was breathtaking & amazing, The audience roared the moment he stepped onto the stage, & we never sat down throughout the entire show! We went from tears to laughter when he spoke of his brothers, Miss him already! Barry, you rocked the O2, on a beautiful autumn evening in London, I will always remember it, please come back soon,

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Wow, Maureen, what a great memory to have. I am excited for you and wish I could have been there.I hope you enjoy the stories from the great fans. They inspire me every day. Thanks for reading and writing a message.

  2. That was a very nice story

  3. Marisa says:

    How Maurice felt when the split happened…he helped with Robin on two songs (Saved by the Bell, Mother and Jack) until Stigwood ordered him to stop. There are German articles quoting both twins as feeling cornered by the (sweatshop-style?) management, who aggressively acted upon the hanger-ons trying to pull the brothers apart instead of taking seriously the twins’ initial position: To simply work apart briefly and temporarily, not splitting definitively. Then again, the twins never had much voice (nor credibility) in how any portion of band story is told and remembered for prosperity;)

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