It amazes me how dedicated Bee Gee fans are to the brothers. I love the stories I receive and the comments I see posted daily. The last two years on social media have been gratifying as well as surprising, but I reflect on not only the music of Barry, Robin, Maurice and Andy but their achievements outside of the music world, and I wonder what more I can do to set an example as they have done over the years.
Most fans know of their ground-breaking efforts for UNICEF. The Music for UNICEF concert, A Gift of Song (January, 1979), can be watched on You Tube. Give it a go, and you will astonished at the magnitude of talent and how impressive this gathering really was. Of course, the brothers dedicated the proceeds of “Too Much Heaven” (recorded at the beloved Criteria Studios in July of 1978) to UNICEF, and decades later the sales of this one song are still adding to the millions already raised for charity. The boys snagged an invite to the White House after this event, where President Carter thanked them personally for their efforts. The Secretary General of the U.N. at the time, Kurt Waldheim, thanked them and said, “This is an outstanding and generous initiative”. What an example of generosity from a musical group who were so young and fresh and whose example prompted other talented musicians to follow suit.
Most recently, fans have seen articles published about Barry receiving the SONY Mobile Lifetime Achievement Award at the O2 Silver Clef Awards ceremony last fall. The Bee Gees first were introduced to the Nordoff Robbins London Center and their work with music therapy in 1993, and Barry continues to support their efforts.
I could write for days about the organizations that the brothers Gibb have supported, and in upcoming stories I will discuss some of them. Just a few are the Miami Beach Health Foundation, which provides funds for Miami Beach Community Health Centers; the Prince’s Trust, which offers support training and financial assistance to help disadvantaged young people achieve their potential; the Whatever It Takes program (check out their amazing website), which focuses on poverty alleviation, environmental preservation and protection of children; and of course, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, where Barry and his family have donated talent, time and funds for decades.
So what can we do? Donating to the above-mentioned charities is wonderful and would be generous; but for those who don’t have the funds, there are so many alternatives to help. Giving an hour or two a week to a soup kitchen, volunteering to deliver food for the Meals on Wheels program, mentoring a child through a school program, coaching a team at the YMCA, offering whatever talents one might possess (are you an artist, a musician, a computer geek, a photographer?) would be amazing. I’d love to hear what Bee Gee fans do to follow in Barry, Robin, Maurice and Andy’s footsteps and how volunteering has impacted your lives.
We love the brothers for their music, but we also love them for their generosity of spirit. Barry carries on for his siblings and continues to give back to those less fortunate and in need; and this is truly the key to why he is so revered by fans around the world. Loving the music is a given; following his example is a blessing.