Barry Gibb has received one of Britain’s highest honors, but he is making it clear his brotherhood comes first. The eldest Gibb brother, who was knighted as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) alongside his Bee Gees brothers, Maurice and Robin, in 2002, will now be knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Barry Gibb will receive the “Knights Bachelor” for his “services to music and charity,” according to Rolling Stone. Barry Gibb co-founded the Bee Gees with his brothers Maurice and Robin when they were teens. While the group enjoyed success as a musical act in the 1960s, the 1970s would have the Brothers Gibb dominating the disco era.
In a statement about his British knighthood honor, Barry Gibb said he is “deeply honored, humbled, and very proud,” but he added that he wanted to include his brothers in the honor.
“This is a moment in life to be treasured and never forgotten,” Gibb said, according to the Daily Mail. “I want to acknowledge how responsible my brothers are for this honor. It is as much theirs as it is mine. The magic, the glow, and the rush will last me the rest of my life.”
Barry Gibb also posted a poignant message to Twitter in which she remembered his brothers and Bee Gees bandmates.
I am deeply honoured, humbled, and very proud. This is a moment in life to be treasured and never forgotten. I want to acknowledge how responsible my brothers are for this honour. It is as much theirs as it is mine.
— Barry Gibb (@GibbBarry) December 30, 2017
Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees skyrocketed to superstar status in 1977 with the release of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The album spawned the hits “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep is Your Love,” and “More than a Woman” and won a Grammy award for Album of the Year. Together, The Bee Gees recorded 22 studio albums, two live albums, and three soundtrack albums, selling more than 200 million records.
But Barry Gibb suffered major heartbreak just one decade after the Bee Gees’ Saturday Night Fever success when his youngest brother, Andy Gibb, died in 1988 just five days after his 30th birthday. Barry had been very involved in his little brother’s career, even working with his twin Bee Gees brothers Maurice and Robin to pen Andy’s biggest hit, “Shadow Dancing,” in 1978.
Years after his brothers’ deaths, Barry told Rolling Stone the loss of his youngest sibling hurt him the most.
“We were like twins,” Barry told Rolling Stone. “The same voice, the same interests, the same birthmark. [Andy’s death] was the saddest moment of my life. He was a sweet person. We lost him too young.”
Sadly, 14 years later Barry would face the death of a second brother when Maurice Gibb died suddenly in 2003 from complications of a twisted intestine. Maurice was only 53-years-old. Less than a decade later, Maurice’s twin, Robin Gibb, died in 2012 at age 62 after a long battle with colorectal cancer. Robin’s death left Barry and older sister Lesley as the only living Gibb siblings.
Barry Gibb considered retirement after the death of his brothers, but in 2014 he hit the road to honor Maurice and Robin with the six-date “Mythology” tour, where he performed some of the Bee Gees biggest hits including “Jive Talkin’,” “Nights on Broadway,” and of course, the Saturday Night Fever singles. At the time, Barry told the Philadelphia Inquirer his late brothers are never far from his mind.
“In so many of my dreams now, I see my brothers,” Barry Gibb said. “I see Robin a lot, presently. I see his expressions. Maurice and Andy, too, but less than Robin. He and I, we were as close as we could be within those circumstances.”
Barry Gibb will receive his British knighthood honor in a ceremony headed by the Queen at Buckingham Palace sometime in 2018.