What Does BG Stand for?
On a recent trip to one of the better weekend markets located on the outskirts of Brisbane, I stumbled across Bee Gees Way, a 70m long walkway which honours perhaps this bayside suburb's most famous former residents.
For many, the Bee Gees mean great pop-rock music, but for the more discerning listener and music devotee there's the classic tight harmonies, Barry's unique falsetto, elaborate melodies, and ornate orchestrations which made them instantly recognisable. Ask the locals in Redcliffe, the residential coastal suburb, some 28km north of Brisbane in Queensland's south-east, and they'll proudly tell you that this is where the dream of these 'local' lads started, where they played the neighbourhood gig circuit and famously, in their teens, entertained the crowd during the interval, at the still going and little changed Redcliffe Speedway, driving round the track on the back of a truck, being paid whatever the crowd threw to them.
We Aussies never let dual nationalities or origins get in the way of claiming tall poppies as our own, and so it is with Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, who were born in England and moved to Redcliffe in 1958 (with their sister Wesley, infant brother Andy, mum Barbara and dad Hugh), where they were eventually to start their epic career as the Bee Gees.
Although they were later to advance their career by moving to Miami, Florida in 1975, they were always proud of their Redcliffe connection, as evident below in this quote from Barry.
My memories of my time in Redcliffe are as vivid today as when I was running around barefoot with my brothers exploring its many treasures. As children we spent a lot of time on the jetty at night, looking into the waters of Moreton Bay. It was like meditating
In case you think, incorrectly, that the name, Bee Gees, comes from the brothers Gibb, many a Redcliffe local will tell you that the name was coined on the kitchen table where mother Barbara and eldest son Barry signed the band's first music contract with their two managers. Bill Gates, a then leading Brisbane radio DJ, had been introduced to the young talent by speedway promoter Bill Goode, and it was Gates who initially named them on the contract as the BGs, after the initials of the two Bills, mum Barbara and Barry. The BGs were, or course, later to become the Bee Gees.
So back to the commemorative Bee Gees Way, which leads down to the popular weekend Redcliffe Markets on the bay foreshore, with the pier beyond. There you'll find a gallery of some 60 photos, 13 album covers and a chronological summary of their achievements, all along one wall. There's even a copy of the first album contract they signed with managers Bill Goode and Bill Gates (the two Bills above) in 1959.
On the same wall, there's a life size statue ensemble of Barry, Robin and Maurice as children.
And then, on the opposite wall, along with murals of the brothers, there's a group statue of the adult Bee Gees taken from the 'One Night Only' album. Little did they know that one of their fans, also a person of multiple nationalities (but in this case Scots and Aussie with a little Kiwi thrown in for good measure), would later photo bomb the display.
Do you remember these hit singles released in the 1960s?
- 1967 - To Love Somebody
- 1968 - Words
- 1968 - I started a Joke
- 1969 - Don't Forget to Remember
- Stayin Alive
- How Deep is Your Love
- Night Fever
- Jive Talkin
- You Should be Dancing
- a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame;
- American Music Award;
- Order of the British Empire; and
- being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Only Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees.In February 2013, Barry Gibb, as the last surviving member of the Bee Gees, returned to Redcliffe to unveil Bee Gees Way and the statues referred above.
When not researching the weird or the wonderful, the comical or the cultured, the sinful or the serious, I chase my creative side, the results of which can be seen as selected photographs of my travels on my website at:
The author of the above, Ken Boddie, besides being a sometime poet and occasional writer, is an enthusiastic photographer, rarely leisure-travelling without his Canon, and loves to interact with other like-minded people with diverse interests.
Ken's three day work week (part time commitment) as a consulting engineer allows him to follow his photography interests, and to plan trips to an ever increasing list of countries and places of scenic beauty and cultural diversity.