Barry Alan Crompton Gibb, CBE (born 1 September 1946) is a British singer, songwriter and record producer who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the group Bee Gees, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed groups in the history of popular music. With his brothers, Robin and Maurice Gibb, he formed a songwriting partnership beginning in 1966.
Born on the Isle of Man, he was raised in Manchester where he became involved in the skiffle craze, forming his first band, the Rattlesnakes, which evolved into the Bee Gees in 1960 when they moved to Redcliffe, Queensland, Australia. They returned to England where they achieved worldwide fame. He was also known for his high-pitched falsetto singing voice. Gibb shares the record with John Lennon and Paul McCartney for consecutive Billboard Hot 100 number ones as a writer with six. Guinness World Recordslists Gibb as the second most successful songwriter in history behind Paul McCartney.
Gibb’s career has spanned over fifty years. In 1994, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame with his brothers. In 1997, as a member of the Bee Gees, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Barry is a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.
For services to music, Gibb (along with his brothers) was appointed Commander in the Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace on 27 May 2004. In 2007, Q magazine ranked him number 38 on its list of the “100 Greatest Singers”.
In the Now is the second solo album by Barry Gibb, released on 7 October 2016 by Columbia Records.Although his second solo album (since 1984’s Now Voyager), it is the first of all new material since the Bee Gees‘ final studio album This Is Where I Came In (2001). Gibb said of the album: “This is a dream come true for me. It’s a new chapter in my life. I always hoped one day that The Bee Gees would be with Columbia or indeed Sony so, it’s a great joy for me to start again this way with such great people.
In The Now—-I have been a die-hard Bee Gee’s fan for most of my life…to have this release….after so many tragedies is like a dream come true. Trust me when I tell you that this effort is fantastic. Barry belies his 70 years and sounds on record like a young man. The falsetto is not mandated….instead this track…as with most of the release relies on melody and heartfelt vocals. The background singers make you step back for a moment….you would think the brothers were all together again. This has a slight funk, retro feel to it that could play wonderful on FM radio. A majestic return.
Grand Illusion—-For me, the centerpiece of this release. This has every element of a true Bee Gee’s classic. The breathy vocal delivery…the double tracked backdrop…the funky slight guitar track is incredible. The voice is so strong and real…no effects needed. This is amazing. The chorus hits you with that magical melody only Gibb was capable of. This is a sure fire hit for me….if it can ever get played.
Star Crossed Lovers—-This song has a nice 70’s retro feel to it that just makes me melt. The music is plush and delivered with a aura around it that makes me think of early hits played on classic FM stations back in the early days. Gibb delivers line after breathy line that just makes you sad yet brings a surprise smile to your face…like a long lost friend that has decided to visit.
Blowin’ A Fuse—-A nice guitar driven Duran Duran intro opens this track. Gibb has a vocal pushed to the back of the mix and sounds a bit dated, but it plays really well with the band he has put together with his sons. This sounds like an older tune that was resurrected for this release…but it is not a throw a way…just sounding very 80’s.
Home Truth Song—-And we return back to that magical melody that drove so many hits to the top of the charts. That jangly sound combined with the breathy vocal is just incredible. There are nice organs on the track….and a huge chorus…typical…but magnificent. The chorus melody has a definite Country feel to it…but it plays so well to my ears. This is just about perfect.
Meaning Of The Word—-Beginning with a vocal that is almost spoken, you feel the sincerity of the words. This is a beautifully written love song that allows you to feel the pain and the angst. This is a talent….the man breathes emotion and it is never more apparent here…this is magical. That breath at the end of his words….stuff that makes woman swoon…..magnificent.
Cross To Bear—-From all accounts I have read, this has a slight political edge to it…speaking on different religions and the refusal to get along. This I can tell you…when the chorus of this song kicks in, you don’t care what the fuck it is about. It is perfect pop music written by a seasoned perfect pop star. This is as it is….but you can’t take away from the beauty of the song. It has power, Majesty and a hook you can’t shake.
Shadows—-Returning to a more retro feel, the guitars that play have a slight island feel to them…indeed in the backdrop of the song the low hum reminds you of wind swept beaches. The voice is incredible….full of perfect enunciation and understandable words. There is a feeling of loss and of joy wrapped together in the perfect storm.
Amy In Colour—-I’ve read accounts about the meaning and inspiration for this song, but I will leave it alone. The music is a bit odd…slight and spacey….the voice at the very front of the mix…even when the bluesy guitars burst open. This is nice…but maybe an attempt to sound current.
The Long Goodbye—-The vocal is at the first second the song begins….with simple piano, this hearkens back to a 60’s sound the brothers had such success with. This is wonderfully constructed…some slight horns appear and make the track larger…but the focus is never off of the vocal…the most important instrument in this studio.
Diamonds—-Again, stripped bare and just offering the voice at the beginning of the song, a really nice acoustic guitar enters by the second bar and brings a fuller sound to the song. There is a bit of a country feel to the song…but when the double tracked chorus hits with the more electric guitar, you are swept up in the talent of it all. This is fantastic.
End Of The Rainbow—-Written for his Brothers and written for loss,you feel each word and line that is delivered. The track urges you to make peace…be happy and live your life…because it can be gone….so very quickly. A sad track….but an incredible end to a pretty fantastic release.
***** out of 5