Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb Was Shocked to Receive the Kennedy Center Honors

Barry Gibb attends the 46th Kennedy Center Honors at The Kennedy Center on December 03, 2023 in Washington, DC.
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Barry Gibb may be one of the most famous and successful songwriters, but he remains extremely humble. Gibb, best known for being a part of The Bee Gees, was given the 2023 Kennedy Center Honor along with Billy Crystal, Renée Fleming, Queen Latifah, and Dionne Warwick. When asked about the honor, he joked, “I don’t know why … why are you giving it to me? But I am very proud.”

Gibb said that he can trace his passion for life and his approach to songwriting back to an accident when he was just two years old. He accidentally pulled a pan of boiling water over himself and almost died. He had to spend two years in the hospital recovering and despite not remembering the accident, he still has scars at 77 years old.

The Bee Gees, (Robin, Maurice, Barry Gibb), circa 1978, during St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band promotion

Everett Collection

After he recovered and grew up enough to realize what truly happened and how lucky he was to survive, he said that it helped him with his music. In the late ’50s, Gibb, alongside his brothers Robin and Maurice formed The Bee Gees. Gibb was the main songwriter and produced 16 of their No. 1 hit songs and their fame only continued to grow in the ’60s and ’70s. Now, he is the only surviving brother left and focuses his life on continuing their legacy.

Unfortunately, as many siblings can attest, the brothers didn’t always get along. Fame coupled with sibling rivalry caused a rift between the three brothers and Gibb wasn’t on good terms with his brothers when they died (Maurice died in 2003 while Robin died in 2012). Now, he looks back on their history with a fresh perspective.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Barry Gibb, (Season 5, aired Jan. 27, 2014).

Lloyd Bishop/NBC/Everett Collection

Gibb shared, “I understand now. I understand a lot more. I understand what made them unhappy. They were right. Because it was a group and we should have all been supporting each other much more than we did. I got too much attention. Robin didn’t get enough. And Mo certainly didn’t get enough.” Watch the 2023 Kennedy Center Honors on CBS at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, December 27, or stream the next day on Paramount+.

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