Remembering Barry Gibb's mind-blowing Glastonbury performance of 'Stayin' Alive'

23 June 2022, 16:18

Bee Gee Barry Gibb gave a historic performance of his 1977 hit 'Stayin' Alive' at 2017's Glastonbury Festival
Bee Gee Barry Gibb gave a historic performance of his 1977 hit 'Stayin' Alive' at 2017's Glastonbury Festival. Picture: BBC

By Giorgina Hamilton

It's a truth universally acknowledged that 2017's Glastonbury was the year of Barry Gibb.

The Bee Gees' turn as the star of Glastonbury's coveted 'legend slot' has gone down in as one of the most rousing performances in the festival's 52-year history.

When Barry Gibb, 75, stepped out onto the Pyramid stage on that Sunday night and stood in silhouette in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands, with millions watching across the globe, few knew what a historic moment was about to unfold.

The Bee Gee proceeded to perform fifteen of the greatest anthems of the last forty years, from disco hits to romantic ballads and everything in between, and became a night that no one in the audience would ever forget.

The Bee Gees' turn as the star of Glastonbury's coveted 'legend slot' has gone down in as one of the most rousing performances in the festival's 52-year history.
The Bee Gees' turn as the star of Glastonbury's coveted 'legend slot' has gone down in as one of the most rousing performances in the festival's 52-year history. Picture: BBC
When Barry Gibb, 75, stepped out onto the Pyramid stage on that Sunday night and stood in silhouette in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands, with millions watching across the globe, few knew what a historic moment was about to unfold.
When Barry Gibb, 75, stepped out onto the Pyramid stage on that Sunday night and stood in silhouette in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands, with millions watching across the globe, few knew what a historic moment was about to unfold. Picture: BBC
Barry Gibb took the crowd on a journey through time, from the rousing upbeat bars of 'Jive Talking' and 'Islands In The Stream' to the stunning heartbreak classics 'How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?' and 'To Love Somebody'.
Barry Gibb took the crowd on a journey through time, from the rousing upbeat bars of 'Jive Talking' and 'Islands In The Stream' to the stunning heartbreak classics 'How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?' and 'To Love Somebody'. Picture: BBC

Barry Gibb took the crowd on a journey through time, from the rousing upbeat bars of 'Jive Talking' and 'Islands In The Stream' to the stunning heartbreak classics 'How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?' 'To Love Somebody', 'Words' and 'How Deep Is Your Love' via the hypnotic beats of 'Nigh Fever', 'Tragedy' and many, many more.

But there was one song the crowd went wild totally for, the song that for decades had been a dance-floor filler and was known as one of the world's best disco hits: the one and only 'Stayin' Alive'.

Dubbed the 'greatest song of all time' by none other than Coldplay's Chris Martin, 'Stayin' Alive' changed musical history and ushered in an era of disco fever that had taken the world by storm.

There was one song the crowd went wild totally for, the song that for decades had been a dance-floor filler and was known as one of the world's best disco hits: the one and only 'Stayin' Alive
There was one song the crowd went wild totally for, the song that for decades had been a dance-floor filler and was known as one of the world's best disco hits: the one and only 'Stayin' Alive. Picture: BBC
The enourmoud crowd cheered Barry Gibb and hung on to his every word
The enourmoud crowd cheered Barry Gibb and hung on to his every word. Picture: BBC
Released in 1977, the track was the second single from the famed Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the film that changed the face of disco music.
Released in 1977, the track was the second single from the famed Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the film that changed the face of disco music. Picture: BBC

Released in 1977, the track was the second single from the famed Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, the film that changed the face of disco music.

Since its release, the song has been regularly voted one of the best hits in it's 45-year lifespan.

In 2004, it ranked No. 9 on AFI's survey of top tunes in American cinema and 2021 saw Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Songs, place 'Stayin' Alive' at No. 99.

While the Bee Gee's legendary solo show went down in the festival's history and confirmed 'Stayin' Alive' as one of the nation's favourite hits – before he took to the stage, the singer shared his nerves about performing without his siblings.

Barry revealed that his Glastonbury set was in memory of his late brothers, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb.

Before he took to the stage at Glastonbury, Barry Gibb shared his nerves about performing without his siblings (Pictured: The Bee Gees in 1999)
Before he took to the stage at Glastonbury, Barry Gibb shared his nerves about performing without his siblings (Pictured: The Bee Gees in 1999). Picture: Getty

“I don’t like being on my own, I miss them so much. I can still feel them. I smell my brothers’ breath. I get that feeling that they are right there," he said in a moving interview with the Daily Mirror hours before the famous Glastonbury performance.

“I feel as if they are there guiding me. I can’t say how. We were a group for 45 years. We were glued to each other.”

The singer went on to reveal his anxiety about singing as a solo star: “I don’t like being on stage on my own", he said. "I miss my brothers. I get nerves being on stage on my own because it is so new to me.

“We would all lean on each other. I‘d lean on Maurice and Robin and they would lean on me and somehow we’d get through every show.

The singer went on to reveal his anxiety about singing as a solo star: “I don’t like being on stage on my own", he said. "I miss my brothers. I get nerves being on stage on my own because it is so new to me."
The singer went on to reveal his anxiety about singing as a solo star: “I don’t like being on stage on my own", he said. "I miss my brothers. I get nerves being on stage on my own because it is so new to me.". Picture: Getty

“We knew how each other felt. I knew what their opinions were. We were three brothers and it was not a democracy.

“We were three brothers who had to agree. If one of them did not like something we did not do it.”

Barry's brother Robin Gibb passed away in 2012 after battling cancer for a number of years, while Robin's twin brother Maurice Gibb died in 2003 due to complications of a twisted intestine.