When Bee Gees gave a rare acoustic TV performance of 'Massachusetts' and brought down the house

4 June 2021, 17:23

Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb were guests on TV show Parkinson when the host asked them to sing their 1967 song 'Massachusetts'.
The Bee Gees are widely regarded as some of the best melody makers in history and rare video of the brothers singing acoustic proves just how incredible their voices really were. Picture: BBC

By Giorgina Hamilton

The Bee Gee brothers were guests on TV show 'Parkinson' in 1982 when the trio gave an impromptu rendition of their 1967 hit 'Massachusetts'.

The Bee Gees are widely regarded as some of the best melody makers in history and rare video of the brothers singing acoustic proves just how incredible their voices really were.

See more: Bee Gees facts: Gibb brothers' wives, nationality, band name meaning and more revealed

Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb were guests on Michael Parkinson's TV show Parkinson when the host asked them to sing their 1967 song 'Massachusetts'.

The trio then began to sing a pitch perfect rendition of the song with Robin Gibb on lead vocals and Barry and Maurice playing guitar.

See more: The greatest Bee Gees songs of all time, ranked

The Bee Gee brothers were guests on TV show 'Parkinson' in 1982 when they were asked to give an impromptu rendition of their 1967 hit 'Massachusetts'.
The Bee Gee brothers were guests on TV show 'Parkinson' in 1982 when they were asked to give an impromptu rendition of their 1967 hit 'Massachusetts'. Picture: BBC
Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb were guests on Michael Parkinson's (pictured) TV show 'Parkinson' when the host asked them to sing their 1967 song 'Massachusetts'.
Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb were guests on Michael Parkinson's (pictured) TV show 'Parkinson' when the host asked them to sing their 1967 song 'Massachusetts'. Picture: BBC
The trio then began to sing a pitch perfect rendition of the song with Robin Gibb (right) on lead vocals and Barry (left) and Maurice playing guitar.
The trio then began to sing a pitch perfect rendition of the song with Robin Gibb (right) on lead vocals and Barry (left) and Maurice playing guitar. Picture: BBC

See more: Private studio footage of Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees recording 'Tragedy' is phenomenal

At the video's 1:40 mark the three sing in perfect harmony as they up the ante for the spine-tingling performance, much to the delight of the enraptured audience.

Released in 1967, 'Massachusetts' became the first of the Bee Gees five No.1 songs in the UK and would eventually go on to sell over five million copies worldwide.

See more: The Bee Gees' flawless harmonies during a live MTV performance in 1993 is a lost masterpiece

The hauntingly beautiful song was reportedly written as an antithesis of flower power and was based on a protagonist who had gone to San Francisco at the height of the movement, and was now homesick for his home state of Massachusetts.

The Bee Gees were reportedly at odds as to how to song actually came about, with Barry Gibb telling author Andrew Sandoval that he and Robin both has totally different recollections.

See more: The time Barry Gibb got his finger stuck in a bottle during a Bee Gees TV interview

Robin Gibb (pictured) sang lead vocals on the 1967 classic.
Robin Gibb (pictured) sang lead vocals on the 1967 classic. Picture: BBC
Released in 1967, 'Massachusetts' became the first of the Bee Gees five No.1 songs in the UK and would eventually go on to sell over five million copies worldwide. (Pictured, Barry Gibb)
Released in 1967, 'Massachusetts' became the first of the Bee Gees five No.1 songs in the UK and would eventually go on to sell over five million copies worldwide. (Pictured, Barry Gibb). Picture: BBC
Released in 1967, 'Massachusetts' became the first of the Bee Gees five No.1 songs in the UK and would eventually go on to sell over five million copies worldwide.
At the video's 1:40 mark the three sing in perfect harmony as they up the ante for the spine-tingling performance, much to the delight of the enraptured audience. Picture: BBC

See more: Watch the extraordinary moment the Bee Gees busked on the streets of London in 1993

"There are two different memories," Barry recalled: "Robin remembers us doing it in a boat going around New York City.

"And I remember us checking in at the St. Regis with Robert, going to the suite, and while the bags were being brought in we were so high on being in New York, that's how 'Massachusetts' began.

"I think we were strumming basically the whole thing, and then I think we went on a boat round New York. I don't know if we finished it, but I think that's where the memories collide.

See more: When Andy Gibb joined the Bee Gees for a rare phenomenal performance of 'You Should Be Dancing'

"Everybody wrote it. All three of us were there when the song was born."

At almost 40-years-old the video from 1982 is even more poignant now that out of the three brothers only Barry Gibb is still alive and making music.

Before their deaths the trio went through famous periods of estrangement and speaking in 2012, Barry Gibb reflected on the relationship with his brothers and his regrets over their deaths.

See more: Bee Gees: Excruciating moment trio walk off Clive Anderson TV show after host's music jibes

Bee Gee Robin Gibb (top left) passed away in 2012 after battling cancer for a number of years, while Robin's twin brother Maurice Gibb (bottom left) died in 2003 due to complications of a twisted intestine.
Bee Gee Robin Gibb (top left) passed away in 2012 after battling cancer for a number of years, while Robin's twin brother Maurice Gibb (bottom left) died in 2003 due to complications of a twisted intestine. Picture: Getty

"My greatest regret is that every brother I’ve lost was in a moment when we weren’t getting on, so I have to live with that and I’ll spend the rest of my life reflecting on that," he said.

See more: When Barry Gibb tenderly kissed Barbra Streisand live on stage at the 1981 Grammy Awards

"I’m the last man standing. I’ll never be able to understand that as I’m the eldest."

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.

See more: Barry Gibb inviting Maurice's daughter on stage for duet of 'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart' is so moving

Their younger brother Andy Gibb died aged just 30 in 1988 after battling drug addiction and depression for many years.