The Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb: “Country Music Always Inspired Us”

Pop icon expounds on his love of the format and working with Kenny Rogers.

When you think of the Bee Gees, country music doesn’t immediately spring to mind, but the pop group’s sole surviving member, Barry Gibb, has a special fondness for the format. The singer produced a Kenny Rogers album 30 years ago, teamed up with Ricky Skaggs for a project last year and famously purchased the Nashville-area home of Johnny and June Cash in 2006. (The home was destroyed by fire during renovations the following year, before Barry and his wife could move in.)

But Barry, who makes his home in Miami, travels often to Nashville and says he’s long been drawn to country music. Growing up with his musical brothers, “country music always inspired us,” he told Country Weekly on the red carpet of the Country Music Hall of Fame’s annual Medallion Ceremony Oct. 27. Barry was on hand to induct Kenny into the Hall, and performed “Islands in the Stream” with singer Kelly Lang in tribute. Later that week, Barry also performed on the Grand Ole Opry.

“I love Nashville and I love this music,” he said. “Since my brothers passed, I’ve been able to be self-indulgent. I’ve been able to go where I love the music,” he said of his frequent trips to Music City.

Asked what draws him to country music, Barry told Country Weekly, “Bluegrass drives me to country music. The original immigrant music takes me there. The music of Ricky and Ralph Stanley and the Stanley Brothers and Bill Monroe makes me high. I love it, and it goes right through me.”

Dwight Yoakam cut the Bee Gees’ hit “To Love Somebody” for the bonus edition of his 3 Pears project last year, and Barry says plenty of other Bees Gees songs would lend themselves to the country treatment. “There’s a lot of country songs in our repertoire,” he said. “‘Words’ is a country song, and I think ‘How Can You Mend a Broken Heart’ would make a lovely country record for somebody.”

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