For many years already Maurice Gibb has lived in the same exclusive road in Miami Beach alongside his brothers Robin and Barry, but for the Christmas and New Year period, he and his wife Yvonne return to their white Edwardian house in Esher, Surrey (England).
The seasonal festivities there are legendary in show business circles, and now that they’re older, Maurice and Yvonne’s children: Adam and Samantha join in the late-night revelry too.
Though Maurice and Yvonne are the perfect hosts, the festive season is also a time of sad remembrance for Maurice, especially for his brother Andy, who died in 1988.
Maurice and his family
Maurice, formerly married to singer Lulu, says that he and his brothers think Andy, as “still being there”, particularly in the Bee Gees’ own studio in Miami, where they worked with him on all his records.
‘One day,’ he recalls, ‘I was doing the vocals for one of the tracks from the album when I heard a creaking noise behind me.
I turned round and I could see through the glass booth that the swivel chair he always used to use in the studio had turned round of its own accord.
The same thing happened half an hour later, so I know Andy’s around, which is very comforting.’
We spoke to Maurice in the brink of 1995 and he told us how he beat the demon drink and won back his family’s trust over 1994.
The star who found fame with his brothers with hits such as Night Fever and Tragedy, admits that the specter of the drink problem which had conspired to destroy him with disturbing regularity was still haunting him this time last year.
With the help of the New Life rehabilitation clinic in Miami, and its follow-up Transitions programme, Maurice is now detoxified, although he regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
‘I don’t have to keep going to the meetings,’ he confides, ‘but if it makes me feel good when I do go to them, then there’s no reason why I should stop.
Now I also have a wonderful AA support group in England around the Surrey area.
It’s a boon.’
At the beginning of 1994, tabloid headliners were screaming: ‘Bee Gee star back inside booze clinic’.
‘They got it wrong’
, insists Maurice.