Bee Gees’ Awards History

Paul Grein
Stop The Presses!

Billboard didn't have a prime-time TV show in 1978 on which to dole out awards to the year's top sellers. If it had, Bee Gees would have gotten a real workout sprinting up to the stage to pick up all their prizes. The brother trio was the year's Top Pop Singles Artist and Top Pop Albums Artist in the magazine's year-end chart recap issue. Saturday Night Fever, which they dominated, was the year's #1 album and #1 soundtrack. Bee Gees were also the year's Top Pop Producers (in conjunction with their colleagues Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson).

The brothers—Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb--would have been finalists in several other TV categories as well. They had two of the year's top five singles: "Night Fever" at #2 and "Stayin' Alive" at #4. ("Night Fever" was blocked from the top spot by Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing," which the brothers co-wrote with their younger brother Andy.)

"How Deep Is Your Love," which was the year's #6 pop hit, was also the year's #2 easy listening hit (that was  the old term for adult contemporary). The brothers were the year's #3 easy listening artists. Fever was the year's #3 soul album (just behind albums by Earth, Wind & Fire and Commodores).

Bee Gees also did extremely well on the year-end charts the following year. Spirits Having Flown was the #2 album of 1979, just behind Billy Joel's 52nd Street. Bee Gees had three of the year's top 30 singles: "Too Much Heaven" at #11, "Tragedy" at #16 and "Love You Inside Out" at #33.

Bee Gees and Kris Kristofferson co-hosted the first Billboard Music Awards TV show in late 1977. That may seem like an odd pairing—OK, it was an odd pairing—but both acts were at the forefront of the pop movie/music boom. Saturday Night Fever opened on Dec. 16, 1977; A Star Is Born, in which Kristofferson starred opposite Barbra Streisand, had opened one year earlier.

Bee Gees had a long history of scoring big on the year-end Billboard charts. "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" was the #5 hit of 1971. "Jive Talkin'" was #12 for 1975. "You Should Be Dancing" was #31 for 1976. (That same year, Bee Gees were crowned the Top Singles Duo or Group, over Captain & Tennille and Wings.)

They also scored on the year-end album charts. Main Course was the #24 album of 1976, Children Of The World was #24 for 1977, Here At Last…Bee Gees….Live was #21 for 1978, Bee Gees Greatest was  #33 for 1980.

Bee Gees received their first Grammy nomination for their 1971 smash "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart." The heartfelt ballad competed for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. (They lost to another world-class sibling act, Carpenters.)

None of the songs from Saturday Night Fever was nominated for an Oscar, which seemed wrong at the time and seems ludicrous now. Bee Gees had better luck at the Grammys. They won their first Grammy on Feb. 23, 1978 (when Fever was in its sixth week at #1) for "How Deep Is Your Love," which won for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. They beat a high-powered field which also included Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan and Crosby, Stills & Nash. That same year, they (in conjunction with Galuten and Richardson) became the first musical group to be nominated for Producer of the Year. (They lost to Peter Asher, who was best known at the time for his work with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor.)

At the Grammys on Feb. 15, 1979, Bee Gees won five awards, including two prizes (as artist and producer) for Album of the Year for Saturday Night Fever. They were only the second group or duo to win five Grammys in one night, following Simon & Garfunkel, which won five in 1971. (Paul Simon won two additional awards on his own that year.)

Fever was the first movie soundtrack to win as Album of the Year. (Two others have since picked up the award: Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard and O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

Bee Gees also won as Producer of the Year (in conjunction with Galuten and Richardson) on their second try. They were the first musical group to win that award. Two other groups, Toto and the Neptunes (a.k.a. Nerd), have since followed suit.

Bee Gees' other awards that night were Best Arrangement for Voices for "Stayin' Alive" and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for Saturday Night Fever. Bee Gees were the first act to win in the latter category two years in a row since Carpenters won for 1970 and 1971. (No Doubt equaled the feat when they won for 2002 and 2003.)

As well as they did at that Grammys that year, Bee Gees were expected to win at least one and maybe two more awards. "Stayin' Alive" lost both Record and Song of the Year to Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are." The Song of the Year award often went to a standard-type song in those years, but the Record of the Year outcome was a big upset.

Barry and Robin had a return date at the Grammys two years later (on Feb. 25, 1981), when Barbra Streisand's Guilty was a multiple nominee. Barry, Galuten and Richardson co-produced both the album, which was a finalist for Album of the Year, and its smash single "Woman In Love," which was nominated for Record of the Year. Barry and Robin co-wrote "Woman In Love," which was a finalist for Song of the Year. Christopher Cross won all three awards (an outcome that short-changed Streisand and did Cross no favors: It was widely seen as a case of too much, too soon.)  Streisand and Barry Gibb won a consolation prize: Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Guilty."

The brothers received a Grammy Legend Award in 2003, just six weeks after Maurice Gibb's death. They are the only group or duo to receive that award, which has otherwise gone to solo stars, such as Elton John and Michael Jackson. Barry and Robin Gibb were on hand to accept the award.

Bee Gees were voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.