Rock’in The Box
Robin Gibb Tribute
The Bee Gees on 2Gs and The Pop People
LWT/ ITV Network, 10 June 1972
On Sunday, 20 May, the family of Bee Gees star Robin Gibb announced with great sadness that the singer had passed away from liver and kidney failure following his long battle with cancer. Besides losing a true gentleman and a giant of the entertainment industry, the world had also lost another Bee Gees (Maurice sadly passed away in 2003, leaving Barry as the sole remaining brother).
As a tribute to both Robin and the group, we dedicate this month’s Rockin’ The Box to the powerhouse pop and disco trio, focusing on their largely-forgotten 1972 appearence on the weekly London Weekend Television peak time pop/variety show, 2Gs and The Pop People.
Videotaped in colour at the station’s studio on London’s South Bank on 4 may 1972 – a lenghty five weeks prior to broadcast – the three-piece performed pitch-perfect versions of two Bee Gees originals, Morning of My Life (originally covered in 1967 by the Israeli husband-and-wife-duo, Abi & Esther Ofarim) in the first half of the show and Walking Back To Waterloo (from their 1971 long-player Trafalgar) in the second. A scant, on-screen history of the band (ie, “In 1965, the Gibb brothers won Australia’s top songwriting award…” and “In 1966 voted Australia’s top group…”) accompanied the first song. The second was performed around the piano, with Maurice at the keys and Robin and Barry standing at the fat end of the instrument.
The rest of hte show featured 2Gs and The Pop People’s hosts, the dance troupe The Second Generation (the 2Gs of the title), lip-synching and the energetically gyrating their way through songs such as Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary and the Chiffons’ Sweet Talking Guy. Other star guests during this week’s episode included a brief, uncredited appearence by campo comedion Larry ‘Shut That Door’ Grayson and the BBC DJ and singer Jimmy Young, who gave the audience a musical cookery lesson for cheese and onion pie (culinary expositions had become something of a staple diet on practically every one of his mid-morning Radio 1 shows).
Interestingly, the episode also boasted an appearance from Lulu, who was married to Maurice Gibb at the time. Her repertoire included the single It Takes A Real Man (To Bring Out The Woman In Me) and a cover of The Moody Blues’ 1967 hit Nights in White Satin. A humorous peek at Lulu’s family photo album led to the singer appearing in a variety of guises, such as herself in the 60s, the singer Marlene Dietrich and a slightly flawed impression of Marilyn Monroe.
Thankfully, The Bee Gees reappeared during the end credits for a bizarre set piece in which they where fed food presumably prepared during Jimmy Young’s cookery demonstration (Maurice was clearly uimpressed by whatever his black-bereted wife had on the end of her fork). With a total running time of just under 39 minutes, the programme received its television premiere across the ITV Network during the evening of Saturday, 10 June 1972; regrettably, very little of it has been seen since. For both Bee Gees fans and music historians alike, however, this deserver to be rectified soon. Keith Badman (KeithBadman.com), with special thanks to RIchard Higgins at ITN Source (ITNSource.com). All images copyright ITN Source.