They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

And then there was one. With his brother Robin’s passing in May, Barry Gibb became the sole surviving Bee Gee; today marks the first time since he was three years old that he doesn’t have a brother Gibb around to see him celebrate his birthday.

“I will live on the music,” he tweeted to his fans, “and no matter what stage I’m standing on my three brothers will be standing there with me.”

With this in mind, we offer these five songs written by the second most successful songwriter in history (trailing only a certain Sir Paul) in the hopes that turning 66 will fill him with more joy than regret, more smiles than sorrow. After all, the performers featured here couldn’t have given these performances without him, and the fact that they were indeed so inspired is a gift that truly is worth celebrating.

MP3: Labi Siffre – Words (Bee Gees cover)
“Words” was the first Bee Gees song with Barry and Barry alone on vocals. This cover is by Labi Siffre, best known for providing the music that Eminem sampled in “My Name Is.” He’s not about the beats here, though; instead, he’s all about the gentle, beautiful melody and the bottomless lyrics.

MP3: Slobberbone – To Love Somebody (Bee Gees cover)
Written for Otis Redding (who died before he could record it), “To Love Somebody” is one of the Bee Gees’ most-covered tracks, and the range of artists who’ve taken it on may surprise you. Janis Joplin, Nina Simone, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Rita Marley, Rod Stewart, Hank Williams Jr., and hundreds of others have declaimed the universal truth that we don’t know what it’s like. Here’s an alt-country take by Slobberbone that finds the song sounding just as fresh as ever, in a category that arguably didn’t even exist when the song was written.

MP3: The Jigsaw Seen – Melody Fair (Bee Gees cover)
“Melody Fair” (featuring an early Barry falsetto) is a tender tribute to the innocence and beauty of youth; the cult movie Melody (an inspiration for this year’s Moonrise Kingdom) truly needed it on its soundtrack. The Jigsaw Seen gave it the psychedelic pop treatment, but the explosions of gauzy guitars can’t hide that awesome melody.

MP3: Arrica Rose – Tragedy (Bee Gees cover)
It’s unfair that so many associate the Bee Gees with nothing but the white suits and gold chains of disco. Great rewards await those who can get past those dressings, however; the songs beneath are some of the band’s strongest. Witness Arrica Rose’s version of “Tragedy”; refitted in indie threads, fraught with a pain not immediately evident in the original, the song regains the impact that had been saved for only the closest listeners.

MP3: Feist – Islands in the Stream (Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton cover)
Barry and his brothers didn’t have to perform their songs to see them become smashes; to name just one example, “Islands in the Stream” was the biggest hit in both Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s performing careers. Feist, who had previously done nice work with the Bee Gees’ “Love You Inside Out,” joins the Constantines for some back and forth expressions of devotion. This is a love song for grown-ups, richer and more intricate than the silly ones that fill the world, and all the more rewarding for it.

BarryGibb.com keeps fans posted on the latest events in Barry’s life.

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2 Responses to “They Say It’s Your Birthday: Barry Gibb”

Comments (2)
  1. Dear berry I know it is hard for you to celebrate your birthday the way you want to ; but try to injoy your day god has bless you so you can see another day.you have to keep on living your life thats the way your brothers would have wanted the time you and your brother spent together will go down in history no can ever take the place of the brother gibb but berry sweet heart this is your birthday weekend and you should just kick back in relax have a glass of wine with your wife dace together and know she will never live you and she is your lover/soul mate/best friend/but most of all she is your wife and I know she love you do you know the day you and linda was married I was only 3 years old I;m 47 years old today and I still love you more today ; that will never change I know how much you miss your bropthers robin/maruice/ and andy and not for get your dad, they all are looking over you berry and you and your family will always be in my pray, I will love you forever; sit back and have a nice weekend you are another year older. so a big shot out to the one and only berry gibb HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY and many more [arnita gail freeman]

  2. And one moe thing your I know your children are very proud of you in every way.I know if you was my dad the first thing I would wanted you to do for me wrght my first song and to do a song with you. so just in joy this tme with family and friends and always know you will always be in my heart.when I sit back and look at all the things the brother gibb has done together I can say I thank god for you and your brothers. the bee gees may this world a great place to live in over the years. so good night sweet prince and know that you are loved today tomorrow and for ever more[arnita gail freeman]

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