Barry Gibb Reflects On How Fame Consumed Michael Jackson


Although the Bee Gees' level of fame at several different points in their career was overwhelming — sole survivor Barry Gibb is grateful that it never took over their lives. In a new chat with Mojo, Gibb talked about how the group's early popularity turned him and his late brothers Robin and Maurice against one another, explaining, "Fame was like a drug, y'know, that made us feel like we had to compete with each other. I guess that’s what happens, especially ultra fame, which I never had, I’ll never get and I don’t want it. That’s the kind of fame that destroys you."

Gibb went on to say, "I got to know Michael Jackson pretty well. I noticed how lonely he was. He’d lost the ability to trust anybody. That’s what that kind of fame does. You don’t believe that anybody wants to be your friend without a reason. You look for the unconditional love, but it’s not there at that level of fame. So Michael traveled around visiting people who were famous like him, just to be able to relate to somebody else. I know he used to go and see Marlon Brando quite a bit. He would just walk into famous people’s houses, and he felt comfortable doing that."

He spoke about how the public persona of Michael Jackson became his reality: "We spent weeks together, I got to know him pretty well, and he was very lonely and isolated. He would sit in my lounge dressed as if he was going on stage. It had basically taken over his whole life. He didn’t know how to be a normal person any more. He wished he was somewhere else, or someone else. I never had that kind of fame. I managed to keep my distance, love and raise my kids and basically keep my sanity, to some extent. That’s probably my best achievement."

Family has always been incredibly important to the Gibb clan. Barry Gibb recalled how in 1966 the teenage Gibbs convinced their parents that pop stardom could only be achieved by sailing back to Britain from their adopted home in Australia: ["It was very difficult for mum and dad to think, 'Well, hang on — we're going to have to give up making a living in order to take this chance, in order to get back on a ship and sail five more weeks back across the world to England on the chance that our three sons think they could be stars.' But we told them, 'This is what we're going to do, mum and dad. This is what we're going to do, and you've got to go with us. You've got to do this with us.'"] SOUNDCUE (:22 OC: . . . this with us)

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