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BEE GEES HEAD TO THE TOWER

Steve Barnett’s Capitol has closed a deal encompassing the complete catalog of The Bee Gees. The pact, announced by Barnett and surviving brother Barry Gibb, brings the famed pop trio’s 22 albums—including the massive Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and a bevy of ’60s smashes, and totaling some 220m copies sold—into the Tower, along with unreleased material, compilations and more. Capitol and Bruce Resnikoff’s UMe will work in tandem on the project. John Branca repped the Bee Gees in the deal.

Team Capitol is mum about the specifics of its plan for the trove of material (available hitherto for streaming and download via WMG), but it’s reasonable to surmise that we’ll be seeing mondo repackagings, cover versions, remixes, syncs, playlists and more. A plan is in place to assess the unreleased material early next year.

The announcement comes in the wake of Capitol’s high-profile deals with such legends as Paul McCartney and Neil Diamond; the Bee Gees’ oeuvre joins The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Motown greats, Nat King Cole and signal Frank Sinatra recordings in getting the Tower treatment.

UMG overlord Sir Lucian Grainge has a long history with the harmonizing trio, who have spent a cumulative 22+ years in the Universal family (on Polydor/ATCO and RSO) and are now returning home.

“The Bee Gees catalogue is one of the most esteemed and important bodies of work in the history of recorded music, and we are brimming with ideas that will remind fans of its brilliance and further the band’s legacy by introducing their music to new audiences,” proclaimed Barnett, while changing into his all-white disco togs.  “All of us at the company are honored that The Bee Gees have chosen Capitol as their new home.”

"We are brimming with ideas that will remind fans of [the Bee Gees'] brilliance and further the band’s legacy by introducing their music to new audiences." 
—Steve Barnett

“The whole family is overwhelmed by this new agreement,” said Barry Gibb. “To be surrounded by the greatest record people and artists of all time is a very humbling experience. Wish my brothers were here to share it.”

"There are few artists in history who have created a body of work so successful, diverse and timeless as Barry, Robin and Maurice,” noted Grainge. "We’re delighted to welcome the incomparable music of the Bee Gees to the Universal Music Group family and we look forward to building upon their incredible legacy.”

Added Resnikoff: “The music of the Bee Gees appeals to music lovers in every corner of the globe, and it is an honor to work with this incredible catalog of recorded music. We look forward to showcasing their exceptional body of work and introducing them to a new legion of fans while staying true to their longtime, loyal audience.”

The Brothers Gibb first saw fame in 1967 with the infelicitously titled “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” subsequently scaling the charts with singles like “I Started a Joke,” “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” “To Love Somebody,” “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” “Lonely Days,” “Massachusetts,” “Words” and more. But it was with 1978’s disco-powered ST Saturday Night Fever that the group flew into the stratosphere; the “Various Artists” set has sold 40m copies worldwide. The Bee Gees have six songs on the 17-song collection, but they’re all gargantuan hits: “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Night Fever,” “More Than a Woman,” “Jive Talkin’” and “You Should Be Dancing.” Fever was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress in 2013.

The group scored eight Grammys, five AMAs, a BRIT Award and other trophies, and have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Dance Music Hall of Fame. Barry and late brothers Robin (who died in 2003) and Maurice (who passed away in 2012) were appointed Commanders in the Order of the British Empire in 2001.

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