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Nine Eight Books to publish Bob Stanley’s ‘stylish and compelling’ biography Bee Gees: Children of the World

Bonnier Books UK’s dedicated music imprint, Nine Eight Books, has acquired the lyrical biography of one of the best-selling bands of all time from the renowned pop scholar Bob Stanley.

Pete Selby, publishing director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights as part of a three-book deal from David Godwin of David Godwin Associates.

The Bee Gees are one of the most important and influential bands in pop history. Their musical story spans the entire modern pop era and they are the only group to have scored British top-ten singles in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Yet, for a band of such renown, little is known about Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb. Weren’t two of them twins? Didn’t one of them marry Lulu? And why did they storm out of that Clive Anderson interview? 

Bob Stanley delivers the definitive biography of this incredible band of brothers, from the world-conquering disco successes like ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and ‘More Than a Woman’, the million-selling albums, the private jets and UNICEF concerts to the vicious split of 1969 to the unreleased albums, a demoralising cabaret season and disastrous TV and film appearances.

This compelling read captures the human story at the heart of the Bee Gees – an important and enigmatic group who continue to inspire musicians and fans alike with music which matches the imagination of the Beatles and the pop craft of ABBA.

Bob Stanley said: “Since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by the Bee Gees. The first things I heard were their early 70s ballads, ‘Run To Me’ and ‘My World’, and they seemed extraordinarily melancholy. Their harmonies were something else. A little later I became aware of their sixties hits, like ‘Massachusetts’ and ‘To Love Somebody’, and shortly after that they metamorphosed into the biggest group in the world. What happened after the disco years was rarely less than intriguing. Even in their darkest times, the Gibbs’ music was rarely off the chart, whether it was sung by Al Green (‘How Can You Mend a Broken Heart’), Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton (‘Islands in the Stream’) or Destiny’s Child (‘Emotion’). For me the Bee Gees’ story has the drama of Fleetwood Mac, and their music has the emotional heft of the Beach Boys. I wanted to write Children Of The World to explain how deeply strange, unique and important the Bee Gees are.” 

Pete Selby said: “To call Bob Stanley one of our greatest ever music writers feels slightly reductive. He doesn’t just write about music, he inhabits it. And Bee Gees – Children of the World is the definitive, immersive word on one of the most successful, most intriguing, most glorious groups of all time. There is no more dexterous and inquisitive a craftsman than Bob to guide you through their unique 60-year career – from the darker corners of the brother’s lives, to the songs that transcended their contemporaneous moorings to become modern days standards.”

Bob Stanley is a musician, journalist, author, film producer and pop historian. He is a member of the group Saint Etienne, which he co-founded in 1990, and has also enjoyed success as a music journalist, writing for the NMEMelody MakerMojo, the Guardian and The Times. He is a regular contributor to TV music documentaries, most notably for the BBC and Sky Arts, and has a parallel career as a DJ, producer of record labels and compilation archivist. In 2013, Stanley’s second publication, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop, was a best-selling title on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2021, his biography of the Fall (with Tessa Norton) was published to widespread critical acclaim.