I had the great honour once of meeting Maurice and his brothers for a few minutes before the Wembley Stadium, London concert in 1998. They took time out to have their photographs taken with the Manx flag, the 3 legs of Man. It was the same flag that the brothers chose to drape over Maurice's coffin on that sad Wednesday in January this year. In the 6 years from 1997 to date, I have had this website running about the Isle of Man and a large part of that was the brothers connections with the Isle as it was the land of their birth. A title that I had on the site for a long time was " Bringing the Bee Gees home to Ellan Vannin ". Although the brothers never did perform the concert that I dreamed of at the Gaiety Theatre Douglas, in a small sense, the use of the Manx flag in Miami did round the circle for Maurice.
Although only spending a few minutes with him, getting my photo taken and a quick hello, I felt that I knew Maurice. All the videos that we all watch again and again, where he would be the joker, the interviews on television, and that brief meeting told me that he and his brothers were nice guys, gentlemen. I was fortunate to see him again at the Wembley after show party, where they met a load of people, surely the last thing that anybody would want to do after being on stage for 2 hours, but as professionals I suppose it was all part of the job.
The Bee Gees co-operation with all the Manx things over the last 5 years has helped to tell the world that they are Manx, and I hope that the Manx people are proud of their boys. The Ellan Vannin charity CD, the stamps, the interview CD are all marvellous memories that we have, something to enjoy when the pain of January 2003 has started to drift away. We have a vast catalogue of Bee Gees goodies to enjoy, Mo will still joke about on the video's and to all the fans, he will never be forgotten.
People that know that I have a Bee Gees connection, sometimes the same people that have joked about them in the past, have come up to me and said, "bad news about Maurice". Their music is good time music, it is in peoples minds even if they don't realise it. To be in the 6 top selling artists of all time is not something that has happened by playing bad music, to play in the 1960's and still be playing in 2003 is not something that many artists have done. I believe in time their song writing talents will be even more recognised. In the year 2100, people will still know of the Brothers Gibb.
I am sure in the future there will be many tributes for Mo, but his legacy can never be taken away, because on so many all time classics, the CD notes will read by B. Gibb, R. Gibb & M. Gibb. To quote another Gibb song, he has immortality. On the Bernie Quayle Manx Radio show on that fateful Wednesday January 15th 2003, we had Ellan Vannin which was very poignant, but near the end of the show was a request for a song that I believe suited the situation perfectly, Spirits Having Flown. Goodbye Mo.
The Three Gibb Brothers were born at the Jane Crookall maternity hospital in Douglas on the Isle of Man in 1946 & 1949. They left the island for Manchester, England when the twins were about 5. They lived on the Island for their early years and Maurice and Barry lived there again in the mid 1970's. At this time, Andy Gibb also lived on the Isle.
The Bee Gees recorded the Manx Song "Ellan Vannin" for Manx Children in Need in April 1998, raising over £15,000 for the Children's Charity. The idea to try and get the song recorded was a joint one by Andrew Mon Hughes, Bernie Quayle and Keith Handley, who were all mentioned in the credits on the CD.
Where did the name "Ellan Vannin" come from ?. Originally, people on the IOM spoke Manx , a Gaelic Language, some still speak it now. Ellan Vannin is the "Isle of Man " in Manx, although true Manx Speakers might call the IOM "Mannin".
The Song "Ellan Vannin" was originally written as a Poem in 1854 and the tune was added to it the same year. The Bee Gees in 1998 have written a new final verse and slightly altered the words in their adaptation of Ellan Vannin. It was sung by the Bee Gees on their 1998-99 World Tour. The Charity CD of "ELLAN VANNIN" was SOLD OUT in 2 Days by April 25th 98.
The Day the Bee Gees Played Ellan Vannin at Wembley Stadium, London, September 1998.
On Saturday September 5th 1998 at Wembley Stadium in London England, the Bee Gees performed a wide selection of their many hits to a massive crowd seated in seats on the famous Wembley pitch and in the grandstand. The weather earlier in the day had been wet, but as the Bee Gees started to perform just after 8pm on that warm autumn evening, the sky's were clear, and after just a few songs, a full moon could be seen rising in the sky.
Before the concert, Isle of Man Minister of Tourism Mr David Cretney was photographed with the brothers. The Isle of Man had arranged for a large Manx flag to be brought to the stadium the previous day. It was filmed flying above Wembley Stadium.
In the concert itself, the 3 Legs of Man was the first image to be seen, the lights dropped and as the tension rose, the large video screens were filled with a large Red 3 legs of Man image. Over the next 30 seconds, it remained there as the music gradually built up, then the brothers exploded onto the stage to perform a memorable concert.
About half way through the concert , the brothers gave the first United Kingdom performance of the Manx Song Ellan Vannin. The video screen showed footage of the Island as Robin Gibb beautifully sang the haunting melody. The song ended with the video footage filmed the day earlier being shown. The song was very well received by the crowd. The official Tourbook contained a full page about the Isle of Man showing the 3 legs and the Ellan Vannin CD.
Where did the name "Ellan Vannin" come from ?. Ellan Vannin is the "Isle of Man " in Manx, and the Isle of Man is the Birthplace of The Brothers. The Song "Ellan Vannin" was originally written as a Poem in 1854 and the tune was added to it the same year. The Bee Gees in 1998 have written a new final verse .
A Fans View of Ellan Vannin at Wembley.
" I have to admit, I literally got goose bumps, when Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees sang Ellan Vannin. No other song did that to me that fabulous night at Wembley Stadium. Others made me dance, almost cry, or hold my breath but, not goose bumps like this song did. It was a spiritual experience for me at that moment. Who couldn't respond to the sound of drums and bagpipes swell in the background to lyrics such as "sparkling bright it shines for me", and the almost ethereal hush of "In all my times of sorrow...... I'll go back to Ellan Vannin, to my childhood days once more " ? , Robin's voice sounds purely angelic and carries the listener to heights far beyond the temporal "emerald waters" . Maybe the visuals of the beautiful island, the Isle of Man, used on the screen helped to take Ellan Vannin out of a rock concert and place the listener above the incredible island itself, soaring like the verses' seagull. The audience certainly gave a warm reception to the song even though many surely did not know the true connection to the Bee Gees. In other words, the song Ellan Vannin stands by itself. It stands as a masterpiece of musical adaptation for the Bee Gees and a glorious vocal performance for Robin Gibb. "
Bee Gees Isle of Man Stamps - The Bee Gees, The Legends of Music.
In 1999, The Isle of Man Post Office issued a set of Stamps and First Day Covers etc featuring The Bee Gees who were all born in the Jayne Crookall Maternity Hospital, Douglas, IOM in 1946 & 1949.
Press Release from The Isle of Man Post Office, Feb 5th 1999.
- The Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to announce plans for a new stamp issue titled "Legends of Music" celebrating the music and lyrics of the Bee Gees. Chairman of the Isle of Man Post Office, Alex Downie MHK (Member of the House of Keys - IOM Parliament) said "Final designs have been developed and we are delighted that Royal Approval has been granted". The Gibb brothers, Barry, Robin and Maurice, who were all born on the Isle of Man and are very proud of their Manx heritage have said that they are, "honoured and enthusiastically agree to be involved in any way possible with the official Isle of Man stamp issue".
The Isle of Man issue of Bee Gees Ellan Vannin CD & Stamps is now
( Try Ebay ! )
Readers Comments about Ellan Vannin.
From Mike, South Africa. " I first heard it just over 1 year ago here in South Africa on a tv show. I now have a cd copy. I left the island in Aug 1982 but felt so homesick when I heard it on tv. ! "
From Silvana in Brazil. "Two days after the last Christmas (2000) , I heard this wonderful brothers singing the hymm/song. It´s so good to hear the sound of celtic instruments. It´s so epic!!! .I`ve been in Ireland and Scotland, and I really intend to visit this beautiful Manx island, someday. Thank you very much and congratulations!"
From Maggie. - I have no connection at all with the IOM, but I am a big BEE GEES fan and have been since around the middle of the 1960''s. I have been collecting their music and items only for about 12 years but have built up quite a good collection. I adore Ellan Vannin. The first time I heard it was at Wembly Stadium Concert 3 years ago and vowed to get the record. I managed to get it first from Andrew Mon Hughes, one of the 1000 issued for the IOM Children in Need. I then purchased it again from the Post Office, along with the wonderful stamps. I have recently sent my pen pal a set of these. She lives in Nashville and had no chance of getting them before. They are a wonderful group and have kept me sane quite a few times. The best time was when my friends and I went to the recording studios about 10 years ago and met all three of them and had our photos taken - excellent.
From Alison P. - I was born in the same hospital as the Bee Gees and love the Isle of Man, I left 8 years ago to work in London but my parents still live there and I go back often. I have to disagree with Allan`s comments I think the Bee Gees did an amazing job of Ellan Vannin and I was immensely proud to see the Isle of Man flag flying at Wembley when they played there. I think Cilla Black should have tried to see that as she is convinced they were born in Manchester !
From Maggie.- I have never been to the IOM but would love to go there, because of the connection with BEE GEES. Totally agree with Alison's comments about Ellan Vannin and Wembley was pure magic. I would love to live that time over and over again.
From Guy. I am writing this letter to say that i have only just seen this website and that i am extremely impressed with it, i am a regular tt fan as my brother is one of the top 5 sidecar men. My dad has only missed coming to the island 3 times since 1954, and like him we all love it. I have heard the bee gees sing Ellan Vannin only once but was love struck from that moment, it was one of the most moving songs i have heard, but unfortunately i can't get hold of it. Please keep up the good work with this site.