If The Beatles defined the sound of the sixties then The Bee Gees were the sound of the seventies.

The unique, close harmonies of the Gibb brothers – Barry and twins Robin and Maurice – are instantly recognisable and helped them sell a staggering 220 million records worldwide.

This Friday, Barry will be at the London Hilton, to pick up one of the most prestigious awards in music, The Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Lifetime Achievement Award, in front of fellow nominees Coldplay, Alison Moyet, Labrinth and Jessie Ware.

In a call from his home in Miami, the 66 year old, who will play the O2 in October, told me why this honour is particularly special.

“This Lifetime Achievement Award is wonderful and really exciting because it is an individual award, which is unusual for me,” said Barry.

“Most of our lives we picked up awards as a group, so this is unique.  In fact it’s probably the first award I have received in England as an individual, so that’s really nice.”

They could all write, but eldest brother Barry comes second only to Paul McCartney in the all time rankings of the world’s best selling songwriters. 

As the composer of dozens of hits, from Night Fever and Jive Talking, through to Guilty for Barbra Streisand, and Grease for Frankie Valli, Barry Gibb is a true legend.  He is also one of the richest men in pop with a reputed $100 million fortune from his back catalogue of songs.

Sadly, the last time he was in the UK, was to attend the funeral of his brother Robin, who died after a battle with cancer, exactly a year ago this month. Robin’s twin Maurice, died in 2002 after complication with a stomach condition, while youngest brother Andy - also a top selling solo artiste - died from a heart attack, aged just 30, in 1988.

Quite naturally, after so much tragedy, Barry couldn’t face performing without his brothers.

“For about the last five years it wasn’t really something I wanted to do at all because of everything that had happened,” he explained.

“But we have been dealing with that (as a family) - we are all important to each other - and it seems like the sun is coming out and I am hungry to play.” 

Following a successful short tour of Australia, playing some of the Bee Gees hits and some of his new compositions, with his son Stephen and Maurice’s daughter Samantha, Barry is bringing their Mythology show to the O2 in October.

“I love being on stage, I love every second of it and for me this (show) is a celebration  - a celebration of my brothers and the music,” said Barry.

The Gibb Brothers, who were born on the Isle of Man and brought up in Australia, saw themselves as musicians and songwriters rather than  “a traditional pop group” right from the start back in 1958. 

They first became famous in the 1960’s but their international star took off after they wrote and sang the music for the disco movie Saturday Night Fever.

“Living in that moment was absolutely incredible, but we didn’t know - we were quite naive,” said Barry.

“But then, most things that are really successful are not things that are planned.”

When Barry toured Australia earlier this year with the Mythology concerts he was touched by the audience reaction and says he can’t wait for the O2 concert.

“For the first time in my life I am seeing the people who really care about the music,” he commented.

“The audiences are wonderful from the word go - they are receptive and they don’t say “make us happy.” They are already happy! It’s fantastic.”

For more information on Barry Gibb’s Mythology concert on October 3, visit www.O2.co.uk