Robin Gibb, one of the three fantastically talented Gibb brothers who made up the Bee Gees, today passed away after a long battle with cancer aged just 62.. Robin, along with his brother Maurice, who died in 2003 and elder brother Barry together made up probably one of the most successful singer song-writer groups of all time. It has been estimated that the Bee Gees’ career record sales total more than 220 million, making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. His music will be greatly missed. The trio’s pop-songwriting instincts and distinctive high harmonies led to many No. 1 hits over five decades. Asked in 2010 for his greatest achievement, Gibb told The Guardian: “Having the most successful catalog of songs in the world, alongside Lennon and McCartney.”
The band of Gibb brothers was famed for the influential 1977 “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack that became one of the fastest-selling albums of all time with its innovative fusion of harmony and pulsing dance floor rhythms, along with Night Fever and Jive Talkin’.
They enjoyed success in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s.
Robin also charted intermittently as a solo artist. He released six solo albums between 1970 and 2006, and scored a British No 1 single as recently as 2009 with a new version of the Bee Gees’ song ‘Islands in the Stream’, originally performed by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers for Comic Relief.
Robin Gibb was born on the Isle of Man, twin brother of Maurice, and son of Barbara, a former singer, and Hugh Gibb, a bandleader. The family moved to Chorlton, Manchester, in the 1950s. Robin, Maurice and their older brother, Barry, took to music early and made their first appearances onstage as a between-shows act at cinemas, in Manchester, in 1955. In 1958 the family moved to Brisbane, Australia, where the trio performed as the Brothers Gibb. They were given their own local TV show and changed their name to the BGs, which later became the Bee Gees, and in 1962 signed to Festival records.
“We wanted to make music all our lives and it evolved to a point where the only people who could understand that were the three of us,” Robin said. “We didn’t feel comfortable with anybody but ourselves. The three of us were like one person.”They had begun writing their own material, but suffered a string of flops before finally achieving a modest hit with Wine and Women. In late 1966, well aware of the pop-music boom happening in Britain, they moved back to their original homeland. Ironically, their song Spicks and Specks then topped the Australian charts. Meanwhile, they impressed Robert Stigwood, a pop entrepreneur who had become a partner in the Beatles manager Brian Epstein’s Nems organisation. Stigwood became their manager, and, in 1967, the trio scored their first international hit with New York Mining Disaster 1941, which made No 12 in the UK and No 4 in the US.
Over a period of 40 years, Robin – alongside twin brother Maurice and older brother Barry – racked up a string of hit singles and albums. There was another Gibb brother – Andy – who was also a successful musician – and their elder sister Lesley and her husband formed a band with Andy, but later went their separate ways. Andy passed away shortly after his 30th birthday in 1988.
From their early incarnation as pop troubadours to their dramatic reinvention as the kings of disco in the mid-1970s, they notched up more than 220 million album sales worldwide & they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Despite the band’s success Robin Gibb continued to pursue a solo career, but his music enjoyed more success in Europe than it did in either the UK or US. He also continued writing massive hit songs for other artists, co-writing four of the tracks – among them hit song ‘Woman in Love’ – on Barbra Streisand’s Guilty album with brother Barry.
Robin also co-wrote material for Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick and Kenny Rogers amongst others. His final work was in collaboration with his son, RJ, on The Titanic Requiem, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the naval disaster.
Robin Gibb was a talented singer and songwriter whose best work came from his collaboration with his brothers. Together they sold more records than the Rolling Stones, Abba or Elton John, but Gibb always felt the band had not received the recognition it deserved. Robin and his brothers have made a huge contribution to music worldwide and will be missed hugely; their unique style of harmonies and songwriting were a pleasure to listen to. The Bee Gees – Robin, Barry, Maurice and Andy are probably the biggest singer – songwriter family and group in British music history.
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