Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 62.
Robin, his twin brother Maurice and older brother Barry Gibb formed the Bee Gees (Brothers Gibb) in Brisbane, Australia in 1958 just after the family migrated from Manchester, UK to Australia. Maurice and Robin were 9-years old at the time. Barry was 12.
Robin was officially the lead singer of the Bee Gees although brother Barry added the falsetto lead to the group’s disco hits of the 70s.
The Bee Gees first hit was ‘Spicks and Specks’ in Australia in 1966. It was actually their 12th single. Their Australian label Festival Records was about to drop them when they scored that first hit. ‘Spicks and Specks’ was voted the Best Single of 1967 by Go-Set magazine.
The Bee Gees went on to sell over 200 million records making them one of the biggest selling acts of all-time behind Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney.
In 1967, the Gibb’s father Hugh sent a demo to The Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Brian passed on the group but sent the demo to his friend Robert Stigwood who picked them up for a 5-year contract. Their first song with Stigwood, ‘New York Mining Disaster 1941’ became a Top 20 hit in the UK and USA. Their next single ‘To Love Somebody’ was covered by Janis Joplin. ‘Massachusetts’ became their first UK number 1.
Things went sour in 1970 when ‘I.O.I.O.’ failed to chart. Maurice left the band and Barry recorded a solo album that was never released. By the end of the year, the brothers had made up and the Bee Gees were back together for more hits including ‘How Can You Mend A Broken Heart’, ‘My World’ and ‘Run To Me’.
By 1973, the hits had run out and it once again looked like it was all over for the Bee Gees until they met soul music producer Arif Mardin. Mardin took them in a new direction … R&B. Their friend Eric Clapton suggested they move to Miami and there with Mardin they recorded the songs that gave them a new life ‘Jive Talking’ and ‘Nights On Broadway’.
Their next album ‘Children Of The World’ contained the first of their disco hits ‘You Should Be Dancing’. At the time Robert Stigwood had branched into film and was making ‘Saturday Night Fever’. He recruited the Bee Gees to put together the soundtrack after the film had been made. They wrote ‘Night Fever’, ‘Staying Alive’ and ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ for the movie. It gave them three US number one hits and the soundtrack became the biggest selling soundtrack of all-time.
Barry was writing more songs than the brothers could use. He gave ‘Emotion’ to Aussie singer Samantha Sang, ‘Islands In The Stream’ to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers and Franki Valli recorded ‘Grease’ for the movie of the same name. The Bee Gees were the hottest performers and songwriters on the planet.
The final Bee Gees album was ‘This Is Where I Came In’ in 2001. It was their 22nd.
The Bee Gees officially ended in 2003 with the death of Maurice. Barry and Robin announced then that they would never perform as the Bee Gees again. However, they did plan a live reunion in 2009 but it never went ahead.
Robin Gibb was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 but was not presented with the award until 2004, delayed because of the death of his Maurice. Robin was also awarded the Honorary Degree of the Doctor of Music by the University of Manchester in 2004.
Robin’s health problems began in August, 2010 when he started to have stomach pains and was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery for a blocked intestine. It was the same condition that killed his brother Maurice in 2003. (His other brother Andy Gibb died in 1988 at the age of 30).
In November, 2011, Gibb revealed he had been battling colon and liver cancer. On March 4, 2012 Robin announced he was in remission from cancer but was again hospitalised on March 28. He slipped into a coma, yesterday, April 14.
Robin is survived by his mother Barbara, brother Barry, wife Dwina, daughter Melissa and sons Spencer and Robin-John.