Bee Gees Co-Founder Robin Gibb Dead At 62

Robin Gibb, who along with his older brother Barry and twin brother Maurice, comprised the Bee Gees died today in England after a long battle with cancer:

Robin Gibb, one of the three singing brothers of the Bee Gees, the long-running Anglo-Australian pop group whose chirping falsettos and hook-laden disco hits like “Jive Talkin” and “You Should Be Dancing” shot them to worldwide fame in the 1970s, died on Sunday. He was 62.

The cause was complications from cancer and intestinal surgery, his family said in a statement.

Mr. Gibb had been hospitalized for intestinal problems several times in the last two years. Cancer had spread from his colon to his liver, and in the days before his death he contracted pneumonia and fell into a coma.

Mr. Gibb was the second Bee Gee and third Gibb brother to die. His fraternal twin and fellow Bee Gee, Maurice Gibb, died of complications of a twisted intestine in 2003 at 53. The youngest brother, Andy, who had a successful solo career with hits like “Shadow Dancing,” was 30 when he died of heart failure, in 1988.

With brilliant smiles, polished funk and adenoidal close harmonies, the Bee Gees — Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb — were disco’s ambassadors to Middle America in the mid to late 1970s, embodying the peacocked look of the time in their open-chested leisure suits and gold medallions.

They sold well over 100 million albums and had six consecutive No. 1 singles from 1977 to 1979. They were also inextricably tied to the disco era’s defining movie, “Saturday Night Fever,” a showcase for their music that included the hit “Stayin’ Alive,” its propulsive beat in step with the strut of the film’s star, John Travolta.

But the group, whose first record came out in 1963, had a history that preceded its disco hits, starting with upbeat ditties inspired by the Everly Brothers and the Beatles, then with lachrymose ballads like “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.”

I had actually forgotten that Maurice Gibb had passed away several years ago until reading the linked article. That leaves Barry Gibb as the last surviving member of a quartet of brothers who managed to sell hundreds of millions of albums during a very short period of time in the late 70s and early 80s.

Here’s a little taste of that pre-disco version of the Bee Gees:

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Popular Culture, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    Really a shame. Andy ruined his own life with addiction and recklessness; still three of the four brothers died way too young. Interesting that the oldest brother and the namesake of the band is the only survivor.

  2. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    It seems that too much of the media is stuck in “Staying Alive” land. The Bee Gees had a whole bunch of wonderful songs in the second half of the ’60s that seem to have fallen off the musical radar screen. The Bee Gees first “Greatest Hits” album is still a piece of work. Any number of other artists, including “The Animals” covered their songs especially “To Love Somebody”.