Goodbye to a Bee Gee: Robin Gibb
OBITUARY | Pop legend Robin Gibb, who believed he led a charmed existence with his band the Bee Gees, the fifth biggest selling pop act of all time, has died aged 62.
POP legend Robin Gibb, who once described his life as being “like a Nintendo game”, believing he led a charmed existence with his band the Bee Gees, has died aged 62.
The singer cheated death twice in the mid-1960s, surviving a family car crash in Australia and later a train disaster in London that killed 49 people.
At the time, the Bee Gees – formed with his twin Maurice and older brother Barry – were on the cusp of fame, but it wasn’t until the `70s disco era that super stardom beckoned.
The group’s contribution to the Saturday Night Fever album in 1977 made it the best-selling movie soundtrack ever, with more than 40 million copies sold.
In a flash, The Bee Gees – short for the Brothers Gibb – became famous around the world for their tight, high harmonies, snappy melodies and original sound.
In total, the Bee Gees achieved nine number one songs and sold 110 million records, placing them fifth in pop history behind Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney.
The trio considered themselves songwriters first and foremost though. Following the success of Saturday Night Fever, the brothers became the composers of choice for the likes of Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton and Barbra Streisand with ’Woman In Love’ , penned by Robin and Barry, being her biggest selling single.
Gibb also led a successful solo career and released seven albums under his own steam, including this year’s Titanic Requiem to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
The third of five children, Gibb was born on the Isle of Man in the UK on December 22, 1949, half an hour before his twin brother Maurice.
When he was nine, the family moved to Brisbane where the twins formed a pop band called the Bee Gees with their elder brother Barry.
They topped the Australian charts with ‘Spicks and Specks‘ and moved back to England in 1967 where they recorded their early hits, including ‘New York Mining Disaster 1941′, ‘Massachusetts’ and ‘I Started a Joke’; the latter remembered fondly by fans for showcasing Robin Gibbs’ vulnerability. Continued below …
Robin Gibb left the Bee Gees in 1969 and went solo with the single ‘Saved By The Bell’, before reuniting with his brothers a year later to kick-start their ascent to fame.
He returned as a solo artist after the Bee Gees disbanded in 2003 when Maurice died and has worked with a number of British pop stars including Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Tom Jones and Boy George.
The singer always maintained his connection to Australia, releasing the song Alan Freeman Days in tribute to the radio DJ and appearing as a mentor on talent show The X Factor.
Since 2010 Gibb has battled health problems but appeared over the worst after he announced his recovery from liver and colon cancer this year, before falling ill again with pneumonia.
A vegan and a teetotaller, in a recent interview Gibb pondered whether his illness was ‘karma’ for the fame and fortune he enjoyed.
“I sometimes wonder if all the tragedies my family has suffered, like Andy and Maurice dying so young and everything that’s happened to me recently, is a kind of karmic price we are paying for all the fame and fortune we’ve had,” he said.
A Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Gibb once said he wanted the Bee Gees hit ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ played at his funeral. Continued below …
Gibb died on Sunday after a long battle with cancer, his family announced.
He leaves behind his wife, Dwina Murphy Gibb, and their three children, Spencer, Melissa and Robin-John, and a fourth child, Snow, with his housekeeper, Claire Yang.
- With AAP