Bee Gee Robin Gibb dies

2012-05-21 07:26

London - With his carefully tended hair, tight trousers and perfect harmonies, Robin Gibb, along with his brothers Maurice and Barry, defined the disco era. As part of the Bee Gees - short for the Brothers Gibb - they created dance floor classics like Stayin Alive, Jive Talkin', and Night Fever that can still get crowds onto a dance floor.

The catchy songs, with their falsetto vocals and relentless beat, are familiar pop culture mainstays. There are more than 6 000 cover versions of the Bee Gees hits, and they are still heard on dance floors and at wedding receptions, birthday parties, and other festive occasions.

Robin Gibb, 62, died Sunday "following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery", his family announced in a statement released by Gibb's representative Doug Wright.

Gibb was the second disco-era star to die this week. Donna Summer - who earned the Queen of Disco title by singing Last Dance and I Feel Love - died of cancer in Florida on Thursday.

WATCH: The Top 5 Bee Gees hits

The Bee Gees, born in England but raised in Australia, began their career in the musically rich 1960s but it was their soundtrack for the 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever that sealed their success. The album's signature sound - some called it "blue-eyed soul" - remains instantly recognisable more than 40 years after its release.

The album remains a turning point in popular music history, ending the hard rock era and ushering in a time when dance music ruled supreme. It became one of the fastest-selling albums of all time with its innovative fusion of harmony and pulsing beats. The movie launched the career of a young John Travolta whose snake-hipped moves to the sounds of You Should Be Dancing established his reputation as a dancer and forever linked his image to that of the Bee Gees.

Recording Academy president Neil Portnow predicted that fans will dance to "Stayin' Alive" and other songs Bee Gees songs for generations to come.

"Robin has had an indelible impact on music," he said.

Despite financial success, Robin Gibb and his brothers endured repeated tragedies. Maurice died suddenly of intestinal and cardiac problems in 2003. Their younger brother Andy Gibb, who also enjoyed considerable chart success as a solo artist, had died in 1988 just after turning 30. He suffered from an inflamed heart muscle attributed to a severe viral infection.

Robin Gibb himself took care of his health and, at the time of his death, was a vegan who did not drink alcohol.

Copycats

Gibb was for decades a familiar figure on the pop stage, starting out in the 1960s when the Bee Gees were seen as talented Beatles copycats. They sounded so much like the Beatles at first that there were strong rumors that the Bee Gees' singles were really the Beatles performing under another name.

Many late-'60s bands were quickly forgotten, but the Bee Gees transformed themselves into an enduring A-List powerhouse with the almost unbelievable, and certainly unexpected, success of the song Stayin' Alive and others from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack that accompanied the movie.

With this second wind, the Bee Gees sold more than 200 million records and had a long string of successful singles, making their way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Saturday Night Fever - actually a compilation album featuring the Bee Gees but including songs by other performers - represented the pinnacle of Gibb's career, but he enjoyed more than 40 years of prominence as a Bee Gee, as a solo artist, and as a songwriter and producer for other artists.

The Bee Gees consisted of Barry Gibb, the eldest, and twins Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb. Their three-part harmonies became their musical signature, particularly in the disco phase, when Barry's matchless falsetto often dominated, and they were renowned for their wide-ranging songwriting and producing skills.

Gibb is survived by his second wife, Dwina, and four children, as well as his older brother, fellow Bee Gee Barry Gibb, and his sister Lesley Evans, who lives in Australia.

Comments

  • Lyndatjie - 2012-05-21 07:38

    Thank you for the incredible memories and great music you blessed us with. May your family find peace in their happy memories of you. RIP Robin

  • Nompumelelo - 2012-05-21 07:40

    RIP, Boet! Thank you for your beautiful voice.Condolences to the family.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-05-21 07:45

    sad day when another icon dies, atleast it was more of natural causes then drugs or alcohol like the modern day artists...

  • ockert.j.dupreez - 2012-05-21 07:51

    Music has lost a True legend. RIP Robin Gibb.

  • Rob - 2012-05-21 08:06

    The memories through the music will live on. Sad times for all Bee Gees fans and for Barry who has seen all three younger brothers pass on.

  • Charles-Bronson - 2012-05-21 08:28

    Rest in peace brother! You gave as joy for many years!

  • rynhardt.otto - 2012-05-21 08:31

    What sad sad news to wake up on a Monday, Robin was one of my idols, he and he's brothers Maurice and Barry are phenomenal performers and its a great los to music, Robin R.I.P, your memories and life will live on in your and your brothers music.

  • Rabble-Rouser - 2012-05-21 08:34

    Rest in peace Robin. You and your brothers gave us wonderful music. I thank you for that. I still listen to and enjoy your music. Your memory will live on through your voice and music.

  • Anthony - 2012-05-21 08:40

    the only group to have a no. 1 hit in the 60's 70's 80's and 90's !

  • Dianne - 2012-05-21 08:47

    Ah, the Bee Gee's! Sad day indeed. RIP Robin.

  • mrp721 - 2012-05-21 08:52

    Shame it was a long battle, RIP Robin and thanks for the great music.. Condolences to the family...

  • jane.joubert.1 - 2012-05-21 09:00

    The Bee Gees were one of the best with songs and my mom thought nobody could sing like them. My condolences to all the family.

  • Craig - 2012-05-21 09:09

    The best Bee Gees music was prior to the "Stayin alive" era. "Swan Song", " Massachusetts" "Melody Fair" "1st May" and a thousand other songs at least. These songs also preceded the "falsetto" voice productions. Incidentally, it was Barry that sang falsetto. Nevertheless, the harmonies and unique alto voices of the brothers Robin and Maurice - will stay alive forever. RIP Robin, your music was incredible.

  • Nicolene.Small.Blignaut - 2012-05-21 09:24

    Thank you for the memories your talent touched my life

  • margaret.mead1 - 2012-05-21 09:28

    Condolences to all the family. What a fighter, but the suffering is now over. Wonderful heritage that Robin and his brothers have left. Their music was (and still is) really special - and a great favourite with all the family, even the younger ones. Evergreen songs and we will not forget.

  • Michelle - 2012-05-21 09:38

    RIP. Heaven is now "stayin alive"

  • chaze.damonze - 2012-05-21 10:58

    Damn! What a loss to the music industry... Nw we stuck wit this garbage tht sounds like robot farts

  • debbie.aht - 2012-05-21 12:22

    So sad to hear that u left us ,Your Music will live on.Bee Gees Still one of my favourites cd's to listen to ,Robin u will be singing like an Angel in Heaven ,RIP Robin,

  • Justice - 2012-05-21 12:27

    IOIOIO… a bit late today… THIS IS WHERE I CAME IN… Robin off to the EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE i see… will find out if there is indeed TOO MUCH HEAVEN. I STARTED A JOKE… but was overcome by EMOTIONS… TRAGEDY… DON”T FORGET T REMEMBER, Barry is the only ONE left ALIVE… Now he’s ALONE… he’s in for some LONELY DAYS, LONELY NIGHTS while he asks HOW DO YOU MEND THIS BROKEN HEART? In their music they will find IMMORTALITY... yet life goes on AND THE SUN WILL SHINE…! In the WORLD it’s important TO LOVE SOMEBODY… ask yourself HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE and remember she is MORE THAN A WOMAN… so DON”T THROW IT ALL AWAY… ignore the SPICKS AND SPECKS… Be MR NATURAL… A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS… so you can tell her YOU WIN AGAIN… but please FANNY, BE TENDER WITH MY LOVE… LET THERE BE LOVE… and in the LAMPLIGHT you will discover a LOVE SO RIGHT…!!

      Tsatsi - 2012-05-21 13:42

      am young but i love the oldies. FOR ME THE BEE GEES were the best group i have ever loved epecially this track (you win again)

  • charmaine.mcdonald2 - 2012-05-22 08:32

    Rest in Peace, the music will live on forever

  • Ronell - 2012-05-22 11:25

    RIP WE WILL MISS YOU.

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