The Bee Gees will always be remembered as a disco group, but they gave us so much more. Their late 1960’s love songs tore at the hearts of their teenage fans. Robin was a huge part of that sound.Bee Gee Robin Gibb was in (and out) the super group before he was even out of his teens.
Early success came with great songs like “Holiday”,”Massachusetts”, “I Started A Joke”, and “Gotta get A Message To You”. The Bee Gees had no less than 7 major hits from 1967-1969. Robin sang lead on most of those early hits, and also co-wrote many of them with brother Barry. In early 1969, Robin left the group at the age of 19, mainly due to sibling rivalry, but came back less than 2 years later. The Bee Gees couldn’t score a hit song without Robin’s rich velvet voice. It blended perfectly with brother Barry’s higher octave. In 1971 the Bee Gees were back and scored big with “Lonely Days”, and their first #1 hit “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”.
They relocated in Florida in the early 1970’s, picking up on Caribbean rhythms and dance beats which would surface much later. “Jive Talkin” was the first evidence of this new Bee gee’s blend in 1975, setting the stage for their huge success to follow. Dance clubs loved “You Should Be Dancing” in 1976, setting the stage the following year for Saturday Night Fever,which propelled The Bee Gees to immortality. It became the biggest selling soundtrack of all time.
Robin also had three solo hits, starting with 1978’s “Oh Darling”, a Beatles song. Robin’s most recent work was composing a classical piece, with his son Robert-John, “Requiem For The Titanic”. Robin was too ill to perform it with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on April 12th, the 100th anniversary of The Sinking of the Titanic.
The early Bee Gees songs from the late 1960’s blazed the radio waves and tormented our hearts. Did you know that ‘To Love Somebody” was actually written for Otis Redding? He died tragically 3 months later, and was never able to record it. The 1970’s Bee Gees commanded us to get dancing. We still ARE dancing to them 35 years later.
Ironically, the oldest Bee Gee, Barry Gibb is the only surviving member of a family that gave us FOUR great pop icons. Youngest brother Andy Gibb was the first to pass away, followed by Maurice (Robin’s twin brother), and now Robin. Maurice and Robin were both were victims of intestinal/colon disease. Older brother Barry was more famous, primarily for his work with Barbra Streisand, but I think Robin had a more compelling voice. Listen to “I Started a Joke”, and you’ll see what I mean. Now Robin is at rest, his music never will be.
-Bill Dudley, 94.7 The WAVE