61 year old legendary singer for The Bee Gees, Robin Gibb is said to be seriously ill with liver cancer. A close friend described his condition as, “Not Good”. This is only the latest tragedy to strike the Gibb family which has suffered losses of two of four brothers so far. Youngest brother Andy Gibb, who wasn’t part of The Bee Gees, but was a pop icon in his own right, suffered from an inflamed heart condition and died at the age of 30 back in 1988. Older brother, Maurice Gibb, who provided important harmony to The Bee Gees, and was Robin’s twin brother, died in 2003 from complications of a twisted intestine, leaving just Robin and Barry Gibb to carry on the family act. With connections both to the UK and Australia, The Bee Gees were something of Australia’s own answer to The British Invasion of pop music during the 60’s.
The Bee Gees actually managed two remarkable careers on the pop charts. During the late 1960’s up until the early 70’s they managed a successful string of singles and album sales in the U.S., Australia and UK. Both, in the late 70’s, with the strength of the film SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, the band became a top act of the disco era, with a string of some of their biggest record sales ever. During their disco era of fame, the group managed a big string of top ten and #1 singles where they had almost Beatles’ like popularity on the charts. One of their disco influenced albums, SPIRITS HAVING FLOWN, sold 30 million copies worldwide, making the band one of the biggest pop acts of the late 70’s early 80’s era. The album had three #1 singles up until the title track was released as the fourth single from the album.
But, The Bee Gees strength as a huge disco era act wasn’t without some later backlash problems. The next album by group, LIVING EYES, was undiscolike in sound, and radio stations didn’t give good airplay to the first single from the album, “He’s A Liar”, beginning another period of decline for the group until the late 80’s and early 90’s when new albums were released with better sales and radio stations began to look past pigeonholing this act as a disco act . LIVING EYES was a commercial failure as well, selling only 750,000 copies.
The group was actually putting together a fairly strong comeback up until about 2002. 2001’s, THIS WHERE I CAME IN sold reasonably well,, becoming the 22nd and last studio album by the group. After the death of Maurice, next year, the group quit the release of new material studio albums and only released some compilation albums of previously released material.
The serious illness of Robin Gibb unfortunately marks another sad chapter in the likely end of one of pop music’s greatest recording acts of all time. The Bee Gees brought a wonderful sound to music with their signature harmony sound, never duplicated by any act. We can only wish Robin Gibb our best wishes and prayers at this time.