Monday, May 21, 2012

Robin Gibb Has Died At Age 62

The music world has lost yet another industry giant, and the second within a week.

Robin Gibb, whose trademark falsetto voice helped launch the Bee Gees in the 1960's died Sunday at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery.  Gibb died at 10:47 A.M. 

Gibb had emergency surgery in 2010 for a blocked bowel and then more surgery for a twisted bowel.  It was during this time that doctors diagnosed colon and liver cancer.  Robin then fell into a coma as he battled pneumonia this spring.  

The only surviving member of the Bee Gees is brother Barry, who is 65.  Robin's twin brother, Maurice, died in 2003 from a twisted bowel.  Younger brother Andy Gibb also died at the age of 30 from a heart infection.

The Bee Gees performed at early ages in Australia, where the family had moved after originally being from Manchester, England.  The group had several Australian hits before striking it big worldwide in 1967.  Their first single, "New York Mining Disaster 1941" reached #14, and they had four more songs to peak just outside the Top 10 that now glaringly are seen as underrated-"To Love Somebody", "Holiday", "(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts" and "Words".

The group scored their first U.S. Top 10 in 1968 with "I've Gotta' Get a Message to You", which, like many of their early hits, highlighted the voice of Robin.  The Bee Gees landed their first #1 in 1971 with "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" before their career began to stall.

But then in 1975, the Bee Gees rebounded in what still is the biggest comeback in the Rock Era, when "Jive Talkin'" became their second #1.  They then entered a period in which they were hotter than any act since the Beatles.  The Bee Gees broke a Rock Era record with six consecutive #1's, beginning with "How Deep Is Your Love" from the trend-setting movie Saturday Night Fever in 1977.  "Stayin' Alive", "Night Fever", "Too Much Heaven", "Tragedy" and "Love You Inside Out" all followed as #1 songs.

In all, the Bee Gees had 41 hits in their career, 16 Top 10's and 9 #1 songs.  They sold over 200 million albums and the "Saturday Night Fever" Soundtrack, when they helped write and produce, was the #1 album of the Rock Era until Michael Jackson's Thriller passed it in the 1980's.

News of Robin's death set off a torrent of reaction.  Bryan Adams lamented "another great singer dying too young" on Twitter.  "The Bee Gees were/are the gold standard when it comes to pop/R&B melody, harmony and vocal arrangement.  Massive loss," wrote prolific songwriter Claude Kelly.

Brian May, elite guitarist of Queen, lauded Gibb and his "amazing voice, so distinctive and expressive".  "For me, the music of the Bee Gees really has peaks as high as any mountain ever climbed by a Rock group," May said.  "The Bee Gees will never be forgotten."

Robin Gibb's death followed by just three days the loss of another major star of the 1970's--Donna Summer, who died Thursday of lung cancer at 63.

Gibb is survived by his wife, Dwina; his daughter, Melissa, and sons Spencer and Robin-John.

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