Bee Gee Robin Gibb, in failing health for the last year, died today after battling valiantly to beat a variety of ailments, including cancer. Along with him, the iconic pop group The Bee Gees is passing into history.
As a group, the brothers Gibb, Robin, twin Maurice and older brother Barry, defied almost insurmountable odds to become an iconic entity like no other. What middle-age man or woman cannot remember their scintillating music from the legendary film “Saturday Night Fever.”
From “How Deep Is Your Love,” to “Night Fever,” to “If I Can’t Have You,” we can’t really recall any other music that so fit a film. Of course the 1977 film, based on writer Nik Cohen’s novel, “The Tribal Rites of Saturday Night,” was epic in every sense of the word.
The album went onto win a Grammy for Album of the Year and in 2003, was ranked #131 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop and Soul charts, and was also the all-time No. 1 soundtrack album until Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard” surpassed it in 1992.
The film also introduced us to actor John Travolta and made stars of the other music acts heard in the film, including Tavares, Yvonne Elliman, Kool & the Gang and KC and the Sunshine Band.
Of course, we were introduced to the group many years before with their hits “I Started a Joke” and “Lonely Days.” Their angelic harmonies (Barry, Maurice and Robin) were pristine and unique; they didn’t sound like anybody else!
When you stop for a moment and consider all the artists they’ve both produced and written for, it’s somewhat staggering. Think Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Cliff Richard. Also, not to be overlooked is their amazing production record, with Arif Mardin, no less.
The producer asked Barry during a session, to try to sing in a falsetto, hence, magic was created. Even after their worldwide success with Fever, the group continued to shine with one tremendous album after another, like One, Size Isn’t Everything, Spirits Having Flown, Living Eyes and their most recent, This Is Where I Came In.
For newer fans, who could not laugh at Jimmy Fallon’s hilarious Barry Gibb impersonations on “Saturday Night Live.” According to Fallon, “never a joke, a tribute!”
Maurice passed in 2003, and though at the time it was widely reported that the group had officially ended, Barry and Robin did reunite several times with hope for a new album.
Now, it appears as though the group has come to an end. A sad chapter, considering what a worldwide phenomenon they were. Here’s to Robin and The Bee Gees. They’ll always live on in our hearts and on our iPods … RIP.