Do you consider yourself to be a fan of The Bee Gees? They were one of the most influential pop groups of the 60s and 70s and even influenced much of the disco craze of the 80s. Whether you are alive when The Bee Gees starts or are born years after their heyday, you probably see it trying to strut while “Staying Alive” was playing!
The Bee Gees consisted of brothers Barry, Robin, Maurice, and Andy – and were managed by their mother, Barbara, during the early years of their career. Their singing talents and musical capabilities helped them create some of the most popular and unique songs of their era.
Sadly, the members of The Bee Gees are no longer with us – with Barry Gibb being the only surviving member.
Let’s look back on how each of The Bee Gees died and reflect on their incredible lives and careers…
THE BEE GEES ORIGINS
Hugh and Barbara Gibb gave birth to brothers Barry, Maurice, and Robin, in Douglas – the capital of the Isle of Man.
Barry was born in 1946, while twins Maurice and Robin were born in 1949. They moved to Manchester, their father’s hometown, in 1955. Their sister Lesley and youngest brother Andy were born in England.
In 1958, the family emigrated to Australia – living in Redcliffe, Queensland. Here, the brothers began to perform to start raising pocket money. One wonders if they knew that they’d earn millions for their musical talents!
They were eventually hired by Bill Goode to perform their songs at the Redcliffe Speedway racetrack. The crowd would throw money at the Gibb brothers as they entertained them. They were later introduced to the radio host Bill Gates who gave them the moniker “The BGs” which came from Bill Goode’s surname and the brother’s surname.
By the 1960s, the brothers began recording music professionally. Their group’s name was spelled out in the unique spelling that we now know. As their brother Andy grew up, he joined the group as a singer.
The Brothers could sing beautifully, and Maurice could also play a multitude of instruments. They soon became popular with hits such as “Wine and Women” and “Spicks and Specks.”
But their big break would come in the late 1960s when they returned to England and began creating a unique sound.
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Robin Gibb was born on December 22, 1949. He had a beautiful vibrato voice which he realized he could capitalize on from a young age. While still living on the Isle of Man, he once told a neighbor that he would form a band one day and become rich from his music! Perhaps his brothers didn’t predict their success, but he certainly did!
Robin was the lead singer of The Bee Gees and wrote many of the group’s songs. He also wrote many songs for other groups. Along with Barry and Maurice, he wrote “Only One Woman” for The Marbles.
He also briefly focused on a solo career in 1969 and 1970. During this time, The Bee Gees faced setbacks as a group.
However, their comeback came in the 1970s – especially with the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever. With this album, he provided lead vocals for “Staying Alive” and “How Deep Is Your Love.” But he also co-wrote all the original songs along with his brothers.
Robin collaborates more often with other artists in the 1980s. He co-wrote and co-produced Jimmy Ruffin’s album Sunrise – released in 1980.
He and Barry wrote much of Barbara Streisand’s album Guilty – also released that year.
In the 2000s, he released a solo album called Magnet. He also sang the vocals for the theme song for the British comedy-talk show The Dame Edna Treatment.
One of the last projects he worked on was a tribute to the victims of the Titanic. It was a musical that he wrote along with his song Robin-John. Sadly, he could not attend the musical’s premiere due to his health problems.
He was suffering from pneumonia and eventually ended up in a coma. He died of kidney failure on May 20, 2012, at 62.
Maurice Gibb is born on December 22, 1949 – around 30 minutes after his twin brother Robin.
He is a talented musician and songwriter. He played the guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, and percussion for The Bee Gees. On the group’s debut album, he served as the instrumentalist for “Claustrophobia” one of their earliest hits.
In the 1970s, he also began releasing solo work – while simultaneously creating some of The Bee Gees’ biggest hits!
He released a popular song called “Railroad.” He also recorded an album called The Loner – which still hasn’t been released to date.
In the 1980s, he recorded the song “Miami, a Musical Score” which was the theme for a promotional film to promote tourism in Miami. He also composed the song “Supernaturals” which was the theme song for the film.
He had a reputation for being one of the nicest and friendliest people in the entertainment industry. His twin brother Robin often described him as being outgoing and gregarious.
Maurice enjoys hanging out with A-list stars, including Sir Michael Caine, David Bowie, and The Beatles. He was also briefly married to singer Lulu. He was also heavily influenced by rock and country musicians ranging from The Beatles to the Everly Brothers.
Maurice Gibb lived in Miami with his brothers during the latter part of their careers. He died on January 12, 2003, at the age of 53. He had suffered a cardiac arrest which resulted from a twisted intestine.
While he wasn’t officially part of The Bee Gees, the youngest brother Andy Gibb was also a talented singer and collaborated with his brothers on some of their songs. He also performed live with them before his untimely death.
Andy began his career singing in Australia. His first solo release was “Words and Music.” This was a big hit, and he soon emigrated to the United States to continue his singing career.
His first album, Flowing Rivers, was released in 1977. This album became a huge hit, and he became one of the most popular solo artists in the USA, the UK, and Australia. However, it was during this time that he also began to get addicted to drugs.
His drug habit had become severe by the time he was working on his 2nd album. Andy will miss performances and studio sessions. He also experienced financial difficulties.
He luckily managed to kick his drug habit due to attending rehabilitation services. But this wasn’t enough to get him back to pursuing his music career. He sadly died on March 10, 1988 – five days after his 30th birthday, due to heart inflammation.
While his career was short-lived, one must appreciate the incredible talent he possessed. His performances with his brothers were also notable. The elder brothers would often talk about Andy’s brilliance, and they remembered him fondly while discussing his life and career in interviews.
HUGH & BARBARA GIBB
There should be a mention of The Bee Gees’ parents Hugh and Barbara Gibb.
Barbara Pass had performed as a dance band vocalist. She met drummer and bandleader Hugh Gibb in the early 1940s. The two got married in 1944.
Hugh led an orchestra but often struggled to find gigs. He also worked as a bread-delivery man as his day job. This was a crucial service in the war and post-war years that brought joy to many families.
He would primarily perform in the North of England, Scotland, and on the Isle of Man. His sister suggested that they emigrate to Australia to find better opportunities. While Hugh didn’t directly instruct his sons to pursue musical careers, he undoubtedly was an influence on them.
Barbara’s own musical background was also an influence on her sons. She encouraged them to sing and pursue music. She also helped them get their start with performing and meeting with record executives.
Barbara Gibb also managed The Bee Gees during the early stage of their career. She eventually emigrated to Miami, where her sons also lived. She died in 2016 at the age of 95.
Barry Gibb is the surviving member of The Bee Gees. He continues to appear in interviews and documentaries to discuss his career and The Bee Gees. He misses his brothers and has said that he’d trade all their hits just to bring them back.
The Bee Gees were a remarkable music group. We’ve sadly lost most of the members, but we’re lucky that they’ve left behind an incredible body of work.
If you really want a treat, you should watch interviews of the three of them together. Even outside of music, they had incredible chemistry and had a fantastic sense of humor. There was truly no other group like them!
Are you a fan of The Bee Gees?
Do you think that their music is still popular among the younger generations? Or do we need to re-introduce their music to a new set of fans so they can experience a resurgence in popularity?
Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
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