Robin, Maurice and Barry
Bee Gees' member Robin Gibb has died at the age of 62 following a battle with liver and colon cancer.
Gibb had been singing with his brothers Barry and (twin) Maurice from the time they were children, gaining moderate success in Australia under the name the Brothers Gibb, shortened to the Bee Gees.
But it was when the trio returned to England in the 60s that they became not only commercially successful but also innovative songwriters and arrangers. Early hits like Massachusetts and New York Mining Disaster established the group's knack for incredibly close harmony, with Robin and Barry taking turns on lead vocals.
It was following a brief falling out -- during which Robin recorded a solo album, Robin's Reign -- that they returned with one of their most affecting and moving performances, the 1971 hit How Can You Mend A Broken Heart. Despite the commercial hit of Broken Heart, the early 70s weren't kind to the brothers who found their orchestral arrangements falling out of musical fashion.
In 1974, they adopted a more soulful sound and recorded Main Course with producer Arif Madin, featuring the singles Jive Talkin' and Nights On Broadway. The funkiness of Main Course and the follow-up, Children Of The World, turned into full-blown disco in 1977 with the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever.
At the time, serious music fans liked to dismiss the Bee Gees -- and disco as a whole -- as lightweight bubblegum pop.
But time, and album sales, have proven the endurance and classic quality of this music. Saturday Night Fever stayed on the Billboard chart for 120 weeks, with 24 of those weeks at #1; it remains one of the top-selling albums of all time. The Bee Gees' seemed untouchable when the closed out the 70s with Spirits Having Flown, with the hits Tragedy and Love You Inside Out, the latter finding a new generation with fans when Feist made it a single on Let It Die.
While the Bee Gees once again found themselves out of fashion in the 80s, their loyal fans stuck by them and they continued to be a popular touring group throughout the 90s and into the 2000s.
Sadly, Robin's death was preceded by that of his twin brother Maurice, who passed away in 2003 after undergoing a stomach operation.
While Robin and Barry occasionally played as the Bee Gees since Maurice's death, Robin was also politically engaged as a member of the Labour Party, while also attempting to preserve Britain's history as president of the Heritage Foundation.
Diagnosed with cancer in 2010, Gibb underwent chemotherapy and announced he was in remission, days before contracting pneumonia and slipping into a coma. Although he came out of the coma and was reported to be doing well, he passed away earlier today.