Robin Gibb, one third of the legendary Bee Gees, died on Sunday due to complications from liver and colon cancer. Gibb had been fighting the disease for nearly two years and reportedly fell into a coma last month, but appeared to have recovered. However, the cancer had advanced beyond treatment and he passed away in London this weekend. Robin's fraternal twin, Maurice, died in 2003 and the youngest Gibb brother, Andy (who was not a member of the group), died in 1998 when he was just 30, leaving Barry has the only surviving brother.
The Bee Gees (Brothers Gibb) were synonymous with the disco sound of the late 1970s, writing and recording many of the biggest hits of the era. Their unique high-pitched harmonies became instantly recognizable as the sound of disco, but Robin and Barry were also accomplished songwriters, writing soulful number one songs not just for their group, but for their brother Andy, Barbra Streisand, Al Green, Yvonne Elliman, and Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton. Robin even contributed to a disco album for Sesame Street that played off the Bee Gees' image and sound.
Their biggest success remains the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, for which they wrote five songs in a single weekend — all which made it to number one on the charts. The album itself was No. 1 for 25 consecutive weeks, won the Grammy for Album of the Year, and was the biggest selling album of all-time until Michael Jackson's Thriller. Their songs became so ubiquitous that from 1977 to 1978, six songs written by Robin and his brothers held the No. 1 position on the US charts for 25 of 32 consecutive weeks.
Few groups in music history had as much commercial success or created a sound so uniquely their own, thanks mainly to the high-falsetto voices that Robin and Barry in particular were known for. Like many great bands they struggled through the years with fighting and solo project break ups and drugs and their health, but as the three brothers united, they produced some of the greatest hits of their time and some of the few that survived in popularity this day.
"I Started A Joke"
"Knights on Broadway"
Sesame Street Fever
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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