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Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb dies after long cancer battle
Question of the Day
The Gibbs were born in England on the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea, but moved to Australia with their parents in 1958 when they were still quite young and began their musical career there. They had been born into a musical family, with a father who was a drummer and bandleader and a mother who liked to sing.
After several hits in Australia, their career started to really take off when they returned to England in 1967 and linked up with promoter Robert Stigwood.
After several hits and successful albums, Robin Gibb left the group in 1969 after a series of disagreements, some focusing on whether he or Barry should be lead vocalist. He released some successful solo material _ most notably “Saved by the Bell” _ before rejoining his brothers in 1970 and scoring a major hit with “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.”
The Gibbs then suffered some slack years _ searching for a style that could sustain them in the post-Beatles era _ and Barry Gibb started experimenting with falsetto vocals, first on backup, and then in the lead position.
The brothers were at a low point when they went into a French studio to try to come up with some songs for the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack at the urging of Stigwood.
The success of those tunes _ closely linked to the popularity of the movie, and the power of the disco movement _ changed their lives forever, giving them a string of number one hits.
After several years of chart success, the Gibbs spent much of the 1980s writing songs and producing records for other artists, working closely with top talents such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. They also continued touring and releasing their own records.
Gibb also released more solo albums, including “Secret Agent,” during this period.
The band continued in the 1990s, gaining recognition for their body of work with induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Then came Maurice’s sudden death in 2003. The surviving brothers announced that the name Bee Gees would be retired with Maurice Gibb’s death, although Robin and Barry did collaborate on projects and Robin Gibb continued his solo career and extensive touring despite mounting health problems.
He had to cancel several engagements in 2011, including one with British Prime Minister David Cameron, and he showed an alarming weight loss on his rare public appearances. He was hospitalized briefly in 2011 with what doctors said was an inflamed colon and had surgery for intestinal problems in March, 2012.
One of his final projects was “The Titanic Requiem,” a classical work he co-wrote with his son RJ, that the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra premiered in April to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
Robin Gibb remained emotionally attached to the Isle of Man, keeping a house there as well as homes in rural Oxfordshire, England, and Miami.
He also became involved with numerous charities and worked to establish a permanent memorial to the veterans of Britain’s World War II Bomber Command and recorded songs honoring British veterans.
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