In the 1970s and 1980s, The Bee Gees were a global sensation. After their family relocated to Australia, Barry, the oldest brother, and Robin and Maurice, the fraternal twins, first started playing with music. The band became well-known within a decade.
Their youngest sibling, Andy Gibb, went his own way and rose to prominence as a musician in his own right about the same period. Andy tragically passed suddenly at the age of 30, leaving his three brothers in great sorrow.
That sorrow is still very much a part of Barry’s life today. What transpired to Andy, then? Why did he not enlist in his brothers’ crew? Here is everything you need to know.
Great bands that were started by siblings abound. The Kinks, The Allman Brothers, Sister Sledge, Gladys Night & The Pips are just a few examples. The Jackson Five, which consists of Michael Jackson and his brothers, is another. However, the Bee Gees are the group that has most likely garnered attention, at least in terms of pioneering new musical genres.
Bee Gees – the Gibb brothers
Barry, Maurice, and Robin, three English brothers, achieved enormous success in the 1970s and 1980s, bringing their amazing dance and disco music to concert halls, discos, and arenas all over the world. However, despite the Gibbs family’s overall success in music, they have also had their fair share of loss.
Barry, the oldest Bee Gee brother, has had it especially hard because he had to watch the deaths of all three of his siblings. The man claimed a few years ago that music is the only way he can cope with everything.
Barry Gibb, the eldest of the Gibb brothers, was born on the Isle of Man on September 1, 1946. Twins Robin and Maurice were born three years later, and all three were destined to use their musical gifts.
Bee Gees – early life
Barbara, their mother, is a well-known singer. Hugh, their father, led a band, played the drums, and put on shows on the island where they were born. Barry and his younger twin brothers started playing around with music at a very young age for pleasure. The family then relocated to Manchester, England, in 1955. There, their parents first realised how talented their sons were.
The Brothers Gibb’s mother, Barbara, was one day surprised to find her father-in-law watching TV when she arrived home, according to The Ultimate Biography of The Bee Gees: Tales of The Gibb Brothers. She offered to turn down the radio in what appeared to be the adjacent room. It turned out that the sound was coming from her 6-year-old twins Maurice and Robin, her 9-year-old son Barry, and not from a radio at all.
Soon after that, Barry got his first guitar for Christmas since she realised they had something. Along with his brothers, he started singing and writing music. The three of them made their stage debut as The Rattlesnakes at the Manchester Gaumont Theatre in 1957, together with two friends.
Like many other UK cities at the time, Manchester was still experiencing post-World War II hardships. The Gibb family made the decision to emigrate as a result, and they relocated to Redcliffe, Australia, in 1958.
Why was the group named Bee Gees?
The two pals with whom the brothers had previously played with were no longer present. Barry, Maurice, and Robin changed the name of the group from The Rattlesnakes to The Bee Gees.
So why Bee Gees? Here’s the official explanation from the band’s website.
“Though it is widely believed that the Bee Gees first got their name from being the Brothers Gibb, this meaning did not come until a few years after their founding. When the brothers moved to Australia in 1958, they began playing on the radio with friends Bill Goode and Bill Gates.
The group’s name was originally The BG’s – contrived from the common initials between Barry Gibb, Bill Goode, and Bill Gates. The name then evolved from The BG’s to the Bee Gees, which eventually came to mean the Brothers Gibb!”
The Bee Gees continued to release music, and soon their songs could be heard on Bill Gates’ radio station. Following appearances on television programmes, their father Hugh made the decision to take on the role of the band’s full-time manager.
Their youngest brother, Andy, grew up at the same period. In 1958, just before his family relocated to Australia, he was born.
He wanted to try his luck in show business as his older brothers rose to prominence. Barry gave him a guitar, and when he was 13 years old, he made the decision to leave school. In the 1970s, Andy’s parents relocated to Ibiza, Spain, and he decided to try his hand at music there. He started out playing in clubs and discovered that he was also fairly talented.
The Bee Gees released The Battle of the Blue and the Grey, their first official record, in 1963 after Col Joye, an Australian pop artist, recognised them. They didn’t have their first success with Massachusetts until 1968.
The Bee Gees were more into slower music and ballads at that time rather than the fast-paced group we know now. Barry, Maurice, and Robin’s prominence was waning swiftly, forcing them to change their minds.
The group was relaunched to produce faster-paced songs, and boy did it succeed. Although all three had lovely vocals, Barry’s falsetto voice stood out and gave the ensemble a distinct identity.
With Jive Talkin, they achieved their first No. 1 in 1975. The Bee Gees again topped the charts with You Should Be Dancing a year later.
The Bee Gees’ fresh, popular disco sound was succeeding. In 1977, they advanced the situation. The band contributed numerous songs to the John Travolta movie Saturday Night Fever. Songs like How Deep Is Your Love, Night Fever, and Staying Alive immediately topped the charts.
At that point, the group had broken up and reformed numerous times, but as they entered their peak, they began to act differently.
“Everything had to be unanimous. If one of us were unhappy about anything, we wouldn’t do it,” Barry explained.
They received two Grammy awards in 1978—one each for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo—and one each for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Group in 1977.
Later, in 2003, The Bee Gees would also get the Grammy Legends Award. They received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Only The Beatles and the Supremes have achieved more No. 1 hits than the Bee Gees up to this point. The trio has also sold more than 200 million records globally. Only Elvis, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks, and Paul McCartney had sold more albums by the time the group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
The disco sound of the Bee Gees appeared to be fading when the 1980s arrived. The band continued to make music as a group and as individual independent acts, but in 1988 the first of many mishaps occurred.
Their youngest brother, Andy, had enjoyed a successful solo career in his own right. He had eight singles reach the Top 20 of the US Hot 100, with three of them being No. 1.
But when he performed in Australia, Andy wasn’t the popular figure he longed to be. Before his performances, billboards would often advertise: “Tonight, Andy Gibb, the youngest brother of…” in tiny letters and “Bee Gees” in large letters.
“I was a Gibb, but out in the bush or the sticks of Australia, you know, you could be anybody,” he said in 1985.
“So the ‘Bee Gees’ was a selling power, but let’s be honest, in the long run, it has been nothing but a great advantage. Because I wouldn’t, who knows what would have happened, I might be here without their help, but I mean the fact is they did help me, and it was a tremendous start, it was a tremendous success.
“Looking back, almost a little too much too soon, too young, because I peaked and then I died for a while and I am just now starting to try and get my feet back on the ground, but other great advantages are just having wonderful musically gifted brothers who always help me and always advise me on anything.”
As the middle of the 1980s drew near, Andy struggled with alcohol use, among other things. He had filed for bankruptcy in 1987 and stated a yearly income of less than $8,000 at the time.
Gibb complained of excruciating chest and abdominal pains when he checked himself into a hospital in Oxford, England, on March 7, 1988. He went away only three days later, five days after his 30th birthday.
The official cause of death was determined to be cardiac inflammation brought on by a viral infection. Even though many people were shocked by Andy’s passing, his ex-wife Kim Reeder didn’t quite feel the same way.
“I always knew that one day I’d get a call with news like this,” she said. “It was only a matter of time.”
“It was the saddest moment of my life,” Barry Gibb recalled, as quoted by Rolling Stone Magazine, adding that he felt guilty for pushing Andy toward a career in showbiz.
“He would have been better off finding something else; He was a sweet person. We lost him too young.”
The Bee Gees continued to produce music throughout the 1990s, putting out a number of albums. Their last album with brand-new songs, This Is Where I Came In, was released in 2001 and peaked at number ten in the UK charts. Barry Gibb has never struggled with money because The Bee Gees are still a great band.
In fact, Celebrity Net Worth estimate him to have a net worth of $140 million.
Maurice and Robin passing away
In 2003, tragedy again shook the Gibb family. Maurice passed away at a Miami hospital after collapsing at his home in Florida, and Barry and Robin decided to retire the Bee Gees name shortly afterward.
After Robin’s death in 2012, Barry was the only Gibb brother still alive. The same year, Barry opened up in a touching interview with Australian programme Sunday Night about the awful death of his brothers.
He said he regretted not having a solid relationship with each of his brothers before they passed away.
”My greatest regret is that every brother I’ve lost was in a moment when we weren’t getting on, so I have to live with that, and I’ll spend the rest of my life reflecting on that,” Barry said.
”I’m the last man standing. I’ll never be able to understand that as I’m the eldest.”
“The three of us became one person”
Barry started crying later on in the conversation and claimed he had never done that before when talking about his brothers.
“Nobody ever really knows what the three of us felt about each other,” he said. “Only the three of us knew.”
He continued: “It was such a unifying thing. The three of us became one person. We all had the same dream. That’s what I miss more than anything else.”
Barry and the rest of the Gibb family have our sincere regrets for losing Andy, Maurice, and Robin. The best way to remember them is to tell others about their inspiring journey to success and to express gratitude for all that they have accomplished via their amazing music.
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