Along with his twin brother Maurice Gibb and his brother Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb was the third member of the popular ’70s and ’80s band, the Bee Gees. Their albums have sold more than 100 million copies. In the more than 25 years that the band has been together they have recorded more than 25 albums and have had eight singles reach number one on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the U.S., three singles hit number one in the U.K. and many more hit the top of the charts worldwide.
Born in England, Robin Gibb emigrated to Australia with his parents in the early ’60s. With his brothers he formed the band the Bee Gees which came from the Brothers Gibb. Their career began in 1963 when they performed their song “The Battle of the Blue & Grey” on television. Anxious to be where the big-name musicians were, the trio moved back to Britain in 1967 to compete with bands such as the Beatles.
The Bee Gees were a smashing hit in the U.K. during the ’60s and ’70s. Their fame became international when their hit “New York Mining Disaster 1941” reached the United States music charts. Other hits were “Massachusetts,” (their first number one in the U.K.) “World,” “I Started a Joke,” and ” I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” claiming spots on both the U.K. and American charts.
In the spring of 1969, Robin Gibb left the Bee Gees to pursue a solo career. As a songwriter and a singer, he had the talent and had already built a name for himself as a member of the Bee Gees. His brothers decided to continue singing and songwriting without him. During his brief solo career, Robin Gibb produced a chart-topper with his first single “Saved by the Bell.” After releasing his first solo album Robin’s Reign, Robin Gibb returned to the Bee Gees in 1970.
During the ’70s the trio produced their first U.S. numer one hit in 1971 with “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.” Unfortunately, the music scene was going through a transition period and the Bee Gees gradually lost popularity. In 1975, the group regained success when they produced Main Course with American producer Arif Mardin. The hit “Jive Talkin'” sent the band back into the popular music scene once again. The late ’70s brought about incredible success for the Bee Gees. Some of their songs were used on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, bringing them fame during the disco phenomenon. “Jive Talkin’,” “You Should Be Dancing,” “Stayin’ Alive,” and “How Deep Is Your Love” were used in the film. In 1978, “Night Fever” became the group’s biggest hit from the soundtrack.
The ’80s were less successful for the group as disco fell out of favor and they struggled with musical and personal difficulties. Robin released three solo records in the mid-’80s that did not meet much success: How Old Are You? in 1983, Secret Agent in 1984, and Walls Have Eyes in 1984. Tragedy struck the Gibb brothers in 1988 when their musically inclined brother, Andy Gibb, who had several number one hits himself, died of a cocaine overdose in England. The group made a bit of a comeback in 1993; the album Size Isn’t Everything produced the modest hits “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Paying the Price of Love,” and “Above and Beyond.”
The Bee Gees are noted for their versatile singing and songwriting, having produced hits over a two-decade span. During the course of the Bee Gees’ musical career, they have written songs for such artists as Andy Gibb, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and Dionne Warwick. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed in the music industry. In 1996 the group earned the lifetime achievement award at the Brit Awards, followed by the lifetime achievement award at the American Music Awards in 1997. The Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. In early 2003, the Brothers Gibb lost Maurice to heart failure and decided to retire the Bee Gees name. Also in early 2003, Robin released a solo single “Please” which was followed by his first solo album in 15 years, Magnet.