Robin Gibb at the meet-and-greet after the Dubai Jazz Festival on 1 March 2008
|Birth name||Robin Hugh Gibb|
22 December 1949|
Douglas, Isle of Man
|Origin||Manchester, Lancashire, England|
|Died||20 May 2012
|Genres||Rock, psychedelic rock, baroque pop, soft rock, adult contemporary, blue-eyed soul, disco, new wave, synthpop|
|Occupations||Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, keyboards, organ, guitar|
|Labels||Leedon, Festival, Spin, Polydor, Atco, RSO, Mirage, EMI America, SPV|
|Associated acts||The Rattlesnakes, Bee Gees, One World Project|
Robin Hugh Gibb, CBE (22 December 1949 – 20 May 2012) was a musician, singer, songwriter and producer, best known as a member of the Bee Gees, which was co-founded with his fraternal twin brother Maurice and older brother Barry. Their younger brother Andy was also a singer. He joined his first band the Rattlesnakes which was formed in Manchester, England.
The eldest three were born on the Isle of Man to English parents, Hugh and Barbara Gibb; the family later moved to Manchester (where Andy was born) before settling in Redcliffe, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia. Gibb began his career as part of the family trio (Barry-Maurice-Robin). When the group found their first success, they returned to England where they achieved worldwide fame. In 2002, the Bee Gees were appointed as CBEs for their "contribution to music". however investiture was delayed until 2004. With record sales estimated in excess of 200 million units, the Bee Gees became one of the most successful pop groups of all time. Music historian Paul Gambaccini described Gibb as "one of the major figures in the history of British music" and "one of the best white soul voices ever". After a career spanning six decades, Gibb last performed on stage in February 2012 supporting injured British servicemen and women at a charity concert at the London Palladium. On 20 May 2012, Gibb died at the age of 62 from liver and kidney failure brought on by colorectal cancer.
As an instrumentalist, he primarily played a variety of keyboards, such as piano, organ and Mellotron on Bee Gees albums Bee Gees' 1st (1967) and Odessa, he also played guitar on his debut solo album Robin's Reign (1970).
Gibb was born on 22 December 1949 in Jane Crookall Maternity Home in Douglas, Isle of Man to Hugh and Barbara Gibb (née Pass). He was the fraternal twin of Maurice Gibb and was the older of the two by 35 minutes. He is Manx by birth and English was his nationality. Apart from Maurice, he had one sister, Lesley Evans and two brothers, Barry and Andy. He holds the Scottish descent on his father's side and Irish descent on his mother's side. As a kid, Gibb loved to play with fire and would take boxes of matches from the kitchen. His mother said he would start fires anywhere he wanted and called him a "firebug". One fire he set even went to the point of police attention.
In 1953, the Gibbs watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on their tiny 12 inch black and white television. Their neighbour in Willaston, Isle of Man, Marie Beck who was the friend of his mother and her sister Peggy. Another neighbour, Helen Kenney was living in Douglas Head as Kenney recalls "Barry and the twins used to come into Mrs. Beck's house and we would mind them, Robin once said to me, 'We're going to be rich one day, we're going to form a band!' "Little did I realise he meant it".
In 1955, when the Gibbs moved back to their home town of Manchester, the Gibb brothers formed The Rattlesnakes. The band consisted of Barry on guitar and vocals, Robin and Maurice on vocals, Paul Frost on drums and Kenny Horrocks on tea-chest bass, and the quintet performed in local theatres in Manchester, their influences at that time such as The Everly Brothers, Cliff Richard and Paul Anka. In May 1958, it was disbanded as Frost and Horrocks left, and the name changed to Wee Johnny Hayes and the Blue Cats. In August 1958, the family travelled to Australia on the same ship as Australian musician Red Symons. The name was finally changed to Bee Gees, when the lived in Queensland, Australia.
Their first single "The Battle of the Blue and the Grey" backed with "The Three Kisses of Love" was released only in Australia, but not charted. In 1963, Gibb sang backing vocals along with his brothers in other Australian artists' songs in Australia, the songs are: Judy Stone's "It Takes a Lot (To Make Me Cry)", Johnny Devlin's "Stomp the Tumbarumba", "Blue Suede Shoes", "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On", Jimmy Hannan's "Beach Ball", "You Gotta Have Love", "You Make Me Happy" and "Hokey Pokey". In 1964, Gibb participated sing backup vocals on Trevor Gordon's "House Without Windows" and "And I'll Be Happy". In 1965, Gibb provided backing vocals on Trevor Gordon's "Little Miss Rhythm and Blues" and "Here I Am", Michelle Rae's "I Wanna Tell the World" and "Everybody's Talkin'", Noeleen Batley's "Watching the Hours Go By". In 1966, Gibb participated in numerous songs: Bip Addison's "Hey" and "Young Man's Fancy", Sandy Summers' "Messin Around" and "A Girl Needs to Love", Anne Shelton's "Talk to Me" and "I Miss You", Vince Melouney's "I Need Your Lovin' Tonight" and "Mystery Train", April Bryon's "He's a Thief" and "A Long Time Ago", MPD Ltd's "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" and "I Am What I Am", Ray Brown and the Whispers' "Too Late to Come Home", Lori Balmer's "Who's Been Writing On the Wall Again" and "In Your World", Marty Rhone's "She Is Mine" and "Village Tapestry", Vyt's "Why Do I Cry", Barrington Davis' "As Fast As I Can" and "Raining Teardrops", Jenene's "So Long Boy" and "Don't Say No", Jon Blanchfield's "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Town of Tuxley Toymaker, Part 1". His first lead vocal on a Bee Gees record was "I Don't Think It's Funny", the second was "How Love Was True". Both songs were released on The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs. The first song written by Gibb was "I Don't Know Why I Bother With Myself" released on Spicks and Specks (1966). The Bee Gees made their last recording session in Australia, "Gilbert Green", "Deeply, Deeply Me", "Mrs. Gillespie's Refrigerator" and "I Can't See Nobody".
The group's first period of British success in the late 1960s started with "New York Mining Disaster 1941" and the band added drummer Colin Petersen and guitarist Vince Melouney to make the group as a band. They toured the Europe in 1967 and 1968 as well as US in August 1968. In 13 June 1968, seven songs was recorded including "Indian Gin and Whisky Dry" all of the songs was credited to Gibb alone just his vocals and guitar, Gibb co-wrote "Only One Woman", The Marbles' debut and successful hit especially in Europe and New Zealand. In August, the band started to record Odessa. However, the rivalry with Barry eventually prompted Robin to leave the group and begin a solo career (three months after guitarist Vince Melouney left the band) after his song "Lamplight" was relegated to the B-side of Barry's song "First of May". Meanwhile, there were rumours during this period that he was dealing with drug problems, allegedly leading his parents to threaten legal action to make him a ward of court (the UK age of majority at that time being 21, while Gibb was only 19). The Bee Gees' last recording session with Robin was on February 1969.
On 19 March 1969, he announced that he is leaving the Bee Gees the same day as the band recorded "Tomorrow Tomorrow" and was became their first single without Robin. In his solo career, Gibb was initially successful with a number 2 UK hit, "Saved by the Bell", which sold over one million copies and received a gold disc. As he performs that song on the German TV show Beat-Club. Also in 1969, Gibb co-produced "Love for Living", the song was performed by Clare Torry and was released as a single. He also starts a mini-tour, making television appearances in dozen countries to promote "Saved by the Bell". By 19 July 1969, New Musical Express announced "Tonight, [Robin Gibb] is fronting a 97-piece orchestra and a 60-piece choir in a recording of his latest composition, 'To Heaven And Back' which was inspired by the Apollo 11 moonshot. It is an entirely instrumental piece, with the choir being used for astral effects. The single will be billed as by 'The Robin Gibb Orchestra and Chorus and it will be rush-released as soon as possible by Polydor". At that time, he was doing a musical score for Henry The Eighth and he's making his own film called Family Tree. Later, it was reported on NME that Gibb wrote dozen of songs for Tom Jones, a meeting between Gibb and Jones was said to be arranged for Gibb's return from a three-day promo trip to Germany.
In 31 January and 1 February 1970, Gibb performs in Auckland, New Zealand. However, Robin's first solo album, Robin's Reign (1970) was less successful and he soon found that being a solo artist was unsatisfying. Maurice played bass on the song "Mother and Jack", but was subsequently removed from the project by producer Robert Stigwood. Also in that year, Colin Petersen produced "Make a Stranger Your Friend" performed by Jonathan Kelly, on which Gibb sang on the chorus with Mick Taylor of The Rolling Stones, Klaus Voormann of Plastic Ono Band, Madeline Bell, three members of The Family Dogg, Jackie Lomax, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and others. By January 1970, Gibb started to record his second solo album Sing Slowly Sisters until February but was still unreleased. He wanted "Great Caesar's Ghost" to be release as a single around 1970 with "Engines, Aeroplanes" as the B-side but the two songs was not included on that album and was unreleased until this day. In 13 June, Gibb and Maurice reunited and they recorded four songs, the two of the four tracks was released on their upcoming album 2 Years On, the session was originally for Maurice alone as he bought Gibb to the sessions. On 21 June sessions, the pair recorded another five songs and finally in August, the pair returned to studio and they announced that the Bee Gees were back, with or without Barry's contribution, one of the fourteen songs, "Back Home" and "I'm Weeping" was also released on 2 Years On. In 21 August, it was announced that Barry rejoined the group and record together, and the first song after the announcement was "Lonely Days" which reached #3 in the US Billboard Hot 100. In December, Gibb recorded a demo "After the Laughter".
In 1971, the group released Trafalgar. The first single, "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart", the band's first US #1 hit, the second single, the ballad "Don't Wanna Live Inside Myself" was less successful. After that, their popularity started to ebb. In April 1972, two months after the departure of drummer Geoff Bridgford, he wrote his last composition on a Bee Gees record "Never Been Alone" (until 1999). In 1972, To Whom It May Concern was released, with singles "Run to Me" and "Alive". In 1973, the country-influenced album Life in a Tin Can was released. The album's only single was "Saw a New Morning". Also in 1973, the group recorded A Kick in the Head Is Worth Eight in the Pants but was not released officially. That same year, the group sang a medley of Beatles songs in The Midnight Special. In 1974, with new producer Arif Mardin, the Bee Gees reinvented themselves with the song "Blue-Eyed Soul". The group now entered their second period of phenomenal success in the disco-era late 1970s. As the album Mr. Natural was released. Three singles was released from the album, the title track, "Throw a Penny" and the ballad "Charade". In 1975, Main Course was released and contains top ten US singles "Jive Talkin'" and "Nights on Broadway". In 1975, the Bee Gees recorded six Beatles songs for the album All This and World War. The other performers on that album were Jeff Lynne, Keith Moon, Elton John, Ambrosia and others. The album reached #23 in the UK Album Charts.
In 1976, the band released Children of the World that contains disco/funk songs such as "You Should Be Dancing", "Love So Right", "Subway", "Boogie Child" and others. On 20 December 1976, the band performed at The Forum in Los Angeles and that performance was released on Here at Last... Bee Gees... Live as an audio only. By February to March 1977 the group relocated in Le Château, Hérouville in France recording tracks for Saturday Night Fever and continued it in April 1977 and completed in September. Also in 1977, Gibb co-wrote "Emotion", Samantha Sang's breakthrough hit. Between May and September, the group was recorded tracks for the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1978, Gibb performed on the Sesame Street Fever album for the Sesame Street children's TV program. He was one of the singers on the "Sesame Street Fever" title track, he sang a song called "Trash" for the character Oscar the Grouch, and spoke with Cookie Monster at the beginning of "C is for Cookie".
1980s and 1990s
In January 1980, Gibb co-wrote and co-produced with Blue Weaver Jimmy Ruffin's 1980 album Sunrise. Also in 1980, he duetted with Marcy Levy on the song "Help Me!" (reached No. 50 in the US) featured on the soundtrack of the film Times Square the other artists were performed on the film, including Gary Numan, Roxy Music, Ramones, The Cure and The Cars. Also in 1980, most of Barbra Streisand's album Guilty was co-written by Gibb with Barry. In February 1981, the Bee Gees returned to the studio and recorded Living Eyes, unlike the previous album, this album was not a successful as their fans described it as a worst album. After the Dionne Warwick's Heartbreaker and before recording songs for the film Staying Alive, he recorded his third solo album with Maurice's participation, How Old Are You?. The lead single "Juliet" was a success in Europe as well as "Another Lonely Night in New York" and the title track. In 1984, he released his fourth solo album Secret Agent, a new wave/synthpop-influenced LP (reached No. 97 in the US, No. 31 in Germany and No. 20 in Switzerland) The album's lead and first single "Boys Do Fall in Love" did reach the Billboard Magazine top 40 list of hits, the song reached No. 70 in the UK, No. 7 in South Africa and No. 10 in Italy. Other singles "title track and "In Your Diary" not repeated the success of the first single. In 1985, he released his fifth solo album Walls Have Eyes with the singles "Like a Fool" and "Toys", both songs were not charted in the US or UK. These three albums were more successful in Europe than in the UK or US. In 1986, Gibb joined Thompson Twins, Zak Starkey, Cliff Richard, Bonnie Tyler, John Parr and Holly Johnson under the name Anti-Heroin Project to record a charity single called "Live-In World". In late 1986, the Bee Gees began to writing and recording songs for their album E.S.P. to be released in 1987.
In 1991, the Bee Gees released High Civilization and singles "Secret Love" and "When He's Gone" and started with a European tour. In 1993, the band released Size Isn't Everything as well as Still Waters in 1997 with singles "Alone", "I Could Not Love You More" and "Still Waters (Run Deep)".
In 2001, the Bee Gees released their last album This Is Where I Came In and features his last composition on a Bee Gees record "Embrace". On 27 January 2003, fifteen days after Maurice's death, Robin released a solo album, Magnet in Germany on SPV GmbH, and worldwide shortly afterwards. Magnet featured the Bee Gees song "Wish You Were Here" (from the 1989 album One) in a new acoustic version. The lead single, "Please", had coincidental lyrics about "loss". After Maurice's death, Gibb and Barry again disbanded the Bee Gees; however, in late 2009, the two brothers announced that they would reform and perform again as the Bee Gees whenever they could. In recent years, Gibb sang the vocals to the opening titles to the British ITV show The Dame Edna Treatment. In August 2003, Gibb announced the release of a new single of "My Lover's Prayer", a song first recorded by the Bee Gees in 1997 on the album Still Waters, with lead vocals by Gibb and singers Wanya Morris and Lance Bass. That version was played on the radio but was never actually released. In October 2003, Gibb recorded a second version of the song with Alistair Griffin, a-runner up in the UK television program Fame Academy on which Gibb appeared as a judge. In January 2004, the new version of that song was released in the UK as a double A side CD single. It eventually reached number 5 in the UK music charts. In late 2004, Gibb embarked a solo tour of Germany, Russia and Asia with singer Alistair Griffin as the opening act. On his return to the UK, Gibb released a CD and DVD of live recordings from the German leg of the tour, backed by the Frankfurt Neue Philharmonic Orchestra of Frankfurt, Germany. In 2005, Gibb made a solo tour of Latin America.
In January 2005, Gibb joined his brother Barry and several other artists under the name One World Project to record a charity single in aid of Asian tsunami relief, titled "Grief Never Grows Old". Other artists who performed on the single included Boy George, Steve Winwood, Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Sir Cliff Richard, Bill Wyman, America, Kenney Jones, Chicago, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, Russell Watson and Davy Spillane. In June 2005, Gibb joined X Factor runner up band G4 at a sell-out concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, singing the Bee Gees song "First of May". In December 2005, a recordings of this performance was released as part of double A side single, credited as "G4 feat Robin Gibb" together with G4's cover version of the Johnny Mathis song "When a Child is Born". "First of May" also appeared on the platinum selling album G4 & Friends, which reached number 6 in the UK album charts. In the same year, Gibb presented master classes at Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and oversaw the selection for release of thesis works by music graduates for the next two terms.
On 20 February 2006, Gibb and Barry performed at a concert for Diabetes Research Institute of the University of Miami in Hollywood, Florida. This was their first joint performance since Maurice's death. In March 2006, Gibb announced plans for more solo concerts in Shanghai, China and Portugal. In May 2006, Gibb took part in the Prince's Trust 30th birthday Concert at the Tower of London along with Barry. They sang three songs: "Jive Talkin'", "To Love Somebody" and "You Should Be Dancing". In September 2006, Gibb performed "Stayin' Alive" at the Miss World 2006 contest finals in Warsaw, Poland. In November 2006, Gibb released an album of Christmas Carols called Robin Gibb – My Favourite Carols backed by The Serlo Concert, a London choir. This album featured a new song by Gibb called "Mother of Love", which was released in Europe as a download single. The song was inspired by Maurice and was Gibb's new composition since Maurice died. Gibb donated all royalties from "Mother of Love" to the Janki Foundation for Global Healthcare", and dedicated the song to Dadi Janki, the organisation's spiritual leader. Gibb dedicated the album to his mother, Barbara Gibb. Robin Gibb – My Favourite Carols has a bonus DVD disc titled A Personal Christmas Moment with Robin Gibb. Also in November 2006, Gibb performed a solo concert, entitled 'Bee Gees – Greatest Hits' at the Araneta Coliseum (now Smart Araneta Coliseum) in Manila, Philippines. Gibb marked his return to his birthplace by playing a concert at the Isle of Man TT festival in 2007. Gibb donated all of his share of the money from this concert to the children's ward at Noble's Hospital, Isle of Man, and invited all emergency service staff and marshals for the TT to attend for free. He also was a special guest of the United States Independence Day Concert called "A Capitol Fourth" held on the west lawn of the US Capitol as the lead singer of "How Deep is Your Love" and "Stayin' Alive".
On 18 May 2008, Gibb released the song "Alan Freeman Days" in tribute to the Australian DJ Alan Freeman. The song was issued as a download only track, although a promotional CD was issued by Academy Recordings. In December 2008, "Alan Freeman Days" was followed by another downloadable song titled "Wing and a Prayer", which shared the same name as a song from the 1989 One album. However, the new song was actually a reworking of the song, "Sing Slowly Sisters", that had remained unreleased since 1970. Later in December, Gibb issued another song, "Ellan Vannin (Home Coming Mix)", featuring the King William's College Choir from the Isle of Man. ("Ellan Vannin" is the Manx name for the Isle of Man.) On 8 September 2007, Gibb performed at a concert in Salt Lake City, Utah at EnergySolutions Arena for the Nu Skin Enterprises Covention, singing a set of Bee Gees hits. On 25 October 2007, Gibb performed at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria and sang the Bee Gees' most famous songs.
In 2008, Gibb completed a new solo album entitled 50 St. Catherine's Drive, but it was never released. The song "Instant Love" was a collaboration with Gibb's son Robin-John both having written the music and vocals. "Instant Love" featuring Robin-John on lead vocals appeared in a short film called Bloodtype: The Search in which Robin-John appeared. On 25 October 2008, to mark the 30th anniversary of the song "Saturday Night Fever" topping the UK charts, Gibb performed with special guests including Ronan Keating, Stephen Gateley, Sam Sparro, Sharleen Spiteri, Gabriella Climi and Bryn Christopher at the London music festival BBC Electric Proms. Gibb went back to the top of the UK charts in 2009 when he collaborated with singers Ruth Jones, Rob Brydon and Tom Jones on a new version of "Islands in the Stream", written by Gibb, Barry and Maurice. The new version, inspired by the BBC comedy TV show Gavin & Stacey, was created to benefit the charity Comic Relief. In 2010, Gibb was also a guest mentor on the Australian version of The X Factor, alongside TV host Kyle Sandilands, actress/singer Natalie Imbruglia, and singers Ronan Keating and Guy Sebastian. Also in 2010, Gibb toured in Australia with Bonnie Tyler as his supporting guest. Together they performed at Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. In September 2011, Gibb recorded the Bee Gees classic "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" with British Army men The Soldiers for a charity single in the UK, it was produced with his son Robin John Gibb and the video for which was produced by Vintage TV. Gibb was the subject of an edition of the BBC genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? first broadcast on 21 September 2011. On 30 January 2012, Gibb announced his intention to appear on stage at the Coming Home Concert at the London Palladium in February to benefit British soldiers returning home from Afghanistan. It would be his last performance on stage. Over a period of two years, Gibb and Robin-John wrote the score for The Titanic Requiem, recorded by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Gibb was due to attend the piece's premier on 10 April 2012 at the Central Hall, Westminster, London but his failing health kept him away. He died the next month.
In 1968 Gibb married Molly Hullis, a secretary in Robert Stigwood's organisation. The couple had both survived the Hither Green rail crash, which killed 49 people on 5 November 1967. They had two children together, Spencer (b. 1972) and Melissa (b. 1974). The couple divorced in 1980 after years of living separate lives, as Hullis filed for divorce in 22 May 1980, with Gibb almost permanently in the U.S. and Hullis remaining in the UK. On 9 September 1983, Gibb was arrested and sentenced to 14 days in prison for illegally speaking to the press about his previous marriage.
Gibb's second marriage, from 1985 until his death, was to Dwina Murphy Gibb, an author and artist. She is interested in the Druidry religion and is a follower of the neo-Hindu Brahma Kumaris movement. The couple had a son, Robin-John (known as RJ (b. 1983). Robin-John's first major musical project is the Titanic Requiem (2012), written with Gibb and first performed at the Central Hall, Westminster, London, on 10 April 2012, by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and RSVP Voices. 
Politically, Gibb was a supporter of New Labour, the British Labour Party under Tony Blair. He launched a rally in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ahead of the 2005 General Election. He was a close friend of the former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was criticised for staying over at Gibb's Miami mansion during Christmas 2006. In 2008 Gibb publicly stated that he continued to get on "like a house on fire" with Blair, and claimed that the then Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown regularly listened to the Bee Gees. "He listens to our music every day. Gordon likes our music and I like Gordon," he told The Times. In a tribute upon his death, longtime friend Tony Blair said: "Robin was not only an exceptional and extraordinary musician and songwriter, he was a highly intelligent, interesting and committed human being. He was a great friend with a wonderful open and fertile mind and a student of history and politics."
Robin Gibb worked on behalf of several charities. He was the organiser of the Sunseeker Ball in aid of the Outward Bound Trust. For the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), Gibb served as president from 2007 to 2012. He was also the longest serving president (2008–2011) of the Heritage Foundation, which honours figures of British culture and facilitated his campaign on behalf of the Bomber Command Memorial Appeal.
Health problems and death
On 14 August 2010, while performing in Belgium, Gibb began to feel abdominal pains. On 18 August, at an Oxford hospital, he underwent emergency surgery for a blocked intestine, the same condition that his brother, Maurice, suffered from (Maurice died from a heart attack while awaiting surgery for the condition). Gibb recovered and returned to perform concerts in New Zealand and Australia. During this time, Gibb was also involved in promoting fund-raising for the memorial dedicated to RAF Bomber Command in Green Park, London. Gibb also wrote The Titanic Requiem with his son Robin-John, which was recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in 2012. Gibb continued to make television appearances and other events following his surgery, but in April 2011 he was forced by health problems to cancel his tour of Brazil. Another concert in Paris was cancelled in October 2011. On 14 October, Gibb was due to perform the charity single with the Soldiers, but was again rushed to hospital with severe abdominal pains. On 18 October, following his release from the hospital, Gibb appeared on ITV's The Alan Titchmarsh Show looking gaunt and frail.
On 27 October 2011, Gibb cancelled an appearance only minutes before he was due to perform at the Poppy Appeal Concert in London. Later the same week however, Gibb was seen in London and quoted as saying he felt "absolutely great".
In November 2011, he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, which had metastasised to his liver several months earlier. In an interview published in The Mail on Sunday on 22 January 2012, Gibb spoke for the first time of the cancer.
"For more than 18 months, I had lived with an inflammation of the colon; then I was diagnosed with colon cancer, which spread to the liver. I have undergone chemotherapy, however, and the results — to quote my doctor — have been 'spectacular'. It’s taken a toll, naturally, but the strange thing is that I've never felt seriously ill. I’ve mostly felt great. There have been many false claims around, which I'd like to dispel. I am not and have never been 'at death's door'. Nor do I have a team of alternative doctors working on my health. That's not true, although I'm not averse to healthy remedies for any illness. I feel they can go together with conventional medicine. I do eat health foods and drink herbal teas made for me by Dwina, my wife and RJ's mother. Other than that, I am under the care of Dr. Peter Harper at The London Clinic".
In March 2012, Gibb was hospitalised for intestinal surgery and cancelled scheduled appearances while recovering. In April, however, he contracted pneumonia and fell into a coma. Although he came out of his coma later in April, his colorectal cancer had advanced and he died in London on 20 May 2012 at the age of 62 from liver and kidney failure. His funeral was held on 8 June 2012 and he was buried at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, near his home in Thame, Oxfordshire. In September of the same year, a blue plaque was placed on the house.
The Who's Roger Daltrey recalls: "A lovely, lovely guy. I hear everyone talking about the success of their career but I haven't heard many talk about him as a singer and I used to think he was one of the best. To me, singing is about moving people and Robin's voice had something about it that could move me and, I'm sure, millions of others. It was almost like his heart was on the outside." John Travolta recalls, "I thought Robin was one of the most wonderful people, gifted, generous and a real friend to everyone he knew. And we'll miss him." Tim Rice described Gibb as "a charming man". Rice adds: "I saw him only a couple of weeks ago, He wasn't at all well but was putting up a marvelous fight. It's a terrible loss for the music industry." Gibb's friend Cliff Richard says, "We are a fraternity of people who sing pop and rock and Robin is another one of us who's gone too soon, too early. So the legacy will be what the Bee Gees did, which was stunning, stunningly good stuff, right on a par with the Beatles." Ringo Starr told the BBC: "Robin will be remembered as a musician and as a singer and part of the Bee Gees. The legacy they'll leave behind is 'Stayin' Alive', the harmonies and the songs that they've written." Dionne Warwick says: "He was wonderful. He was a jokester. He had an incredibly witty sense of humour and was fun to be around. All three of them were sensational gentlemen first, just fun loving guys. I think what was most attractive to me was how grounded they were. I think a lot of it has to do with their sense of family and being together as a family. That is very important, to be connected. They loved each other very strongly and showed it, and it was a joy."
Kenny Rogers adds: "Robin was a part of something unique, The sound of the Bee Gees was so specific and dominating, especially in the 70s, unlike anything that had ever happened before or will ever happen again. Mostly, Robin was a good guy who didn't deserve to die this young. We will all miss him for what he was as a person and what he brought to music." Other artists paid tribute to Gibb including Justin Timberlake (who played Robin in the SNL skit The Barry Gibb Talk Show), Ronan Keating, Liam Gallagher, Hanson, David Dramain of Disturbed, Atmosphere, Paula Abdul, Jake Shears of The Scissor Sisters, Jermaine Dupri, Peter Frampton, Adam Hills, Peter Andre, Richard Marx, Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, The Doors, Bruno Mars, Sam Sparro, Elton John, Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed, Duran Duran, The Script and Bryan Adams.
Acclaim and recognition
In 1994, Gibb was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California. In 1997, the Bee Gees were inducted as a group into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, US. At the 1997 BRIT Awards held in Earls Court, London on 24 February, the Bee Gees received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
In the New Year Honours 2002 Gibb was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) along with his brothers Maurice and Barry. However, the official presentation ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London was delayed until 2004 due to Maurice's death.
In May 2004, Gibb and his brother Barry both received honorary doctorates of music from The University of Manchester, England. In 2005, Gibb received the Steiger Award (Miner Award) in Bochum, Germany for accomplishments in the arts. On 10 July 2009, both brothers were also made Freemen of the Borough of Douglas, Isle of Man. The award was also bestowed posthumously on Maurice, therefore confirming the freedom of the town of their birth to Gibb, Barry and Maurice.
The radio and television presenter Paul Gambaccini has stated that the Bee Gees were "second only to Lennon and McCartney as the most successful songwriting unit in British popular music", and recognised Gibb as "one of the major figures in the history of British music [and] one of the best white soul voices ever". Gibb was a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA).
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robin Gibb.|
- Robin Gibb's personal website
- Robin Gibb's MySpace page
- Gibb Songs Magnet by Joseph Brennan
- Words & Music, Fans Of The Brothers Gibb
- Promo Video, My Lover's Prayer
- Robin Gibb at the Internet Movie Database
- Commemorative plaques featuring Robin Gibb on Open Plaques
- Who Do You Think You Are? - Robin Gibb Family History