May 212012

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees died yesterday, 5 weeks following reports of his impending death. I’ve got a horrible knack for occasionally posting inappropriate-if-deeply-personal obituaries, but Robin Gibb’s death saddens me to an appropriate level. The Bee Gees, in my book, were among the Good Guys of Music. I know nothing about who they really were, how they treated the Little People, etc, but their love for music seemed to guide all their weird turns as artists. It’s all about the music, man, and the Bee Gees exemplified that. I mean, what other group of white artists—Australians cum the British Invasion, no less—got through the disco era without charges of “Sell Out?” It was preposterous that this whitest of white, toothy trio would be the Kings of Disco. And they meant it, man.

It’s sad that 3 out of 4 Brothers Gibb died young. Momma Gibb, who I’ve seen in Bee Gees documentaries, is still alive. No mom should have to live through the death of 3 of her sons. That’s really sad, even if I didn’t like the music of the Bee Gees. But like their music I do!

My Mom was so into the Bee Gees’ disco records—and then their astounding contributions to Saturday Night Fever! The Disco Era marked the period in her early 30s when she “found herself,” as we used to say. She grew into her own skin during those really tough years following my parents’ divorce. The girl who used to dance on American Bandstand, as she reminded me she did following Dick Clark’s recent death, was spending her precious free time on the weekends out on the disco floor, looking for Mr. Right, or Mr. Goodbar, as it might have turned out. Getting out for a night of dancing was pure joy for her, something that never made sense to me, but it was cool to hear her talk about her exploits, the guy she met who had “so much rhythm.” As I always feel, it was cool to hear her express her love for dancing to the Bee Gees. At first I’d cringe when she’d put on one of their disco-era records and begin dancing, but eventually her love for the music—and the brothers’ love for making that music—won me over. Thanks for reminding us how to care during the Me Generation, Robin, Maurice, Barry, and now and then even Andy.

A few oddities follow


  8 Responses to “Robin Gibb Is Now Dead”

  1. tonyola

    I’m not a real fan of the BeeGees in their disco munchkin-voice phase but for their first decade (1967-1977), the boys were solid purveyors of sublime schlock-rock. I’ve assembled my own Greatest Hits package with the following 15 songs:

    Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You
    New York Mining Disaster 1941
    To Love Somebody
    Cucumber Castle
    I Can’t See Nobody
    Got to Get a Message to You
    I Started A Joke
    Lonely Days
    How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
    Run To Me
    Nights on Broadway

    Some great stuff there. It’s a keeper collection and I do play it once in a while. RIP Robin – you are among the true immortals of pop.

  2. RIP, Robin….Jeez, ya know, I’m kinda feeling sadder about this than I would have thought. I know it’s been said elsewhere, and possibly at some point in The Hall, but, with vocal groups, there is something special about the sound achieved by the ones comprised of family members (The Everly Bros, The Beach Boys, The Staple Singers, The J5, those Peterson gals in The Bangles, etc., etc.- hell, maybe even Hanson!). Something to do with the shared genetic material? I dunno, but it really is different-sounding to me than non-related harmony singers…a little more intangibly goose bump-inducing. Anyway, it’s sad that this group of brothers won’t get to make those sounds together anymore (and that really is heartbreaking that the mom outlived three of her sons).

  3. Nice. A great playlist to counter the media portryal of the Bee Gees as primarily a “disco” group.

  4. misterioso

    Extra credit for “Run to Me”–what a great song.

  5. Happiness Stan

    I woke up in the middle of the night on sunday and a medley of Bee Gees songs was playing (I’ve got one of those pillows with a little speaker built in so as not to bother Mrs H) and even half-asleep it was obvious that he’d now gone.

    “Run To Me” was the first single I bought with my own money. It’s not one of their best remembered, but I still have it and have picked up most of their 67-76 output since then.

    I’d promised a good friend when they announced their Odessa dates that we’d get together and go to it, shortly after that Maurice died. It’s a real shame that Robin has gone, even more so that it was ahead of his major dates in London.

    I went to see Oasis around the time of their second or third single and commenting to the friend I went with afterwards that there were definite traces of Bee Gees in their music, for which I was heartily mocked. About three months later I read an interview with Noel Gallagher in which he cited them as a big influence, and their music which was so roundly derided in the late seventies and eighties has now become possible to enjoy again without the contemptuous hoots from music snobs.

    I’ve always been proud to admit to loving their output, Tony’s compilation looks pretty sound, I think I may well reproduce it and force my kids to listen to it, before moving on to 1st, Odessa and Idea.

  6. hrrundivbakshi

    That “Idea” video is awesome!

  7. Isn’t it? Someone needs to craft a video that pays homage to it.

  8. misterioso

    It is very cool, I think from a Bee Gees German (true stereo?) tv special ca. 1968.

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