A Rockapaedia Obituary

Robin Gibb

Group: The BeeGees

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Robin Gibb died on 20th May 2012 at the age of sixty-Robin Gibb imagetwo from liver and kidney failure whilst in London, U.K.. His funeral was held on 8th June 2012 and he was buried at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, near his home in Thame, Oxfordshire, U.K.
In November 2011, Robin had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, which had metastasised to his liver several months earlier. In an interview published in January 2012, Robin Gibb spoke for the first time of the cancer. He said that for more than eighteen months he had lived with an inflammation of the colon; and then was diagnosed with colon cancer, which spread to his liver. He had undergone chemotherapy, however, and the results — to quote his doctor — had been 'spectacular'. It had taken a toll, naturally, but the strange thing was is that he'de never felt seriously ill but mostly felt great.
In March 2012, Robin 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.
On 14th August 2010, while performing in Belgium, Robin began to feel abdominal pains. On 18th August, at an Oxford hospital, he underwent emergency surgery for a blocked intestine, the same condition that his brother, Maurice, suffered and died following surgery for the condition. Robin Gibb recovered and returned to perform concerts in New Zealand and Australia. During this time, Robin Gibb was also involved in promoting fund-raising for the memorial dedicated to RAF Bomber Command in Green Park, London. Robin 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 14th October, Robin Gibb was due to perform the charity single with the Soldiers, but was again rushed to hospital with severe abdominal pains. On 18th October, following his release from the hospital, Robin appeared on ITV's The Alan Titchmarsh Show looking gaunt and frail.

Robin Hugh Gibb was born on 22nd December 1949 in Jane Crookall Maternity Home in Douglas, Isle of Man. He was the fraternal twin of Maurice Gibb and was the older of the two by 35 minutes. Apart from Maurice, he had one sister, Lesley Evans, and two brothers, Barry and Andy.
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 they lived in Queensland, Australia. The Bee Gees' debut television appearance was in 1960 on Desmond Tester's Strictly for Moderns when they performed "Time Is Passing By". When they signed to Festival Records at the start of 1963 they released their debut single, "The Battle of the Blue and the Grey". Their 1964 single "Claustrophobia" is notable for being the first song that features Robin Gibb as an instrumentalist playing melodica. The first Bee Gees record on which he sang lead was "I Don't Think It's Funny" in 1965. In 1966, he wrote his first song "I Don't Know Why I Bother With Myself" that was credited to himself. Also in 1966, Robin Gibb and his brother Barry took more solo vocals.
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 Europe in 1967 and 1968 as well as the US in August 1968. The band's first UK number one was "Massachusetts" which features Robin Gibb on lead vocal. On the day it reached number one, 5 November 1967, Robin Gibb recalled to The Mail on Sunday on 1st November 2009 that it was a bittersweet victory and the day it went to Number one it was Bonfire Night and he was in the Hither Green rail crash in Lewisham. Forty-nine people died and it was one of Britain's worst rail disasters. Luckily he didn't get injured. He remembered sitting at the side of the carriage, watching the rain pour down, fireworks go off and blue lights of the ambulances whirring. It was, to him, like something out of a Spielberg film. He thought: at least there is one consolation, we have our first UK number one.
On 13th June 1968, Robin Gibb recorded demos for seven songs, accompanying himself on guitar. The tape listed Robin alone as artist and songwriter. On 27th July 1968, Robin Gibb collapsed and fell unconscious. He was later admitted to a London nursing home suffering from nervous exhaustion, and was moved to a facility in Sussex on 31st July to continue his recuperation. The group, about to embark on its first US tour, cancelled four dates after Robin Gibb had a relapse and flew back to England for additional rest.
Robin Gibb co-wrote "Only One Woman", The Marbles' debut single, which was a hit in several countries, especially in Europe and New Zealand. The Bee Gees' single "I Started a Joke," on which Robin sang lead, was not released as a single in the UK but was the group's first US Top ten hit. Robin Gibb claimed that the melody of the song was inspired by the sounds he heard in a jet engine.
In August, the band started to record 'Odessa'. In January 1969, Robin Gibb co-wrote another Marbles single, "The Walls Fell Down," and co-produced the sessions that same month. 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 Bee Gees' last recording session with Robin was in February 1969.
On 19th March 1969, Robin announced that he was leaving the Bee Gees the same day as the band recorded "Tomorrow Tomorrow" and that became their first single without Robin. In his solo career, Robin Gibb was initially successful with a number two UK hit, "Saved by the Bell", which sold over one million copies and received a gold disc. He performed that song on the German TV show Beat-Club. Robin also started a mini-tour, making television appearances in a dozen countries to promote "Saved by the Bell". By 19th 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 making his own film called /Family Tree'.
On 31st January and 1st February 1970, Robin Gibb performed 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 Robin Gibb sang on the chorus with Mick Taylor, Klaus Voormann, Madeline Bell, three members of The Family Dogg, Jackie Lomax, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and others. By January 1970, Robin Gibb started to record his second solo album 'Sing Slowly Sisters'. He wanted "Great Caesar's Ghost" to be released as a single around 1970 with "Engines, Aeroplanes" as the B-side but the two songs were not included on that album and is still released.
On 13th June, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibbreunited and they recorded four songs, with two of the four tracks released on their upcoming album 2 Years On. The session was originally for Maurice alone as he brought Robin to the sessions. On the 21 June sessions, the pair recorded another five songs.
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'. On 21st August, it was announced that Barry rejoined the group and record together, and the first song after the announcement was "Lonely Days" which reached number three in the US Billboard Hot 100. The '2 Years On' album contains Robin Gibb's compositions including "Alone Again", he also co-wrote and sang lead vocals on the title track as well as "Man For All Seasons". In December 1970, Robin Gibb recorded a demo "After the Laughter". The Bee Gees made their first US number one single "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart", Robin Gibb contributed on the song, writing with Barry and sang lead vocals on its first verse.
In April 1972, two months after the departure of drummer Geoff Bridgford, Robin wrote his last solo composition on a Bee Gees record "Never Been Alone". In 1976, on the group's 'Children of the World' album, he sang lead on "Love Me" as well as doing falsetto on the track's coda, and he also used his falsetto on his lead vocal part on the song "Lovers" as Barry provided lead vocals on the entire song. On the 'Saturday Night Fever' soundtrack, he did not sing lead vocals on any Bee Gees song, unlike their previous and next albums. There were four tracks off the album that reached the UK Top 10; "How Deep Is Your Love", "More Than A Woman", "Stayin' Alive", and "You Should Be Dancing". Moreover, "Night Fever" held the top rank in 1978.
In 1978, Robin 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".
Robin recorded his second 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 third solo album 'Secret Agent', a new wave/synthpop-influenced LP which reached Number ninety-seven in the USA, number thirty-one in Germany and number twenty in Switzerland. The album's lead and first single "Boys Do Fall in Love" did reach the Billboard Magazine top forty list of hits, the song reached number seventy in the UK, number seven in South Africa and number ten Italy. Other singles such as the title track and "In Your Diary" did not repeat the success of the first single. Due to the success of "Boys Do Fall in Love", he performed the song in several TV shows including Eldorado.
In 1985, Robin released his fourth 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 USA. In 1986, Robin Gibb joined the 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".
On 27th January 2003, fifteen days after Maurice Gibb'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'. Robin Gibb sang the vocals to the opening titles to the British ITV show The Dame Edna Treatment. In August 2003, Robin 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 Robin Gibb and singers Wanya Morris and Lance Bass. That version was played on the radio but was never actually released. In October 2003, Robin Gibb recorded a second version of the song with Alistair Griffin, a-runner up in the UK television program Fame Academy on which Robin 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 five in the UK music charts. In late 2004, Robin Gibb embarked a solo tour of Germany, Russia and Asia with singer Alistair Griffin as the opening act. On his return to the UK, Robin 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, Robin Gibb made a solo tour of Latin America.
In January 2005, Robin 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, Robin Gibb joined The 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 recording 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 six in the UK album charts. In the same year, Robin 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 20th February 2006, Robin Gibb and Barry Gibb 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, Robin Gibb announced plans for more solo concerts in Shanghai, China and Portugal.
In May 2006, Robin Gibb took part in the Prince's Trust 30th birthday Concert at the Tower of London along with Barry Gibb. They sang three songs: "Jive Talkin'", "To Love Somebody" and "You Should Be Dancing". In September 2006, Robin Gibb performed at the Miss World 2006 contest finals in Warsaw, Poland. In November 2006, Robin Gibb released his sixth album 'My Favourite Christmas Carols'; the last album released in his lifetime. 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 Robin Gibb's newest composition since Maurice died. Robin 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. Ropicture of Robinbin Gibb dedicated the album to his mother, Barbara. 'My Favourite Christmas Carols' has a bonus DVD disc titled 'A Personal Christmas Moment with Robin Gibb'. Also in November 2006, Robin Gibb performed a solo concert, entitled 'Bee Gees – Greatest Hits' at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila, Philippines. Robin Gibb marked his return to his birthplace by playing a concert at the Isle of Man TT festival in 2007. Robin 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.
On 18th May 2008, Robin 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, Robin 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 8th September 2007, Robin Gibb performed at a concert in Salt Lake City, Utah at EnergySolutions Arena for the Nu Skin Enterprises Convention, singing a set of Bee Gees hits. On 25th October 2007, Robin Gibb performed at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria and sang the Bee Gees' most famous songs.
In 2008, Robin Gibb completed a new solo album entitled 50 St. Catherine's Drive, but it was never released until 2014. On 25th October 2008, to mark the 30th anniversary of the song "Saturday Night Fever" topping the UK charts, Robin 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. Robin 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 Robin, Barry and MauriceGibb . The new version, inspired by the BBC comedy TV show Gavin & Stacey, was created to benefit the charity Comic Relief.
In 2010, Robin 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, Robin Gibb toured in Australia with Bonnie Tyler as his supporting guest. Together they performed at Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. In September 2011, Robin 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. Robin Gibb was the subject of an edition of the BBC genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? first broadcast on 21st September 2011. On 30th January 2012, Robin 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, Robin 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. Robin 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.

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song: 'New York Mining Disaster' by The BeeGees