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Thanks to the incredible success of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Barry Gibb’s falsetto voice is used by many to describe the sound of the Bee Gees, but during the group’s initial rise to stardom, it was brother Robin’s more vulnerable pitch that drew the most attention. An unsure, yet powerful quiver, his voice sold classics like “I Started A Joke” and made radio stations and fans take notice. In later years, it was utilized to harmonizing perfection, a perfect support for Barry’s smooth high notes. Sadly, that voice is now gone.
Robin passed away today following a lengthy battle with cancer. Just sixty-two-years-old, he fought the disease gamely, but ultimately, it proved to be more than he could handle. According to Rolling Stone, his family released a statement this evening confirming the loss and asking fans for privacy. No memorial or tributes have been planned, but given how beloved Robin was, one would imagine whatever is held will be well attended.
The Bee Gees first started performing in Australia while the brothers were just teenagers. A few minor hits followed before the guys headed back to England and found a wide audience in the late 60s. It seemed like they’d spend the next few decades conquering the music world together, but in-fighting led Robin to quit for a few years and strike out on his own. He enjoyed moderate success but later reformed with his brothers. In 1977, they contributed most of the songs for Saturday Night Fever, and the soundtrack reached number one around the world. At one point, six songs written by the Bee Gees combined to hold the number one spot on the Billboard singles charts for 25 of 32 weeks.
Inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and beloved by millions of fans, Robin Gibb found great success as a musician. More importantly, he found great success as a husband and father. Our thoughts go out to everyone touched by his loss.