Day 143 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012
What a mixed bag of a day it has been so far! TV and radio last night and this morning have been full of the death of Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees on May 20th, leaving only Barry as the surviving brother of the group.
It may not be known to my overseas readers, but the Bee Gees spent most of their formative years living here in Brisbane in the suburb of Redcliffe by the bay. They were born in England but the family relocated to Australia in 1958. So you see, us Queenslanders like to claim the Gibb boys as our very own!
They did move to Sydney in 1963 – 1966 trying to make it in the “big time” but after 10 singles that flopped, the three brothers: Barry, Maurice and Robin hopped on a ship (it took six weeks to sail to England in those days) and while they were sailing, their hit “Spicks and Specks” made it to the top of the charts!
They only found out about their success when they got to England. Apparently though, they never forgot their roots here in Australia and would always catch up with old mates when they came back to visit.
They had made it to the big time in Australia and now had to begin again in England. It must have been a blow for them. However, they were talented musicians and it wasn’t long before they were being compared to the Beatles. It is believed their estimated record sales was in excess of 220 million! That is a lot of records folks.
And don’t forget the songs they wrote like Islands in the Stream that Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers sang together in 1983. So with the death of Robin, the Bee Gees are more or less defunct as a group. However, I do believe their sister Lesley was recruited to appear on stage with them at one time. I never realised too that they were responsible for the songs for Saturday Night Fever, a career high for them.
Now if you were like me and were a bit confused as to how many brothers formed the group and who died when, I will explain. There were four brothers, only three of them making up the Bee Gees: Barry, Maurice and Robin. A younger brother Andy Gibb was a solo artist and was about to join the group when he died tragically young in 1988 from a heart complication.
Brothers Maurice and Robin were twins, Maurice died from a heart attack in 2003 whilst waiting for surgery on a strangulated bower. And now Robin has died as a result of cancer. They have not exactly had a good long life have they? Poor old Barry must be feeling a bit lonely at this time as the eldest and sole survivor of the group. My deepest sympathy Barry.
Now, there were some good stories that were coming out when I was listening to the radio through the night (yes a spot of sleeplessness always provides information). One woman phoned to say that she remembers the three Gibb brothers playing in a pub in Sydney – all of them well under 21 years of age – the youngest only 15yrs old!
In those days, there was no drinking in pubs if you were under 21. So, this lady (being just 21) would buy a jug of beer during their breaks and take it to the kitchen area where she would sit and drink beer with them. Oh, and their father was there too, condoning the drinking of beer under age!!
She told how she has followed their career and was so proud when they were so successful later on. But, she said “Oh, but they were very ordinary musicians at that time!” Obviously they improved somewhere along the line eh? It was so nice to hear some great tales of this kind from ordinary Aussies who had encountered the group.
This morning Spencer Howson, was all over the subject saying that there should be a street in Redcliffe named after them “Honourmastically.” I thought “what in the name of goodness does that word mean?” Well folks, it appears it means to honour someone by naming a place after them (don’t bother looking in the dictionary!)
As I write this blog, I hear the announcer on the radio is interviewing the Redcliffe Mayor. Apparently as the city heart of Redcliffe has just been refurbished, they will name a walk-way (presently unnamed) after the Bee Gees (like Bee Gees Way) and as there is a wall along one side they will record the history of the group on it. I told you we loved the Bee Gees here in Brisbane!
One of my favourites songs was “How Deep is Your Love” which was covered by about 400 other artists. How amazing is that? With the death of Robin, the Bee Gees seem to have reached the end of the line. The music finally … has died.
Today, let us salute this group who went on to win so many awards including nine Grammys and had countless hits going on to have solo careers as well. An amazing group. Us Aussies will never forget you all and especially today:
R.I.P. Robin Gibb
AN UPDATE as at Feb 2013:
The group the Bee Gees has managed to continue touring appearing here in Brisbane earlier this month. My son saw them and said they sounded exactly the same as their records. Barry’s son appeared with the group plus other backing singers. An emotional Barry also unveiled a statue of the three brothers in a street in Redcliffe now called Bee Gees Way complete with a history and pictures of the group.