Monday, May 21, 2012

Robin Hugh Gibb, CBE (22 December 1949 – 20 May 2012)

Robin Gibb, member of the British pop group The Bee Gees, died yesterday following a protracted battle with colorectal cancer. He was 62.

Robin Gibb - robin-gibb photo

His family emigrated to England in 1967 after a run of nearly 20 flop singles in their native Australia, and was summarily "discovered" by rock impressario Robert Stigwood. In a matter of two weeks their images were cast in that of the Beatles, as pop stars, and they experienced immediate success with charting singles that went on for some five decades. 200,000,000 records later, they remain among the most loved and revered pop groups from the British Invasion of the mid- '60's.

Robin had a reedy, vibrato-laden voice that was immediately recognizable, and was well known as the lead singer on such early Bee Gees hits as "I Started A Joke", "Odessa", and "I've Gotta Get A Message To You". Their early period (1967-1973) was filled with beautiful, psychedelic pop gems, a fact soon forgotten as they pioneered "blue eyed soul" in the 70's. With the addition of record producer Arif Marden and a new sound that was arriving on the horizon, the team catapulted disco into the musical fore with "Saturday Night Fever", a movie starring John Travolta that started a new and somewhat divisive era in pop music. Centered around dancing and the discoteque lifestyle, it alienated the rock audiences who were accustomed to album rock and concerts as their delivery system of music and entertainment in general. The movement spawned backlashes, and disco record burnings, much like the record burnings that took place in the 60's South surrounding the protest of rock music. Soon, America and the world were dancing along, and there was no looking back (at least for the time being... Classic rock, as it's known now, outlived disco with its many resurgences and revivals over the many decades since the 50's.).

Robin, along with the brothers Gibb, won numerous awards spanning their illustrious careers. 
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 2002, Gibb was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2002 New Year Honours, 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, Robin and Barry both received Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Music from The University of Manchester in Manchester, England. In 2005, Robin Gibb received the Steiger Award (Miner Award) in Bochum, Germany for accomplishments in the arts. On 10 July 2009, both Robin and Barry were 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 Barry, Robin and Maurice.

Robin (center) was preceded in death by his twin brother, Maurice (left), and his younger brother Andy, a singer/songwriter with hits in his own right. Barry (pictured on the right) remains the sole survivor of the original group.

Tomorrow, we'll get back to more features on music, gear, and topics surrounding the audiophile scene. Till then, keep your tubes hot and your antenna up! See you then!

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