He was a great songwriter as well, with and without his brothers, but their greatest attribute collectively and separately was being able to reinvent themselves.
Even as children, there was never any doubt in the minds of the Gibb brothers that they were going to be pop stars.
“We knew we wanted to make records and to write,” Robin Gibb once said, “but we never knew where we were going with it. We would daydream and night dream and every other kind of dream.”
The dream came true, several times over, but during the group’s fledgling years in Brisbane in the early 1960s the Bee Gees found success hard to come by.
Spicks and Specks, the song that became their first Australian hit, was their 12th single.
Before they could enjoy that moment the Gibb brothers, Barry, Maurice and Robin, had gone back home to England looking for a break. It was that willingness to move on that made the Bee Gees and its individual components successful for decades, taking them from the suburbs of Brisbane to the stadiums of the world after their phenomenal success in the disco era of the 1970s.
Robin’s final work is a good example of his diversity. After years of crafting songs for international artists such as Celine Dion and Kenny Rogers, Robin turned another corner by composing, along with his son Robin-John, the Titanic Requiem, a classical piece to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster.
The record was released last month.
On one track, Don’t Cry Alone, Gibb’s final contribution as a vocalist is sadly prophetic.
“No, don’t you ever doubt me
Ill be there for you forever
Don’t you ever cry
Ill sweep away your tears and sorrow
And I’ll be with you close tomorrow”.
Beyond the sadness of that lyric, however, is the distinctive, fragile voice that could only be Robin Gibb. It has changed little since the Bee Gees records on which he took lead vocals 45 years ago, such as I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You and Massachusetts.
It’s a voice that will live on through those landmark recordings, from pop to disco and classical, songs that made Robin Gibb one of the most successful musicians of the 20th century.
Complete Live Concert from Melbourne by the Bee Gees.