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Monday, July 30, 2018

The Tragic Story of The Bee Gees and Andy

The Bee Gees - Barry, Robin and Maurice, with younger brother, Andy, joining them

This weekend seems to be very different. Had so many things going on in my mind. After editing two video clips for my travel blog, I began searching music to be downloaded for my upcoming vlog.

The search landed me on Jim Croce songs - Photograph and Memories and Time in a Bottle.  Playing the songs and hearing the melodies, my appetite for soulful music began to pick up. And there, commences my period of sentimental Sunday morning.

I searched for more soft rock songs in youtube until Andy Gibb's Our Love (Don't Throw It All Away) popped up.

I knew nothing about Andy. Though I am aware that he was the youngest brother of the siblings singing group, The Bee Gees, I have not explored his music before. Later, I found out that most of his songs, which I already heard, I have mistakenly believed were from The Bee Gees. Andy's voice has a striking similarity to his brothers, Barry and Robin. Well probably because almost all his hit songs were written by Barry.

In fact, until today, I did not know that Our Love was Andy's hit. Though The Bee Gees recorded it in 1977 for John Travolta's Saturday Night Fever, it was Andy's version in 1978 that made the song infinitely popular and soulful.

This surprising discovery about Andy Gibb prompted my curiosity to learn more about him. He had been dead for 30 years now but what I discovered about this man is something that really made me so emotional.

Here was a man of his time, full of life, charming, good-looking, with a pair of sleepy hazel eyes, and had a soulful voice, but unfortunately consumed with depression. His young life was beaten by alcohol and drug addiction which led to his sudden death in 1988 at the young age of 30.

I knew little about Andy, perhaps because it was his brothers who were so famous during the time I was learning to appreciate good music. It was always The Bee Gees and nothing about Andy in my childhood memories.

The Bee Gees, composed of Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, the first band group that I adored, have songs that are so timeless and their ballad feels like a cure to a wounded soul. I grew up loving Massachusetts and Someone Belonging to Someone.

I always love this iconic band. I grew up listening to their songs. For me they were simply the best, extraordinary than any other boy bands in the music industry. Even The Beatles paled in comparison, at least in my own standard of music. There's something in their style of music that sets them apart from their rivals, perhaps it's the melody and the level of emotions they demonstrated in the lyrics. They can transform the soft rock genre into a delicately soulful music. The Gibb brothers were simply genius.

Why are they so perfectly harmonious? Perhaps because they have some variations in their songs. They can excel on rock 'n roll and discorama genres without being tasteless when they switch to ballad and mellow rock as exemplified in their hit songs Someone Belonging To Someone Massachusetts, How Deep Is Your Love, Words, New York Mining Disaster and I Started a Joke.

The brothers themselves have contrasting voice qualities that made them a wonderful group band. Their voices blended so perfectly, creating a melodious and harmonious music, full of soul. Barry belted on falsetto and did background vocals (most songs of Andy with background vocals in falsetto were done by Barry) while Robin sang on vibrato, where he was the main voice behind Massachusetts and I Started a Joke. 

The Bee Gees in 1997
The brothers performing in a live concert

The Bee Gees group had been one of the most highly successful boy bands in the music history and one of the world's best-selling artists of all time. They were the only group to write and produce six songs that made it to the number one music chart in the U.S.

They were an unforgettable boy band that has not faded in the memory of music lovers even with the passing of time. Simply timeless.

But here's the cliche.

Contrary to popular belief that Bee Gees or BGs stand for "Brothers Gibb", reports had it that BGs actually were taken from the initials of Bill Gates (no, not the billionaire Microsoft founder), an Australian DJ who introduced the brothers to Australian music market, Bill Goode, an Australian Speedway promoter and driver who commissioned the Gibb brothers to sing in the track race and Barry Gibb.

The Gibb brothers catapulted to fame and unprecedented stardom when they composed the hit songs of Saturday Night Fever, Stayin Alive and You Should be Dancing, and became legends in the disco craze era of 1970s to 1980s.

The brothers were born in the Isle of Man in England but grew up in Manchester before moving to Australia with the rest of their family in 1958. It was in Australia that they established themselves as Bee Gees.

However, it was not the songs alone that drew my attention to admire this legendary singing group, it was the circumstances of their lives and their personal story. Especially the tragedy (ironically, the title of one of their hit songs) that befell to their family.

I adored them because they were brothers. It's so rare to hear siblings working and singing together and became highly successful in the world stage. Their youngest brother, Andy, followed suit but launched himself as a solo artist separate from his brothers. 

Though he was a solo artist, most of Andy's songs were composed and produced by his 3 brothers. His most popular and greatest hit songs, Shadow Dancing, Our Love (Don't Throw it All Away), Everlasting Love, I just want to be your everything and Rest Your Love On Me, his duet with Australian pop icon, Olivia Newton-John, were composed by Barry who also did the backup vocals. So much so that when you hear Andy Gibb's songs you would think it's The Bee Gees.

He was the most charming and good-looking among the Gibb brothers. Girls in his time were swooning on him. He was simply gorgeous and yet had a sad, private life despite his success. And this is where my emotions shook. The story of Andy.

Andy, who was born in a year his three big brothers started a music group, had a tragic life. And his fame was also short lived. Born to a family known with inclination to music, Andy gravitated to fame  when he started his solo music career, but despite this, the youngest Gibb was secretly suffering from depression worsened by his addiction to alcohol and cocaine. 

While he oscillated in fame and success in his singing career, Andy was rapidly consumed with drugs and alcohol. He went to a drug rehabilitation center but seemed too late. In between his performances and hit songs, he was slowly drowned with depression.

In February 1988, Barry, Maurice and Robin announced that their youngest brother will be joining them in The Bee Gees which would have made them four in the group. But Andy did not live long to realize this dream.

Andy Gibb

On March 10, 1988, only five days after he celebrated his 30th birthday, Andy Gibb died from inflammation of the heart as a result of drug and alcohol abuse. Contrary to reports, Andy did not die from drug overdose. 

Such was a terrible circumstance of a young man whose charming looks equaled his great talent in music and whose budding career in the music industry was cut short abruptly by death.

Today, many might have not known the story of Andy Gibb but he was a man with a romantic singing voice that could melt someone's heart, and a charming look that could send every girl down to her knees. His death struck a deep cord to people who adored him. He was so young and very promising.

The Bee Gees paid tribute to Andy during their 1997 concert in Las Vegas by performing Our Love on stage with Andy's recorded performance of the song shown on TV screen. It was surreal and I cried a bit watching the episode.

Fifteen years after Andy's death, Maurice died from a bowel operation that went wrong in 2003. Barry and Robin disbanded the Bee Gees and went solo, however in 2009 the brothers decided to resume the band.

But just as they started the rebuilding process of their iconic group and coming to terms with the absence of Maurice, Robin died from cancer in 2012. This left Barry emotionally devastated. He thoroughly abandoned the name Bee Gees and ventured solo, performing on tour in honor of his brothers.

In January 2018, he was among the British citizen honored by Queen Elizabeth II with a Knighthood for his service in the music industry and in charity. Just like Sir Paul McCartney of the Beatles, the last of the Gibb brothers can now be called Sir, a distinction given to all British citizens Knighted by the monarch.

Sir Barry Gibb is one of the most highly successful song writers in history and had many collaborations with popular artists like Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross among others. But perhaps his greatest legacy is his dedication to his family and love for his siblings, making effort to unite them together through music.

On the other hand, it's 30 years after the tragic death of Andy, and his songs live on. His timeless hit, Our Love, is a heartwarming music with emotional lyrics and surreal melody, but more than that, it was a collaboration with his brother, Barry, making it a sentimental song of love, brotherhood and affection.

Here's the complete lyrics of Our Love, Don't Throw It All Away

You can watch the video at this link
Maybe I don't want to know the reason why
But lately you don't talk to me
Darling I can't see me in your eyes
I hold you near but you're so far away
And it's losing you I can't believe
To watch you leave and let this feeling die
You alone are the living thing that keeps me alive
And tomorrow if I'm here without your love
You know I can't survive
Only my love can raise you high above it all
Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love
We can take the darkness and make if full of light
But let your love flow back to me
How can you leave and let this feeling die
This happy room will be a lonely place when you are gone
And I won't even have your shoulders for the crying on
No other women's love could be as true, I'm begging you
Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love
We changed the world we made it ours to hold
But dreams are made for those who really try
This losing you is real
But I still feel you here inside
Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love, our love
Don't throw it all away, our love
Songwriters: Barry Gibb / Barry Alan Gibb / Derek John Weaver
(Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

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authorI am a blogger from the Philippines. My interest centers on travel and food, global affairs, European royals and self-help. I've a great passion in traveling and photography. I am also a book author with five published books in Amazon.
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