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Robin Gibb

Robin Hugh Gibb, CBE (22 December 1949 - 20 May 2012) was a musician, singer, and songwriter, best known as a member of the Bee Gees, co-founded with his fraternal twin brother Maurice and older brother Barry. Their younger brother Andy was also a singer. Born in the Isle of Man to English parents, the family later moved to Manchester before settling in Redcliffe, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia. Gibb began his career as part of the family trio and when the group found their first success they returned to the United Kingdom where they achieved worldwide fame. In 2002, the Bee Gees were appointed as CBEs for their "contribution to music". however investiture was delayed until 2004. With record sales estimated in excess of 200 million units, the Bee Gees became one of the most successful pop groups of all time. Music historian Paul Gambaccini described Gibb as "one of the major figures in the history of British music" and "one of the best white soul voices ever". After a career spanning six decades, Gibb last performed on stage in February 2012 supporting injured British servicemen and women at a charity concert at the London Palladium. On 20 May 2012, Gibb died at the age of 62 from liver and kidney failure. Early life edit: Born to Barbara (née Pass) and Hugh Gibb (d. 1992) on the Isle of Man, Robin was the fraternal twin brother of Maurice Gibb, and the older of the two by 35 minutes. The third-born of five children, Gibb had one older sister, Lesley Evans (born 1945), and three brothers: Barry (born 1946), twin Maurice (1949-2003), and Andy (1958-1988). Gibb was the subject of an edition of the BBC genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? first broadcast on 21 September 2011. The programme revealed that Gibb's paternal great-grandfather was born into poverty in Paisley and went on to become a decorated soldier and his paternal great-grandmother was a midwife. Gibb's mother, Barbara (née Pass), was born in Worsley, Salford; one of her grandfathers was an Irish immigrant. In 1953, the family returned to Manchester, England. The family lived on Keppel Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy and it was here that the young Gibb brothers sang together and performed in local theatres. In late 1958, the family moved to Brisbane, Australia. The family travelled to Australia on the same ship as Australian musician Red Symons. The brothers' music careers began in Australia and flourished when they returned to England in 1967. Career edit: See also: Bee Gees 1963-68: Bee Gees edit: Traditionally, Gibb's original role in the Bee Gees was a backup singer, but from 1967 his role was a lead singer, a role for which he vied with Barry during the group's first period of British success in the late 1960s. Robin sang lead vocals on tracks such as "New York Mining Disaster 1941", "Massachusetts", "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" and "I Started a Joke". However, the rivalry with Barry eventually prompted Robin to leave the group and begin a solo career, after his song "Lamplight" was relegated to the B-side of Barry's song "First of May". Meanwhile, there were rumours during this period that he was dealing with drug problems, allegedly leading his parents to threaten legal action to make him a ward of court (the UK age of majority at that time being 21, while Gibb was only 19). 1969-79: Solo career, Robin's Reign and return to the Bee Gees edit: In his solo career, Gibb was initially successful with a number 2 UK hit, "Saved by the Bell", which sold over one million copies and received a gold disc. Also in 1969, Gibb co-produced "Love for Living", the song was performed by Clare Torry and was released as a single. However, Robin's first solo album, Robin's Reign (released in 1970) was less successful and he soon found that being a solo artist was unsatisfying. Maurice played bass guitar on the song "Mother and Jack", but was subsequently removed from the project by producer Robert Stigwood. Also in that year, Colin Petersen produced "Make a Stranger Your Friend" performed by Jonathan Kelly, on which Gibb sang on the chorus with Mick Taylor of The Rolling Stones, Klaus Voormann of Plastic Ono Band, Madeline Bell, three members of The Family Dogg, Jackie Lomax, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and others. Despite having almost completed a second solo album, Sing Slowly Sisters, Gibb reunited with his brothers, who then revived the Bee Gees. The group came back on a high note, reaching No. 3 on the US charts with the song "Lonely Days" in 1970. In 1971, the Bee Gees had their first US No.1 hit, "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart", but after that their popularity started to ebb. In 1974, with new producer Arif Mardin, the Bee Gees reinvented themselves with the song "Blue-Eyed Soul". The group now entered their second period of phenomenal success in the disco-era late 1970s. In 1978, Gibb performed on the Sesame Street Fever album for the Sesame Street children's TV program. He was one of the singers on the "Sesame Street Fever" title track, he sang a song called "Trash" for the character Oscar the Grouch, and spoke with Cookie Monster at the beginning of "C is for Cookie". 1982-86: How Old Are You?, Secret Agent and Walls Have Eyes edit: While continuing in the Bee Gees, Gibb also promoted his new solo career. In 1980, he duetted with Marcy Levy on the song "Help Me!" (reached No. 50 in the US) featured on the soundtrack of the film Times Square the other artists were performed on the film, including Gary Numan, Roxy Music, Ramones, The Cure and The Cars. In 1982, he recorded his third solo album How Old Are You? (reached No. 6 in Germany, No. 26 in Switzerland, No. 22 in New Zealand and No. 13 in Italy) The lead single "Juliet", The second single "Another Lonely Night in New York" reached No. 71 in the UK, No. 16 in Germany and No. 19 in Switzerland. In 1984, he released his fourth solo album Secret Agent (reached No. 97 in the US, No. 31 in Germany and No. 20 in Switzerland) The album's lead single "Boys Do Fall in Love" did reach the Billboard Magazine top 40 list of hits, the song reached No. 70 in the UK, No. 7 in South Africa and No. 10 in Italy. Gibb also recorded several extended versions of dance songs, including "Boys Do Fall in Love", "Secret Agent", "Like a Fool" and the rarest, "You Don't Say Us Anymore"; many of these extended versions were released to radio disc jockeys only. In 1985, he released his fifth solo album Walls Have Eyes with the singles "Like a Fool" and "Toys", both songs were not charted in the US or UK. These three albums were more successful in Europe than in the UK or US. In 1986, Gibb joined Thompson Twins, Zak Starkey, Cliff Richard, Bonnie Tyler, John Parr and Holly Johnson under the name Anti-Heroin Project to record a charity single called "Live-In World", In late 1986, the Bee Gees began to writing and recording songs for their album E.S.P. to be released in 1987. 2000-12: Magnet, My Favourite Christmas Carols, The Titanic Requiem and live performances edit: On 27 January 2003, fifteen days after Maurice's death, Robin released a solo album, Magnet in Germany on SPV GmbH, and worldwide shortly afterwards. Magnet featured the Bee Gees song "Wish You Were Here" (from the 1989 album One) in a new acoustic version. The lead single, "Please", had coincidental lyrics about "loss". After Maurice's death, Gibb and Barry again disbanded the Bee Gees; however, in late 2009, the two brothers announced that they would reform and perform again as the Bee Gees whenever they could. In recent years, Gibb sang the vocals to the opening titles to the British ITV show The Dame Edna Treatment. In August 2003, Gibb announced the release of a new single of "My Lover's Prayer", a song first recorded by the Bee Gees in 1997 on the album Still Waters, with lead vocals by Gibb and singers Wanya Morris and Lance Bass. That version was played on the radio but was never actually released. In October 2003, Gibb recorded a second version of the song with Alistair Griffin, a-runner up in the UK television program Fame Academy on which Gibb appeared as a judge. In January 2004, the new version of that song was released in the UK as a double A side CD single. It eventually reached number 5 in the UK music charts. In late 2004, Gibb embarked a solo tour of Germany, Russia and Asia with singer Alistair Griffin as the opening act. On his return to the UK, Gibb released a CD and DVD of live recordings from the German leg of the tour, backed by the Frankfurt Neue Philharmonic Orchestra of Frankfurt, Germany. In 2005, Gibb made a solo tour of Latin America. In January 2005, Gibb joined his brother Barry and several other artists under the name One World Project to record a charity single in aid of Asian tsunami relief, titled "Grief Never Grows Old". Other artists who performed on the single included Boy George, Steve Winwood, Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Sir Cliff Richard, Bill Wyman, America, Kenney Jones, Chicago, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, Russell Watson and Davy Spillane. In June 2005, Gibb joined X Factor runner up band G4 at a sell-out concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, singing the Bee Gees song "First of May". In December 2005, a recordings of this performance was released as part of double A side single, credited as "G4 feat Robin Gibb" together with G4's cover version of the Johnny Mathis song "When a Child is Born". "First of May" also appeared on the platinum selling album G4 & Friends, which reached number 6 in the UK album charts. In the same year, Gibb presented master classes at Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and oversaw the selection for release of thesis works by music graduates for the next two terms. On 20 February 2006, Gibb and Barry performed at a concert for Diabetes Research Institute of the University of Miami in Hollywood, Florida. This was their first joint performance since Maurice's death. In March 2006, Gibb announced plans for more solo concerts in Shanghai, China and Portugal. In May 2006, Gibb took part in the Prince's Trust 30th birthday Concert at the Tower of London along with Barry. They sang three songs: "Jive Talkin'", "To Love Somebody" and "You Should Be Dancing". In September 2006, Gibb performed "Stayin' Alive" at the Miss World 2006 contest finals in Warsaw, Poland. In November 2006, Gibb released an album of Christmas Carols called Robin Gibb - My Favourite Carols backed by The Serlo Concert, a London choir. This album featured a new song by Gibb called "Mother of Love", which was released in Europe as a download single. The song was inspired by Maurice and was Gibb's new composition since Maurice died. Gibb donated all royalties from "Mother of Love" to the Janki Foundation for Global Healthcare", and dedicated the song to Dadi Janki, the organisation's spiritual leader. Gibb dedicated the album to his mother, Barbara Gibb. Robin Gibb - My Favourite Carols has a bonus DVD disc titled A Personal Christmas Moment with Robin Gibb. Also in November 2006, Gibb performed a solo concert, entitled "Bee Gees - Greatest Hits" at the Araneta Coliseum (now Smart Araneta Coliseum) in Manila, Philippines. Gibb marked his return to his birthplace by playing a concert at the Isle of Man TT festival in 2007. Gibb donated all of his share of the money from this concert to the children's ward at Noble's Hospital, Isle of Man, and invited all emergency service staff and marshals for the TT to attend for free. He also was a special guest of the United States Independence Day Concert called "A Capitol Fourth" held on the west lawn of the US Capitol as the lead singer of "How Deep is Your Love" and "Stayin' Alive". On 18 May 2008, Gibb released the song "Alan Freeman Days" in tribute to the Australian DJ Alan Freeman. The song was issued as a download only track, although a promotional CD was issued by Academy Recordings. In December 2008, "Alan Freeman Days" was followed by another downloadable song titled "Wing and a Prayer", which shared the same name as a song from the 1989 One album. However, the new song was actually a reworking of the song, "Sing Slowly Sisters", that had remained unreleased since 1970. Later in December, Gibb issued another song, "Ellan Vannin (Home Coming Mix)", featuring the King William's College Choir from the Isle of Man. ("Ellan Vannin" is the Manx name for the Isle of Man.) On 8 September 2007, Gibb performed at a concert in Salt Lake City, Utah at EnergySolutions Arena for the Nu Skin Enterprises Covention, singing a set of Bee Gees hits. On 25 October 2007, Gibb performed at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria and sang the Bee Gees' most famous songs. In 2008, Gibb completed a new solo album entitled 50 St. Catherine's Drive, but it was never released. The song "Instant Love" was a collaboration with Gibb's son Robin-John both having written the music and vocals. "Instant Love" featuring Robin-John on lead vocals appeared in a short film called Bloodtype: The Search in which Robin-John appeared. On 25 October 2008, to mark the 30th anniversary of the song "Saturday Night Fever" topping the UK charts, Gibb performed with special guests including Ronan Keating, Stephen Gateley, Sam Sparro, Sharleen Spiteri, Gabriella Climi and Bryn Christopher at the London music festival BBC Electric Proms. Gibb went back to the top of the UK charts in 2009 when he collaborated with singers Ruth Jones, Rob Brydon and Tom Jones on a new version of "Islands in the Stream", written by Gibb, Barry and Maurice. The new version, inspired by the BBC comedy TV show Gavin & Stacey, was created to benefit the charity Comic Relief. In 2010, Gibb was also a guest mentor on the Australian version of The X Factor, alongside TV host Kyle Sandilands, actress/singer Natalie Imbruglia, and singers Ronan Keating and Guy Sebastian. Also in 2010, Gibb toured in Australia with Bonnie Tyler as his supporting guest. Together they performed at Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. In September 2011, Gibb recorded the Bee Gees classic "I've Gotta Get a Message to You" with British Army men The Soldiers for a charity single in the UK, it was produced with his son Robin John Gibb and the video for which was produced by Vintage TV. On 30 January 2012, Gibb announced his intention to appear on stage at the Coming Home Concert at the London Palladium in February to benefit British soldiers returning home from Afghanistan. It would be his last performance on stage. Over a period of two years, Gibb and Robin-John wrote the score for The Titanic Requiem, recorded by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Gibb was due to attend the piece's premier on 10 April 2012 at the Central Hall, Westminster, London but his failing health kept him away. He died the next month. Personal life edit: In 1968 Gibb married Molly Hullis, a secretary in Robert Stigwood's organisation. The couple had both survived the Hither Green rail crash, which killed 49 people on 5 November 1967. They had two children together, Spencer (b. 1972) and Melissa (b. 1974). The couple divorced in 1980 after years of living separate lives, with Gibb almost permanently in the U.S. and Hullis remaining in the UK. Gibb's second marriage, from 1985 until his death, was to Dwina Murphy Gibb, an author and artist. She is interested in the Druidry religion and is a follower of the neo-Hindu Brahma Kumaris movement. The couple had a son, Robin-John (known as RJ (b. 1983). Robin-John's first major musical project is the Titanic Requiem (2012), written with Gibb and first performed at the Central Hall, Westminster, London, on 10 April 2012, by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and RSVP Voices. Gibb had an eight year affair with his housekeeper Claire Yang that produced his fourth child, Snow Evelyn Robin Juliet Gibb born November 4, 2008. Gibb and his wife divided their time between their homes in Peel, Isle of Man, their mansion in Miami, Florida and their main residence in Thame, Oxfordshire. On 10 March 1988, younger brother Andy died in Oxford, England, of myocarditis. On 12 January 2003, twin brother Maurice died in Miami Beach, Florida, of complications from a twisted intestine. Politically, Gibb was a supporter of New Labour, the British Labour Party under Tony Blair. He launched a rally in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ahead of the 2005 General Election. He was a close friend of the former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was criticised for staying over at Gibb's Miami mansion during Christmas 2006. In 2008 Gibb publicly stated that he continued to get on "like a house on fire" with Blair, and claimed that the then Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown regularly listened to the Bee Gees. "He listens to our music every day. Gordon likes our music and I like Gordon," he told The Times. In a tribute upon his death, longtime friend Tony Blair said: "Robin was not only an exceptional and extraordinary musician and songwriter, he was a highly intelligent, interested and committed human being. He was a great friend with a wonderful open and fertile mind and a student of history and politics." Robin Gibb worked on behalf of several charities. He was the organiser of the Sunseeker Ball in aid of the Outward Bound Trust. For the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), Gibb served as president from 2007 to 2012. He was also the longest serving president (2008-2011) of the Heritage Foundation, which honours figures of British culture and facilitated his campaign on behalf of the Bomber Command Memorial Appeal. Health problems and death edit: On 14 August 2010, while performing in Belgium, Gibb began to feel abdominal pains. On 18 August, he was rushed to a hospital in Oxford, England, and underwent emergency surgery for a blocked intestine, the same condition that killed Maurice. Gibb recovered and returned to perform concerts in New Zealand and Australia. During this time, Gibb was also involved in promoting fund-raising for the memorial dedicated to RAF Bomber Command in Green Park, London. Gibb also wrote The Titanic Requiem with his son Robin-John, which was recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in 2012. Gibb continued to make television appearances and other events following his surgery, but in April 2011 he was forced by health problems to cancel his tour of Brazil. Another concert in Paris was cancelled in October 2011. On 14 October, Gibb was due to perform the charity single with the Soldiers, but was again rushed to hospital with severe abdominal pains. On 18 October, following his release from the hospital, Gibb appeared on ITV's The Alan Titchmarsh Show looking gaunt and frail. On 27 October 2011, Gibb cancelled an appearance only minutes before he was due to perform at the Poppy Appeal Concert in London. Later the same week however, Gibb was seen in London and quoted as saying he felt "absolutely great". In November 2011, he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, which had metastasised to his liver, several months earlier. In an interview published in The Mail on Sunday on 22 January 2012, Gibb spoke for the first time of the cancer. "For more than 18 months, I had lived with an inflammation of the colon; then I was diagnosed with colon cancer, which spread to the liver. I have undergone chemotherapy, however, and the results -- to quote my doctor -- have been 'spectacular'. It's taken a toll, naturally, but the strange thing is that I've never felt seriously ill. I've mostly felt great. There have been many false claims around, which I'd like to dispel. I am not and have never been 'at death's door'. Nor do I have a team of alternative doctors working on my health. That's not true, although I'm not averse to healthy remedies for any illness. I feel they can go together with conventional medicine. I do eat health foods and drink herbal teas made for me by Dwina, my wife and RJ's mother. Other than that, I am under the care of Dr. Peter Harper at The London Clinic". In March 2012, Gibb was hospitalised for intestinal surgery and cancelled scheduled appearances while recovering. In April, however, he contracted pneumonia and fell into a coma. Although he came out of his coma later in April, his colorectal cancer had advanced and he died in London on 20 May 2012 at the age of 62 from liver and kidney failure. His funeral was held on 8 June 2012 and he was buried at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, near his home in Thame, Oxfordshire. In September of the same year, a blue plaque was placed on the house. Acclaim and recognition edit: 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 the New Year Honours 2002 Gibb was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) 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, Gibb and his brother Barry both received honorary doctorates of music from The University of Manchester, England. In 2005, Gibb received the Steiger Award (Miner Award) in Bochum, Germany for accomplishments in the arts. On 10 July 2009, both brothers were also 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 Gibb, Barry and Maurice. The radio and television presenter Paul Gambaccini has stated that the Bee Gees were "second only to Lennon and McCartney as the most successful songwriting unit in British popular music", and recognised Gibb as "one of the major figures in the history of British music and one of the best white soul voices ever". Gibb was a fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA).

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