Robin Gibb, one of the co-founders of the the disco legends the Bee Gees, passed away Sunday at the age of 62. “The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery,” his rep said in a statement, according to People. “The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”
Gibb was one-third of the Bee Gees, which was made up of the singer and his two brothers, Barry and Maurice Gibb. The threesome found their biggest success with their soundtrack to 1977’s Saturday Night Fever, which included hits like “How Deep Is Your Love” and “Stayin’ Alive.” The group’s musical style was immediately identifiable to fans of disco — each song featured falsetto-driven harmonies and catchy choruses that helped catapult a whopping nine singles to No. 1 in the U.S.
Still, the Bee Gees found fame prior to their ground-breaking disco album and its follow-up, Too Much Heaven. The group boasted hits like the Gibb-led “I Started a Joke” and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” After helping popularize the disco genre, the group also found success with tracks like “Jive Talkin'” and “You Should Be Dancing.”
But the group did hit some rough patches. Early in the Bee Gees’ career, Robin decided to leave the group to jumpstart a solo career after one of his songs, “Lamplight,” was pushed to the B-side of “First of May.” Though he found solo acclaim with “Saved By the Bell,” Robin eventually rejoined his brothers and released the popular track “Lonely Days.” Robin did, however, return to his solo career in the 1980s with How Old Are You? and Secret Agent. He even continued to work on his own music into the 2000s, releasing Magnet in 2003.
Of course, Robin and the Bee Gees experienced their greatest achievements in the 1970s, when Saturday Night Fever became the best-selling soundtrack of all time. It wasn’t until The Bodyguard hit theaters in 1992 that the band’s record was broken. Unfortunately, they also experienced extreme backlash in the 1980s, when music lovers were claiming disco was dead. Following the widespread hatred for the genre, the Bee Gees only boasted one more single to hit the top 10. The band officially disbanded following Maurice’s death in 2003.
Robin’s music, however, remained renowned well into the millennium — TV singing series like American Idol helped spread the song to new generations, with contestants covering hits like “Grease” and “To Love Somebody.” Robin and surviving brother Barry even appeared on the Season 9 finale. The band was also lovingly parodied in recent years by Saturday Night Live, which featured a falsetto-talking Barry Gibb (played by Jimmy Fallon) and Robin (played by Justin Timberlake) leading a talk show about politics.
And, since the 1980s, music fans have grown to appreciate the dated genre — Saturday Night Fever still remains a ground-breaking and beloved film, thanks to its contagious soundtrack. Tonight, following Robin’s death, many in the industry will be trying to mend their own broken hearts.
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