Sun., May. 20, 2012 7:42 PM EDT
Robin Gibb, left, twin Maurice, right, and Barry, center, ruled disco in the 70s along with Donna Summer, who also died this past week at age 63..
The Bee Gees, one of the most beloved trios in pop music history, has only one member left. Robin Gibb, the co-founder of the pop-turned-disco mega-group, has died after a long battle with colorectal cancer. He was 62.
The news of Robin Gibb’s death has disco lovers in an emotional tailspin. The Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, passed away from cancer this past week. Together, they stood head and shoulders over all other musical acts of this genre during this period in music history.
Robin Gibb, 62, had been hospitalized for pneumonia and underwent surgery last year to remove a growth from his colon, was central to the group’s success both as a songwriter and a vocalist. He was the original lead singer, and his tangy, tremulous tenor and older brother Barry’s deeper, breathier, falsetto-prone voice were constants as the Bee Gees traversed a wide range of musical styles.
Robin had a twin, Maurice, who died in 2003 after battling alcoholism for decades. He suffering a blocked intestine and cardiac arrest at the time of his death. Youngest brother Andy Gibb was also a record-breaking singer as a solo artist who died at age 30 from complications of prolonged drug use in the 1980s.
The musical family first gained international attention as ’60s for Beatle-esque pop tunes. From there, Robin, Maurice and eldest brother Barry moved into orchestral rock and then the soaring disco that made them superstars in the late ’70s. Their contributions made 1977’s Saturday Night Fever soundtrack the best-selling album of all time, a record that stood for six years until it was dethroned by Michael Jackson’s Thriller in 1984.
Still, the soundtrack was the highest-selling in history until it was surpassed by the Whitney Houston-powered The Bodyguard in 1992. Saturday Night Fever stayed at No. 1 album for 24 straight weeks, earning them chart-topping singles with “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” “How Deep is Your Love” and “You Should be Dancing,” which was used in the movie but was a #1 hit from a previous album. “More Than a Woman,” which was never released as a single from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, was also a favorite.
— terry shrosphire.