During this last week, another two music legends passed away, adding another two wonderful voices to the choir of angels.
Robin Gibb was a member of that famed group Bee Gees. They had a huge volume of hits throughout the years, in fact re-inventing themselves a number of times to reflect what was happening in music at the time. You could pick any number of songs from this wonderful band to feature, so I have selected one from the early career of the band, from 1968, titled I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You. This was one of their major hits that was written by Robin Gibb.
This video was posted to You Tube by samuel0228
The song is about a young man on death row waiting to be executed for the killing of his wife’s lover, and here he is asking the prison chaplain to get a message to his wife.
Bee Gees while born in the UK, they migrated to Australia, and they started out in Brisbane Australia in 1958 when the twins, Robin and Maurice were barely nine years old. The origin of their name is a point of conjecture over the years. They were fist seen performing at a Speedway meeting in Redcliffe by a popular Brisbane radio announcer Bill Gates. The Speedway was owned by Bill Goode, and the boys themselves were the Brothers Gibb with Barry Gibb as the leader of the three boys. All three of those persons had the initials BG, hence one origin of the band’s name, and it stuck. Barry even had those initials on his guitar in those early days
They had a couple of minor hits in local areas in Australia, and in late 1966, they persuaded their parents to move back to the UK, where the music industry was leading the World. Whilst at sea on the voyage to the UK, they learned that their latest release Spicks And Specks was voted the best single of the year in Australia, that song reaching Number One in a number of major cities, and rising almost to Number One on the National Charts.
Arriving in England, they were informed that the ‘band’ sound was on the way out, and that they should go home. However, Beatles manager Brian Epstein set them up with Robert Stigwood, and he with Ahmet Ertegun in the U.S. guided their early career in the UK and America. They had a smash hit with their first Single, New York Mining Disaster 1941, and from that point, their success was almost guaranteed. With their tight harmonies, they had numerous hits over the next number of years. Just as their ‘style’ seemed to be going out of musical fashion, they came out with a new style, always sounding like the Bee Gees, and surprised everybody that they kept remaining as such a popular force in the music scene.
Just when it seemed that the Bee Gees had ‘run out of steam, another Stigwood ‘giant’, Eric Clapton suggested that they relocate to the U.S. to see if that might help with the songwriting process. They did this and found something extra. Almost by chance, they stumbled into the early days of Disco music, and had a string of what became Monster Hits for the band. As they were becoming huge, they made the soundtrack for the movie Saturday Night Fever, and that album along with the movie saw the Bee Gees as arguably the biggest and best band in the World. That album alone was credited as 15 times Platinum, and at one stage the album was selling around a million copies a week. In fact the recording studio was so overwhelmed, they had other studios printing the record to keep up with demand.
From that album came a number of hits and in fact, at one stage Bee Gees had four of these songs in the U.S. National Top Five.
They remained huge during the whole of the Disco era, and when that slowly faded, they just re-invented themselves again, having even more huge hits, both albums and singles. In the time when Disco was beginning to be shunned, they became huge as songwriters for other known big name artists of the time.
In 1987, they came out with the single You Win Again from their smash album ESP, and then, showing they could even further re-invent themselves for a new era of music, in 2001, they came out with another huge album, This Is Where I Came In.
At this point, the Bee Gees had been in the music industry for 43 years, most of them at the top of the tree. They had 22 Studio albums, 2 Live albums, 10 Compilation albums, 4 Soundtrack albums, and 83 Singles, with many Number One hits at all corners of Planet Earth. The band has six Grammy Awards for their music, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, a Legend Grammy, and a Hall Of Fame Grammy for their monster album Saturday Night Fever.
Sadly, they lost their younger brother along the way when popular singer Andy Gibb died in 1988.
Then, in 2003, the first of the twins Maurice passed away, and this week, the second twin Robin passed away.
This is a band with such a rich and full career, and now, all that remains is the eldest of the brothers Barry Gibb.
What we do have though, is a lasting legacy, a tribute to one of the biggest bands of the modern music era.
Vale Robin Gibb.
Donna Summer was one of the female voices who epitomised the music from the Disco era, and arguably, along with the Bee Gees, would be the most famous of all those stars from that genre of music. While singing for a number of years already, it wasn’t until the start of that Disco era that Donna Summer come to prominence. In 1974, with famed record producer Giorgio Moroder, Summer came up with what could be the song that ‘kicked off’ the Disco era, Love To Love You Baby, a song with a distinct nature of sexuality as part of it. This song became the hit of the dancing scene and Disco music now came into a prominence at the top of the music genre. Produced mainly for the dance scene at those Discos, the original version was 17 minutes long, but as the song became so popular, a shorter version was then produced for radio airplay, and the song became a Monster Hit all across the Planet.
From this point on, Donna had a number of hits, nearly all of them dance based for the Disco music scene, and, as Disco slowly faded, she also re-invented herself over the years. Little known is that she was also a prolific artist, having come out with 17 studio albums, two live albums, 32 compilation albums and 89 Singles which have included numerous Number Ones across the Planet. She won 5 Grammy Awards, as well as numerous other awards for her music.
She is also a much copied artist, with 28 of her songs being covered by more than 100 other artists over the years.
Now, sadly she is also no longer with us, but as is the case with all these wonderful voices, we have that lasting legacy of theirs, their music.
Vale Donna Summer.