Who Was Barry Gibb?
Barry Gibb formed a group called the Bee Gees with his brothers Maurice and Robin. The trio had their first hit in 1967. They became even more famous in the 1970s with their stirring ballads and catchy dance songs. Gibb also worked with other artists, including Kenny Rogers and Barbra Streisand. The Bee Gees ended in 2003, but Gibb continues to perform today.
The oldest son of a bandleader, Barry Gibb grew up surrounded by music. He, along with his younger twin brothers Robin and Maurice, became one of the top pop music acts of the 1970s. The trio started performing together as children. Their professional career took off after the family moved to Australia in late 1958 after the birth of their youngest brother, Andy. There three oldest boys hosted a television show and recorded their first single. They took the name Bee Gees, which is a play on Brothers Gibb, according to some sources.
Arriving in England in the late 1960s, the Bee Gees had their first international smash with the pop-psychedelic single "New York Mining Disaster 1941." Gibb and his brothers developed a rock-pop sound, which featured three-part harmonies. Barry often shared the lead on many of their songs with Robin as well as played guitar, which can be heard another of their early hits, the 1969 folksy ballad "Massachusetts."
After their initial fame faded, the Bee Gees reinvented themselves in the mid-1970s with tremendous results. The trio turned out more dance-oriented music, often featuring Barry singing in a falsetto voice. "Jive Talkin," which reflected their new sound, became a number-one hit in 1975. The following year, the group topped the charts again with "You Should Be Dancing."
As the kings of the growing disco movement, the Bee Gees scored more hits and even a few Grammy Awards for their tracks on the soundtrack for the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta. The success of the two upbeat songs, "Staying Alive" and "Night Fever," and the ballad "How Deep Is Your Love," all reached the number-one spot. A member of a pop-disco phenomenon, Barry emerged as one of the era's sex symbols. His gold chain, mane of long hair and open-necked shirts became part of his trademark look.
In addition to his work with the Bee Gees, Gibb recorded with different artists and lent his producing talents to other performers. His duet with Barbra Streisand, "Guilty," became a huge hit in 1980. Two years later, Gibb worked with Dionne Warwick on her hit album Heartbreaker. He, with his brothers, also penned the classic 1983 Kenny Rogers-Dolly Parton duet, "Islands in the Stream."
By the late 1980s, the Bee Gees had largely fallen from favor with American music fans, but they continued to enjoy some popularity internationally. Gibb and his brothers also suffered a great loss around this time. Their youngest brother, Andy, died of a heart condition brought on by drug use in 1988.
While critically snubbed during their chart-topping prime, the Bee Gees eventually received acclaim for their talents as performers and songwriters. They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
After the death of his brother Maurice in 2003, Barry and Robin retired the Bee Gees name. The surviving pair appeared together and worked hard to preserve their musical legacy, producing special collections of their previous work. Gibb has performed as a solo act as well. His brother, Robin Gibb, died from cancer in 2012. In a 2014 article from Rolling Stone, Barry said, "my only regret is that we weren't great pals at the end. There was always an argument in some form. Andy left to go to L.A. because he wanted to make it on his own. Maurice was gone in two days, and we weren't getting on very well. Robin and I functioned musically, but we never functioned in any other way. We were brothers, but we weren't really friends."
Barry spends much of his time in Florida where he lives with his wife, Linda. The couple has five children together. While not as active as he once was, Gibb still gives several concerts each year. He embarked on his first tour without any of his brothers in early 2013.
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