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Robin Gibb and the Bee Gees: More than disco kings [video]

May 20, 2012 |  7:44 pm

Bee Gees

Robin Gibb, who lost his battle with colorectal cancer Sunday at the age of 62, was a founding member of the Bee Gees with his brothers Barry and twin Maurice. In 1994, the brothers Gibb were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the Grammy Museum.

Robin Gibb not only co-wrote many of the Bee Gees' best-known songs, he also sang lead vocals for the group in their formative years. The Bee Gees peaked in the disco era with the music but proved a formidable force in the industry, selling more than 120 million records over a career that spanned four decades.

In 1997, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, prompting Times music critic Robert Hilburn to chastise the group's naysayers as "shortsighted."

PHOTOS: Robin Gibb | 1949-2012

"Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb injected an infectious dance floor pulse into their hits of the '70s, but the records had a style, individuality and grace that made them far superior to the standard disco fare of he period," Hilburn said at the time of the induction.

The group has had 15 top 10 records in the United States, including six consecutive No. 1 singles in the late '70s, and won six Grammy Awards.

Despite early success and comparisons to The Beatles, they were mostly known for being at the forefront of the disco era. Members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Gibb and the Bee Gees leave behind a string of memorable songs and albums, including the record-breaking soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever" and it's dance anthem "Stayin' Alive."

The group's success in the disco era led to cameos on television's most popular shows, and in the late '70s, alongside "Charlie's Angels," "Diff'rent Strokes" and "CHiPs," "Sesame Street" was one of the biggest hits. Robin Gibb put his stamp on the long-running phenomenon, singing a song with The Count, Grover, Ernie, Cookie Monster and Big Bird on the "Sesame Street Fever" album.

Despite the group's popularity, Robin Gibb always stayed committed to a solo career, releasing many albums (7) and numerous singles to varying degrees of success. One such album was "How Old Are You?" which spawned the hit "Juliet." The song didn't make a splash in the U.S. or the U.K., but was popular in many European countries, hitting No. 1 in Germany and Italy.

But for Gibb, it all comes back to disco. Like another recently deceased member of the era, Donna Summer, Gibb and the Bee Gees can often be relegated to being musicians whose talent is marginalized because of the musical time period they happened to be in. Their popularity was not just a nostalgic notion, as the group also won five Grammy Awards along with BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. The Bee Gees' Hall of Fame citation reads: "Only Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees."  That collection of musicians could be considered music royalty in any era.

Full obituary: Robin Gibb rose to pop fame as one-third of Bee Gees


PHOTOS: Robin Gibb|1949-2012

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Donna Summer dies at 63; diva of disco

-- Megan Garvey and Jevon Phillips

Photo: British pop group the Bee Gees, from left, Robin Gibb, Barry Gibb and Maurice Gibb. Credit: Associated Press