Andy Gibb (5 March 1958 ??? 10 March 1988) was an English singer, teen idol, and the youngest brother of Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, also known as the Bee Gees.
The early years
Born Andrew Roy Gibb in Manchester, England, to Barbara (n?©e Pass) and Hugh Gibb, Andy emigrated with his family to Australia six months after his birth. They settled in Cribb Island, adjacent to Redcliffe, north of Brisbane. He was the youngest of five children and had one older sister, Lesley (b. 1945), and three older brothers, Barry (b. 1946) and twins Maurice (22 December 1949 ??? 12 January 2003) and Robin (b. 1949).
Gibb began playing at tourist clubs around Spain's coastal Island of Ibiza, and later on the Isle of Man, as a young teenager. The idea of his joining the Bee Gees was often suggested, but the age gap between him and his elder brothers (more than 11 years younger than Barry, slightly more than eight years younger than twins Robin and Maurice) made this difficult to achieve.
After returning to Australia in 1975 to hone his craft as a singer and songwriter, Gibb began recording a series of his own compositions, one of which was released as a single on the ATA label, owned by veteran Australian performer, Col Joye. "Words and Music" would eventually reach Top Five on the Sydney music charts in 1976. This breakout would pave the way to an even greater milestone later that year ??? an invitation from Robert Stigwood (who, at the time, was also the Bee Gees' manager) to launch his international career signed to his label, RSO Records. Gibb soon moved to Miami Beach, Florida to begin working on songs with his brother Barry, and co-producers Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson.
Prior to leaving Australia, Gibb had married his girlfriend, Kim Reeder. They had one child, a daughter named Peta Jaye, born 25 January 1978, but the couple was already separated at the time of Peta's birth and would divorce later that year. Gibb reportedly only met his daughter once in 1981. As of 2007 Peta is known as Peta J. Reeder-Gibb and breeds Staffordshire Bull Terriers as well as being a respected dog show judge in New South Wales, Australia.
Rise to the top
The single cover of "I Just Want To Be Your Everything"
In the United States, Gibb became the first male solo artist to chart three consecutive Number One singles on the Billboard Hot 100. In July 1977, he had his first major hit, "I Just Want to Be Your Everything", a song written by his brother Barry, just as his first album Flowing Rivers broke into the US Top 20, on its way to selling over a million copies. The album's second single "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water" broke in early 1978 amidst the commercial explosion caused by his brothers' contributions to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, replacing "Stayin' Alive" at the top of the US charts, and then surpassed by "Night Fever" when it reached the summit in mid-March. Continuing the momentum of his first successes, Gibb began work with the Gibb-Galuten-Richardson production team on his second album Shadow Dancing, which was released in April 1978. The title track, written by all four Gibb brothers, was released as a single in the US in April 1978, and in mid-June began a seven week run at number one, achieving platinum status. Two further Top Ten singles, "An Everlasting Love" (which reached number five) and "(Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away" (which reached number nine), a song also released by his brothers (in 1979), were extracted from the album, which became another million seller.
Despite his impressive accomplishments, the pressures and excesses of such rapid success began to consume Gibb, and eventually he would succumb to drug addiction and the reality of a career in decline. In 1979, Gibb performed, along with the Bee Gees, ABBA, and Olivia Newton-John (duet with "Rest Your Love On Me"), at the Music for UNICEF Concert at the United Nations General Assembly, broadcast worldwide.
He returned to the studio to begin recording sessions for his final full studio album, After Dark.In March 1980 the last of Gibb's Top Ten singles charted just ahead of the album's release. "Desire", was recorded for the Bee Gees' 1979 album Spirits Having Flown, and featured their original track complete with Andy's original "guest vocal" track. A second single, "I Can't Help It", a duet with family friend Olivia Newton-John, reached the Top Twenty.
Later in the year, Andy Gibb's Greatest Hits was released as a finale to his contract with RSO Records, with two new songs: "Time Is Time" (number 15 in January 1981) and "Me (Without You)" (Gibb's last Top Forty chart entry) shipped as singles. "After Dark" and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" were non single songs added to the album, the latter of which was a duet with PP Arnold, who had previously worked with Barry Gibb, including singing uncredited backups on, "Bury Me Down By The River" from Cucumber Castle.
During his relationship with Victoria Principal, Gibb worked on several projects outside of the recording studio. These included performances in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Broadway, Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance in Los Angeles, and a stint from 1980-1982 as co-host of the television music show Solid Gold. As Gibb's drug use escalated, he became unreliable and was ultimately removed from said endeavours.
However, most of those who worked with Gibb on the aforementioned projects seemed to agree that the trouble with him did not stem from his drug dependency...so much as from personal issues which included anxiety, insecurity, and the like. According to Broadway producer Zev Bufman, who financed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: "Every time Andy showed up, he was a joy. He just didn't show up enough. Andy was all heart, but without enough nerve to follow through...It was painful for me to let him go because - among other reasons - of the five Josephs I'd worked with up to that time, Andy was the best actor, hands-down." Feedback from Solid Gold producer Brad Lachman had been similar: "Andy was a charming, vulnerable and charismatic performer who clearly meant well. He wasn't being difficult; he was experiencing deep-rooted problems and couldn't deal. Andy wanted everyone to love him. He had so much going for him, but he just couldn't believe in himself."
Things got much worse when Gibb was slated to perform on a Bob Hope television special and backed out at the eleventh hour. Neither Hope nor his producers took this well, and Gibb's professional reputation suffered because of it.
His romance with Principal also ended shortly thereafter, but not before he recorded and released a duet of the Everly Brothers' classic "All I Have To Do Is Dream", in the summer of 1981. This would be Gibb's last official single, and his last US chart entry, peaking at number 51. The Gibb family claims Andy never recovered from his break-up with Victoria Principal and remain mute on the subject matter. Gibb had no other notable romances but was linked briefly to ice skater Tai Babilonia and Donna Rice.
His family convinced him to seek treatment for his drug addiction; after a stint at the Betty Ford Clinic in the mid-1980s, Gibb toured small venues with a stage show of his greatest hits and covers. He also appeared in guest-starring roles on several television situation comedies...notably Gimme A Break! and Punky Brewster. Gibb's performances showed him to have (seemingly) recovered from his addiction. Following an expansive and popular East Asia tour, he regularly performed shows in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. In 1984 he was the headline performer at the famous Vi?±a del Mar Festival in Chile, performing two nights in a row. Bootlegged videos of these two concerts are well known. He also enjoyed a two-week engagement at San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel in March 1986. It was there that the best bootleg recording of his live performances was allegedly made. Although Andy's work in his new lifestyle was well-received, he never managed to recapture the phenomenal success of his teens. In 1987, with his debts far outweighing his income, Gibb was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Determined to revive his recording career, Gibb returned to work alongside brothers Barry and Maurice. Their series of demo recordings with engineer Scott Glasel would eventually secure him a contract with the UK branch of Island Records. One of the demos, "Man On Fire", was released posthumously on a self-titled 1991 Polydor anthology. Another demo, "Arrow Through The Heart" (though unreleased to the present day), would be featured on an episode of VH1's series Behind the Music.
In March 1988, Andy celebrated his 30th birthday in London while working on a new album. Soon after, he entered John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, complaining of chest pains. He died on March 10 1988, just five days after his 30th birthday as a result of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle due to a recent viral infection. His brothers acknowledge that Andy's past drug and alcohol use probably made his heart more susceptible to the ailment. Just before Andy's death, it was decided by the group that Andy would join them, which would have made the group a quartet. This did not come to pass, however. The Bee Gees' following album, One (1989), featured a song dedicated to Andy, "Wish You Were Here". He is entombed at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. His father, Hugh, died four years later and was also entombed there.