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Andy Gibb: A Talent Gone Too Soon

Music | December 19, 2021

Source: (IMDb).

In 1958, Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb formed what would become one of the powerhouses of disco music: the Bee Gees. The year that the brothers became a band, they also welcomed their youngest brother into the world. Andrew Roy Gibb was born on March 5, 1958, in Stratford, Lancashire, England, although at the age of six months, he moved to Australia with his family. In 1967, he returned to England.  

With his brother Barry. Source: (Pinterest).

Getting An Early Start In Music

At the age of 13, he quit school. His older brother Barry had given him an acoustic guitar, and he started to play at tourist clubs in Ibiza, Spain, where his parents were living. Later, after his parents moved to the Isle of Man, he began playing there. Three years later, in 1974, he started his first band. Melody Fayre was named after a Bee Gees song and managed by Gibb’s mother Barbara; they played regularly in the hotels on the island. In 1974, he also returned to Australia. His brother Barry convinced Gibb to return to Australia to work on his career. Gibb’s older sister Lesley was still there, and had married and started to raise a family. 

Two members of Melody Fayre, John Alderson, and John Stringer went with him, as they hoped to form a band in Australia. They recorded several of Gibb’s compositions, starting with “To a Girl,” which featured Maurice Gibb on organ. This was not his first recording, however, which he actually made in 1973. That first recording was “My Father Was a Rebel,” which was composed by Maurice Gibb, who also produced and played in the song. During the same session, he recorded “Windows of My World,” which he co-wrote with Maurice. These recordings were not released. Similarly, “To a Girl” was not released, although he did perform it for his Australian television debut on The Ernie Sigley Show. 

Source: (last.fm).

His First Single Was Released In Australia

He then recorded six demos, one of which, “Flowing Rivers,” he later released. Because Gibb disappeared for periods of time, Alderson and Stringer frequently did not have any income, so they returned to Britain. After this, he joined the band Zenta, which supported international bands when they played in Sydney. He released his first single, “Words and Music” only in Australia and New Zealand; the single’s B side was “Westfield Mansions.”

Celebrating his 21st birthday with his brothers. Source: (AP/Pinterest).

A Brief Marriage

On July 11, 1976, Gibb married Kim Reeder, and they moved to West Hollywood in 1977. The marriage did not last, and Reeder returned to Australia. In January 1978, she gave birth to their daughter in Australia, and later that year, they divorced. By this time, Gibb had started to use drugs, with cocaine being his drug of choice, leading to depression and paranoia. 

Flowing Rivers, his first album. Source: (Discogs).

He Releases His First Album

In 1976, Robert Stigwood signed Gibb to RSO Records, and Gibb then moved to Miami Beach, Florida, to start working with Barry. Late that year, they started to make Flowing Rivers, Gibb’s first album. Incidentally, Joe Walsh played guitar on two of the album’s tracks. The first single off the album was “I Just Want to Be Your Everything,” written by Barry. It reached number one in the United States and Australia and became the most played record that year. Another single from the album, (Love Is) Thicker Than Water” hit number one in 1978, and Flowing Rivers became a million-selling album. 

Shadow Dancing, his second album. Source: (Smooth Radio).

His Second Album Quickly Followed Along With Grammy Nominations

Gibb quickly got to work on his second album, Shadow Dancing. It was released in April 1978, with the title track, which was written by all of the Gibb brothers, coming out as a single that same month. In June 1978, it hit #1 and remained there for seven weeks, reaching platinum status. The song was Billboard’s #1 song of 1978. Two additional singles from the album hit the Top Ten, and the album also sold a million copies. In 1978, he was nominated for the Grammy for Best New Artist; he was also nominated for the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, for “I Just Want to Be Your Everything.”

With Victoria Principal. Source: (Pinterest).

Addiction And Death

After this, his third album, After Dark, was released and in March 1980, he had his final top ten single. Later that year, his contract with RSO Records ended, and Andy Gibb’s Greatest Hits was released. Unfortunately, Stigwood had decided to let him go because of his cocaine addiction and behavior. In 1981, he met Victoria Principal and started to host Solid Gold with Marilyn McCoo. He also performed on Broadway in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Unfortunately, he was fired from both jobs because his cocaine binges led to absenteeism. His relationship with Victoria Principal also ended because of his drug use. He finally sought treatment for the first time in 1985. In 1987, he went back for drug treatment another time. He decided to return to the studio in June 1987. He recorded “Man on Fire” which was released posthumously; his final song was “Arrow Through the Heart.” He then traveled to England in January 1988, as Barry had arranged for Island to sign Gibb. Still dealing with depression, he worked on his new album two days before his birthday. He turned 30 on March 5, 1988, and five days later, he died as a result of myocarditis caused by years of drug abuse.

Tags: Andy Gibb | Barry Gibb | The Bee Gees | Victoria Principal

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Linda Speckhals

Writer

When she’s not out walking her dog, or taking in a baseball game, Linda loves learning about history, science, and philosophy. She will travel wherever the wind may blow, and happily loses herself in a book, whenever she can. At heart, she is a music loving tree-hugger.