Funeral Held for Bee Gees Singer Robin Gibb

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THAME, England -- Crowds lined the streets of a southern English town on Friday as a horse-drawn carriage pulled the coffin of Bee Gees star Robin Gibb to his funeral.

Gibb, one of three brothers who made up the group the Bee Gees behind "Saturday Night Fever" and other now-iconic sounds from the 1970s, died on last month after a long battle with cancer.

He was 62.

According to the Daily Telegraph, sole surviving brother, Barry, gave a heartfelt eulogy, saying, "Life is too short. In Robin's case, absolutely too short. We should have had 20 years, 30 years of his magnificent mind and his beautiful heart."

Robin's twin brother, Maurice, died in 2003 from a twisted bowel.

And younger brother Andy Gibb -- who was not part of the group -- died at 30 from a heart infection.

Robin Gibb was born in 1949 on Isle of Man off the British coast, and the Gibb boys grew up in Manchester.

The family later moved to Redcliffe, Australia, where their group performed on television as the B.G.'s -- a moniker they later altered to the Bee Gees.

Their father, Hughie, was a drummer and big-band leader.

The family returned to England in the 1960s, and they began to emerge on an international scale.

Through the end of that decade and into the next, they crafted melodies that utilized their unique voices to gain acclaim thanks to songs like "To Love Somebody," "Lonely Days" and "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart."

By the mid-1970s, they transitioned to develop more dance-oriented hits such as "Jive Talkin' " and "Nights on Broadway."

Yet for all these earlier successes, the Bee Gees skyrocketed to new heights with the 1977 release of "Saturday Night Fever," a movie starring John Travolta that was built around the group's falsetto voices and disco-friendly songs.

In the latter part of the 1970s, the Bee Gees "dominated dance floors and airwaves. With their matching white suits, soaring high harmonies and polished, radio-friendly records, they remain one of the essential touchstones to that ultra-commercial era," the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame says on its website.

"Saturday Night Fever" and the group's 1979 album "Spirits Having Flown" yielded six No. 1 hits, "making the Bee Gees the only group in pop history to write, produce and record that many consecutive chart-topping singles," according to the Hall of Fame.

While often more in the background, Robin Gibb was the lead singer on several of the Bee Gees' top tunes including "I Started a Joke" and "I've Gotta Get a Message to You." He also recorded several solo albums during his career.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, the Bee Gees sold more than 200 million albums, and their soundtrack album to "Saturday Night Fever" was the top-selling album until Michael Jackson's "Thriller" claimed that distinction in the 1980s.

In a 2008 interview with Music Week, Robin Gibb shared one of his all-important rules for songwriting: "always keep a tape running," in order to capture a moment of brilliance and inspiration.

"You never know in a three-hour writing session when you are going to come up with something and then if you'll remember it completely," he said. "All the ideas, everything, will be on tape and then you can always refer back at any time.

"Melodies will be born for the first time during writing and unless you have it on tape you haven't got any way of remembering them. That is a cardinal rule."

He also spoke of how he found it "good to have deadlines and pressure."

"We certainly had a deadline with 'Fever' to write all those songs. I think, in one week, we wrote 'How Deep Is Your Love,' 'Night Fever,' 'Stayin' Alive,' 'If I Can't Have You' and the rest.

Having a deadline sharpens you up, it gets you out of bed and it stops you going to bed, too," Gibb said.

On 10 March 1988, younger brother Andy died, aged 30, as a result of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle due to a recent viral infection.

Following Maurice's sudden death in January 2003, Barry and Robin Gibb retired the group's name after 45 years of activity.

Robin's death, leaves Barry as the last surviving Gibb brother.

Gibb is survived by his wife, Dwina; his daughter, Melissa, and sons Spencer and Robin-John.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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