Saturday, January 16, 2021

Andy Gibb


Andrew Roy Gibb was born in Stretford, England on March 5, 1958.  He was the youngest of five children, three of whom (brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice) had already formed the Bee Gees, a musical group that would rise to great fame in the 1970s. 

Andy spent most of his childhood living in Australia.  The family returned to the United Kingdom in 1967 however, as the Bee Gees grew to be more and more popular.

Inspired by his siblings, Andy dropped out of school at 13, learned to play the acoustic guitar and began performing at clubs in Spain.  In 1974, he formed his first group, Melody Fayre, the name borrowed from a Bee Gees song.  

Encouraged by Barry, Andy returned to Australia later that same year, where he began recording his first songs.  These included "To a Girl," "Words and Music" and "Flowing Rivers," the latter of which was later released.

Following this success, Gibb joined the band Zenta and went on tour with the Bay City Rollers.  He wasn't long for the group however, striking out on his own.  At least professionally.  In July 1976, Andy married his girlfriend Kim Reeder.  This partnership would also be short lived, as the two were divorced less than two years later, but not before producing daughter Peta.

Free from Zenta, Andy signed with RSO Records later that same year.  He moved to Miami Beach and began writing songs with Barry.  His first effort was the aforementioned "Flowing Rivers," now the title of his debut album.  It included the single that would put Andy on the map, "I Just Want to Be Your Evetything."  

The Gibbs were truly a dominant force in music at the time.  As Andy continued rising in the charts, so too were his brothers the Bee Gees, who were constantly topping the Hot 100 with their contributions to the film Saturday Night Fever, including their hits "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever."  One can't look back at 70s music without remembering the Brothers Gibb.

With "Flowing Rivers" a bona fide hit, Gibb began work on his second album in 1978.  "Shadow Dancing" was released in April that year, producing three top-ten singles, including the title track as well as "An Everlasting Love" and "(Our Love) Don't Throw it All Away."  This album proved more successful than the first.

Andy released his third album "After Dark" in 1979. It produced two top 20 hits, "Desire" and "I Can't Help It."  It would be Andy's final album of all original works, his next (and last one) being a Greatest Hits project.

In the early 1980s, Andy took his musical talents to the stage, appearing on Broadway in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (right) as well as a production of The Pirates of Penzance in Los Angeles.  He also had a running show at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.

About this time, Andy became romantically involved with Dallas actress Victoria Principal and the two recorded a single together, "All I Have to Do is Dream."  Andy said he was inspired to produce the song after hearing Principal singing in the shower.  Everything about this is ironic, considering that just a few years later, her character would wake up from a dream to discover her dead husband alive and well - in the shower.  

Unable to condone his cocaine addiction any longer, Principal ultimately ended the relationship.  His family was also becoming concerned with Andy's habit and convinced him to seek treatment at the Betty Ford Center.  It seemed successful at first, and upon his release, he began touring again.  He also continued to build upon his acting resume, appearing on such popular sit-coms as Punky Brewster and Gimme a Break!.  Through the latter, he met actress Kari Michaelson and began seeing her romantically.

On March 7, 1988, while working on a new album in Oxford, Andy began complaining of chest pains and was admitted to John Radcliffe Hospital.  Three days later, with a diagnosis still unclear, Andy lapsed into a coma from which he'd never recover.  He passed away on March 10, 1988, just five days after his 30th birthday.  The cause of death was later determined to be myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, caused by his years of substance abuse.

Of his passing, ex-wife Kim Reeder stated "I always knew that one day I'd get a call with news like this.  It was only a matter of time."

Andy's body was returned to the U.S. and he was interred in a modest crypt at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

Courts of Remembrance
Map #E26
Crypt #2534

Rest in peace.

  • Andy didn't live long enough to publish his own memoirs, but a few biographies have made it to print.  Check out The Bee Gees: The Biography and The Ultimate Biography of the Bee Gees: Tales of the Brothers Gibb on Amazon.

  • Andy supported a number of charities through his work.  Following his death, friends and family established the Andy Gibb Memorial Foundation as a way of continuing this support, for charities such as the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.

  • An unconfirmed report claims that Andy was invited by Queen to sing the first verse of their 1981 single "Play the Game."  While no Queen collector has heard this version, Queen producer Reinhold Mack has stated that it was produced.

  • Andy served as co-host of the syndicated series Solid Gold from 1981 to 1982.  Ultimately he was fired for absenteeism, a result of his frequent cocaine binges.  Here's a compilation of him with co-hosts Marilynn McCoo and Madame (the old lady puppet) introducing some of the 80s biggest hits, corny jokes and all.

  • While most people associate "Stayin' Alive" with Saturday Night Fever, this blogger associates it with Airplane!.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, wow, two of my favorite things together -- Queen and Andy Gibb??? Rockin', man.