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Tragedy: The Sad Ballad of the Gibb Brothers

By Jeff Apter


The rise and fall of the brothers Gibb is perhaps the greatest saga in Australian music history.

Despite several rebirths in a career that spanned many decades, it seemed that tragedy followed the Gibbs like a curse. For every incredible career high there was a hefty personal downside: divorce, drunkenness and death seemed as synonymous with the Gibbs as falsetto harmonies, flares and multi-platinum record sales.

Not long before his death, Robin made it clear that he believed the Gibbs had been forced to pay the highest possible cost for their success. ‘All the tragedies my family has suffered . . . is a kind of karmic price we are paying for all the fame and fortune we’ve had.’

This is the story of the brothers’ incredible career(s) and an examination of the Gibb ‘curse’, an all-too-human look at the rollercoaster ride of fame.

About the Author

Jeff Apter is the author of 15 non-fiction books, including biographies of the Finn brothers, Keith Urban and cricketer Michael Slater. He is the Music Contributor for Vogue, was the former Music Editor at Australian Rolling Stone, and has been writing about popular culture for more than 20 years.


example:
My brother was bass guitarist for Normie Rowe  when Barry Gibb played a demo of the Gibbs'  latest recording at rehearsals one afternoon in Sydney.


 It was Spicks and Specks, the single that, after a string of flops in Oz  launched the Bee Gees. Jeff Apter's record of their rise, fall and rise really gets you in. Especially those heady days in Britain in 1967 when they turned out a string of hits.


But there is deep sadness in the tale too, for when they sang Tragedy  they couldn't have known that was  in store with the untimely death of Maurice, younger brother Andy and, more recently, Robin. Apter brings the story up to the moment, Barry Gibb, after an extended time channel surfing on his couch, rousing himself to do the Mythology tour.   




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Image credit:  Getty Images
“New York Mining Disaster 1941 (Have You Seen My Wife, Mr. Jones)”
Written by Barry and Robin Gibb (1967)
Performed by Bee Gees


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