By Jeff Pfeiffer, ReMIND Magazine
Although Andy Gibb was the younger brother of Bee Gees members Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, he was never officially a member of that famed and beloved group.
He did come close to being a Bee Gee, though. Early in 1988, the group announced plans to become a four-member band with the addition of baby brother Andy. Sadly, Andy passed away in March of that year, not long after his 30th birthday, so it was not to be.
In his brief life, however, Andy made his own mark on music. Born in England in 1958, he spent part of his childhood in Australia with his family, moved back to England, then returned to Australia on his own in the 1970s. There he released his first single, 1975’s “Words and Music.”
The mid to late ’70s was a successful time for the Gibb brothers. Not only were the Bee Gees making history with their monster-selling soundtrack to 1977’s Saturday Night Fever, but Andy was also becoming an international star. He released his first album, Flowing Rivers, in 1977, and it went platinum in the United States. It included a re-recording of “Words and Music,” along with “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” and “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water,” both of which hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts.
There was some friendly sibling rivalry in 1977-78, as Andy’s “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water” knocked the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” off the top of the Hot 100 a day before his 20th birthday. It was replaced there just two weeks later by his brothers’ hit “Night Fever.”
Andy released his second album, Shadow Dancing, in 1978, another platinum-seller, with its No. 1-charting title track written by all four Gibb brothers.
His third album, After Dark, was released in 1980, and went gold. As the 1980s progressed, however, Andy’s days of hitmaking waned, likely due to his increasing drug addiction. Family and friends were concerned, and his relationship with actress Victoria Principal — with whom he released a 1981 duet that covered the Everly Brothers’ “All I Have to Do Is Dream” — ended when she gave Andy an ultimatum to choose between her and drugs. That duet was Andy’s last official single, and his final appearance on the U.S. charts.
Andy’s drug use made him undependable when it came to personal relationships and professional appearances. His family convinced him to seek treatment, and after cleaning up following a stay at the Betty Ford Center in the mid ’80s, and another drug rehab program in early 1987, Andy seemed poised for a comeback and returned to the studio in June 1987, though nothing from those sessions was officially released until decades later.
In early 1988, seemingly having beaten his drug addiction, Andy continued to suffer from a debilitating depression. On March 5, he celebrated his 30th birthday while working on a new album, but a few days later entered the hospital with chest pains. On March 10, 1988, Andy passed away due to a heart issue.
Andy Gibb certainly did not live in the Bee Gees’ shadow during his life, nor since his passing, as his music continues to entertain fans.
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