Andy Gibb Biography
Last updated: 10/04/2011 12:00:00 PM
March 5, 1958 ? March 10, 1988
History has shown that the more intensely a star shines, the faster it tends to burn out. This has been true since the beginning of time in astronomy and of those shiny people we refer to as ?Stars?. Gazing into mythology of old, we look at the story of ?Orpheus,? and apply it in a fashion to the tragically short life of Andy Gibb. According to myth, Orpheus was murdered so he could not sing again. His head was cut off and thrown into the river; and yet, the head continued to sing with the voice of an angel. You can destroy the singer, but you cannot silence the song. Unfortunately, even today society is guilty of destroying people with immense talent. Society loves to worship incredibly talented people and shower them with affection and worldly goods. Sadly, this same society also thrives on the desecration of their created ?gods?. Often unwittingly destroying the person who was lost behind the ?Star? image as well.
Andy possessed immense talent and rose to prominence in the late 1970?s and was the ?Star? of the moment. He was pampered, worshiped, and loved by all. Then one day the roller coaster ride stopped and Andy could no longer survive the terrible toll that had been placed on him physically and psychologically. Andy fell ill in 1988 while making preparations for a well deserved come back. He succumbed to viral myocarditis (heart inflammation caused by a virus) just five days past his 30th Birthday.
Andy?s extraordinary story began in Manchester, England on March 5, 1958 when he was born: Andrew Roy Gibb to Hugh Gibb and Barbara Pass Gibb. Andy was the youngest of the Gibb children: Leslie (born January 12, 1945), Barry (born September 1, 1946), the twins Robin and Maurice (born December 22, 1949). Bernice ?Berri? Barbara (September 29, 1964) was raised as Andy?s sister, even though she is Leslie?s daughter.
Andy grew up surrounded by a family that cultivated a great love of music. His father had been a big band leader and drummer and his mother a big band singer. Hugh?s search for work lead the Gibb family to various European vacation spots such as Ibiza and the Isle of Man. Through all the uprooting and transplanting of the family, they remained a very solid unit and often enjoyed spending evenings singing Mills Brothers? harmonies together.
Andy grew up proudly watching his brothers achieve success in the music industry. He decided that he wanted to become a singer too, and when Andy was old enough, big brother Barry gave him his first guitar.
Andy began his career in music at the age of 13 on the island of Ibiza. His first official gig was on St. Patrick?s Day 1972 at ?Debbie?s Bar," where he performed covers of current hits and his brothers? music of the '60s and early ?70s. The show was a success and word spread quickly over the tiny island. Andy was now in demand as a performer in his own right. Andy gleaned both experience and fun from his performances; as he could not legally be paid for his shows due to his age and his British Citizenship.
The Gibb family moved once again in 1973, this time to the Isle of Man. It was here that Andy formed his first band called "Melody Fayre? (named after a Bee Gees song from the ?Odessa? album). It was here that Andy finally received his first official paycheck as a professional entertainer. The Isle of Man was a great place for Andy to test his ?stage legs,? but he knew that he would have to go elsewhere to further his career.
Andy moved to Australia and soon formed a new band called "?Zenta?. They played in small clubs initially, gradually moving to larger and larger venues. Even thought ?Zenta? was experiencing success, Andy knew that he would inevitably have to leave the band to forge ahead as a solo artist.
Andy signed his first record deal in 1974 with ATA Records of Australia and soon released his self-penned single ?Words and Music? locally. Eventually, this record reached number 5 on the Australian charts. Soon, Andy found himself as the opening act for such bands as ?Sweet? and ?The Bay City Rollers.?
While in Sydney, Australia Andy met a local girl named Kim Reeder at a dog show. Andy and Kim were introduced by Andy's sister Leslie, who breeds dogs. Andy and Kim were married on July 11, 1976.
The Bee Gees? manager Robert Stigwood had taken notice of Andy?s success in Australia and decided that America was ready for Andy. Andy flew to Mr. Stigwood?s house in the Bahamas and wrote songs with Barry. The demonstration tapes of the songs were recorded and as soon as Robert heard the finished product, he immediately signed Andy to RSO records. Work started right away on Andy?s first album, ?Flowing Rivers.? The album was released in the US on May 1, 1977 to well deserved rave reviews. The two songs released from this album: ?I Just Want To Be Your Everything? and ?(Love Is) Thicker Than Water? both reached number one in the Billboard charts and were certified ?Gold?. Andy was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1978 (Best New Artist/ Best Song for ?I Just Want To Be Your Everything?). Unfortunately he did not win either award. Andy did eventually win a People?s Choice Award.
Andy soon went on tour to support the album. He was the opening act for Neil Sedaka for a while then he did some smaller venues by himself like ?The Bitter End? in New York City and ?The Roxy? in Los Angeles. This first American tour earned excellent reviews. Everywhere he played it was to standing room only audiences with people waiting in line for hours to buy tickets. Andy had definitely arrived!
Sadly Andy's marriage to Kim ended in January, 1978 ten days before Peta Jaye Gibb was born. Andy would only see Peta once during his entire life, in 1981 for about an hour (the pictures from this short visit are posted in the "Andy's Women" section of this website).
Soon work was underway for Andy?s second album. ?Shadow Dancing? showcased Andy?s lyrical and musical maturity as well as his amazing vocal ability. When the title track was released, total bedlam broke out as record stores were selling out of the single within hours. The ?Shadow Dancing? single went to number one on the Billboard charts and was certified ?Platinum? before the album was even released in May of 1978. When the single reached number one, Andy Gibb became the first solo artist in the history of the Hot 100 to have his first three singles reach number one (he is still the only solo male to hold this record). Other singles released from the album did well, but did not reach number one. ?An Everlasting Love? reached number 5, and ?(Our Love) Don?t Throw It All Away? peaked at number 9.
Andy soon embarked on a worldwide tour. This time he was the headlining artist. Now he was playing his music for thousands of people in arenas and stadiums everywhere. Andy had officially become a shooting star!
Andy showed his versatility as a performer by appearing on various variety (Donnie and Marie, Olivia Specials, Bob Hope, Sha Na Na, Dinah, Mike Douglas, Phil Donahue) and concert (Rock Concert, Midnight Special, Dick Clark?s New Years Rock N Eve) TV shows; as well as many celebrity sporting events (Challenge of the Stars). He was also an instrumental part of the 1979 televised event ?A Gift of Song: The Music for UNICEF Concert," which raised millions of dollars for needy children worldwide.
Between touring, recording, publicity and charity events Andy spent the little free time he had relaxing with his family in Florida. Andy enjoyed playing tennis and volleyball as well as riding motor cycles, and various water sports (scuba diving, swimming, para sailing, water-skiing, and fishing). With some of his newfound wealth, Andy purchased a 58-foot ship (named ?Shadow Dancer?). Andy would cruise the Caribbean with his loved ones for weeks at a time.
During the Bee Gees? 1979 ?Spirits Having Flown? tour, Andy would often share the spotlight by performing with his brothers on stage. His dream of ?Stardom? had now come true. The whole Gibb family was lighting up the sky like a meteor shower in the night sky.
Andy was a free spirit who dated many Hollywood starlets. During his life he was seen on the town with the likes of: Susan George, Fleur Theimeyer, Marie Osmond, Olivia Newton-John, Tai Babilonia, Pam Dawber, Victoria Principal, Tanya Tucker, Melissa Brennan, Nicole Romine, and Donna Rice.
Andy released his third album ?After Dark? in early 1980 to phenomenal reviews. The album entered the Top 40 on March 8, 1980. The first single from the album ?Desire,? debuted on February 8, 1980 and peaked at #4. Andy?s second charting single was a duet with Olivia Newton-John titled ?I Can?t Help It,? which entered the charts on April 19, 1980 and rose to #12. There was some speculation that the material from the album was no longer ?fresh? as work on album was put off until after the Bee Gees tour was completed in 1979. It was reported that Andy believed the wrong selections from the album were released as singles. He felt very strongly that ?After Dark? should have been released as a single and he would often chose to sing it during publicity bookings on TV variety shows rather than ?Desire.?
Andy?s Greatest Hits album was also released in late 1980. This was quite an ambitious venture, as Andy was only 22. Two new songs included on this compilation landed on the Billboard charts: ?Time is Time? broke into the charts on December 6, 1980 (rising to #11); and ?Me (Without You) squeaked into the Top 40 at #40 (peaking at #40).
During 1981, new doors were opening for young Andy. He began working on the stage in the Los Angeles company of the traditional Gilbert and Sullivan musical event ?The Pirates of Penzance"; with Andy in the leading role of Frederic; garnering solid reviews (he also played Frederic in the Toronto based ?Pirates,? in 1983). Because of Andy?s strong stage presence he was hired as a co-host for ?Solid Gold? (the popular weekly syndicated musical which was considered THE showcase for musicians in the days before MTV).
Andy?s stage career continued; when in 1982 he took a supporting role in the play ?Something?s Afoot? in Toronto, Canada. This led Andy to Broadway where he will always be remembered as THE quintessential Joseph, in the Andrew Lloyd Weber production: ?Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.? He also had the good fortune to appear as "Joseph" in the Macy?s Thanksgiving Day Parade that year.
Versatile Andy soon began a ?Vegas? type production in 1983. He played older songs (Mills Brothers, Bee Gees, Frank Sinatra et al), as well as his own hits in a more intimate setting. When Andy performed, the expert showman that he was, his presence totally filled the room, completely mesmerizing the audience. His shows were always varied and entertaining. He would tell a few jokes, do a little tap dance or soft-shoe number and sing his heart out.
Andy performed in the Festival of Song in Chile during 1984, winning the prestigious ?Silver Torch? Award, and breaking attendance records for the festival.
During the mid-80s, Andy toured and did some very well received guest appearances in two situation comedies: Gimme A Break and Punky Brewster. He also did a little foray into game shows: The Fantasy Show and Battlestars.
Throughout his entire life, Andy continued do appearances for charity. He was active in the following charities/causes: Muscular Dystrophy, Juvenile Diabetes, March of Dimes, the Humane Society and numerous others (if you know of more please email me and I will add it here *** Thanks***).
After taking time to reassess his life, Andy fulfilled a life long dream by learning how to fly an airplane in 1987. Then he embarked on the path to reawaken his music career. He got together with his brothers Barry and Maurice and wrote some new songs. The demonstration tapes of these songs garnered Andy a new record deal with Island Records in England. Andy was in England during early 1988 writing more songs for this album when he fell ill. Andy was admitted to the John Radeliffe Hospital in Oxford on Monday, March 7 with stomach pains. His star-crossed-life ended on March 10, 1988 when Andy expired from viral myocarditis.
Andy Gibb will be remembered as a kind-hearted man who was amazingly talented. His life may have been cut short, but his voice will continue to sing for eternity.