5 songs that showcase his tenor
BY THOMAS CONNER Pop Music Criticemail@example.com May 20, 2012 9:50PM
=Robin Gibb, one of the three Bee Gees whose falsetto harmonies powered such hits as “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever” and defined the flashy disco era died Sunday, his representative said. He was 62.
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:47PM
The Bee Gees came in threes, but which one was Robin?
Not the tinny falsetto voice that became the hallmark of the fraternal trio’s pop and disco hits — that was bearded brother Barry. Robin was the thin one with the wonky overbite and the quivering, tender tenor. When the group began, in fact, Robin was the lead singer.
Here are five tracks from the group’s catalog that best showcase Robin’s unique contribution:
The Bee Gees’ first full-length LP in 1967 featured folk songs about artists and mining disasters. Before that, Robin penned this jaunty parlor-piano single about a suicidal mayor who “shot a man in Ellenburg long, long time ago.”
“Another Cold and Windy Day” (1968)
In the ’60s, Coca-Cola convinced popular singers to do songs for its “Things Go Better With Coke” ad campaigns. The Bee Gees recorded two, including this oddly dreary tale — the swaying, Mellotron-laced tune sounds like something the Hollies would have written if the “Bus Stop” romance had gone sour — but Robin sings, “I open up some Coke and smile / and then my mind’s free for a while.”
“How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” (1971)
Recordings and performances of this song illustrate the stark differences between Robin’s tenor and Barry’s soft falsetto, as well as how the two complemented each other when trading lead vocal duties.
“Nights on Broadway” (1975)
At the dawn of the group’s disco era, this hit demonstrates how the interplay between Barry and Robin evolved, with Robin playing an earthy, street-level counterpart to his brother’s lofty heights.
“The Longest Night” (1987)
After their commercial triumphs with Barry in the lead, Robin was relegated to usually one token lead vocal per album. The “E.S.P.” album was mostly hilariously bad, though Robin’s highly effected vocals on this dreamy ballad are some of his best.