Overheard on CNN.com: Robin Gibb fans say Bee Gees' legacy far beyond disco
Maurice, Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees pose together in 1973. Robin Gibb died Sunday at the age of 62.
May 21st, 2012
06:56 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Robin Gibb fans say Bee Gees' legacy far beyond disco

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

As readers remember Robin Gibb, 62, who died Sunday, they're also looking back at The Bee Gees' legacy. While the Brothers Gibb are sometimes associated with the disco era, many commenters pointed out that they had a career well before "Saturday Night Fever." They performed together as kids and had several hits in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Robin Gibb, member of the Bee Gees, dies after battle with cancer

The Bee Gees were more than "Saturday Night Fever," many readers said.

ganderse: "They call this guy a disco singer, but the Bee Gees were so much more than that. These guys wrote some amazing songs! They were not just rockers, but balladeers as well. Songs like 'The First of May,' and 'Dearest' still make me cry. Thanks, guys for some great music."

Laura Shafer: "I'm pretty sure that people who don't appreciate the brilliance of the Bee Gees are those that have never listened to music outside of their favorite FM radio station. There were Bee Gees before SNF, during SNF and after SNF. And if disco music itself was such a travesty, why are we still listening to it and talking about it 30 years later? Godspeed, Robin. With now only one brother left to us, it is a sad day."

One reader paid tribute to the songwriting.

WmPreece: "First of all it's sad to loose another music talent. Robin was one of the key voices of the Bee Gees. The song 'I Started a Joke' always endured time and really made people think a lot about things. Every time he performed it, the level of excellence was always the same ... The other thing is that while some never heard of the Bee Gees or remember them have probably heard a song or two that was written by them done by other performers and groups. Almost anyone in the music business that scored a hit in the past 20 years probably have had a it written or co-written by one of the Bee Gees. As for the people getting on here making stupid or rude comments, you would think that there would be more respect or maturity rather than acting too poorly. It takes less effort if you just let people who do care make comments and move on.

Getting back to Robin's passing, he will be missed by millions of fans and condolences goes out to the Gibb family on another loss. Andy was to young and unfortunately was beyond saving. Maurice and Robin endured a lot of suffering before they passed on. May his children and beautiful wife know his voice touched a lot of people. The rest of the Gibb family and especially Barry the last of the brothers know prayers and support goes out to them during this time. Thanks to all the Gibb brothers for making such great music over several decades and endured the test of time. Whether it was an early hit or later hit background harmonies on many tunes or writing some of the best tunes the talent you shared is much appreciated ... bless you all ..."

iReporter Allen Mealey of Moreno Valley, California, looked back fondly on the stages of the Bee Gees' career and said the loss of Robin Gibb leaves a hole.

"The early years, when I lived in Valdosta, Georgia, were my favorite. The love songs had me dreaming of fast cars and women at a young age. I saw the Bee Gees in concert at Dodger Stadium in 1979. Over 80,000 fans filled the massive 'dance party' show ... The world's biggest disco! So now Robin Gibb joins Donna Summer in disco heaven. The dance floor from our generation up there is getting full now. We are starting to feel old ... But the legacy will live on with the music. Somewhere in the world right now, a nightclub is playing a Bee Gees song."

What was the role of the "disco phase" in the Bee Gees' history?

PaulRAnderson: "'Disco' group The Bee Gees? Hardly. Their disco era was a small part of their career. Rest in peace, Robin."

harryreid: "Unfortunately they will be remembered more as a disco group than anything else. I felt their best efforts were prior to the mid '70s. A very talented group no matter which era."

Susan Barth: "I liked them 'til they went disco. Disco sucks ..."

Some readers talked about the Bee Gees' history.

SpiderWoman4: "All of the Brothers Gibb have died young. Andy at 30. Maurice at 53. And now Robin at 62. People live into their 80s now. 62 is too young to die. Robin said that his recent problems and his brothers' deaths may be the "Karmic price" they have to pay for all of their fame and fortune. I don't believe that. I believe Andy was born with a heart condition and both Robin and Maurice were born with bowel problems. Maurice died from his bowel problems. Robin had bowel and pancreatic cancer. Their fate was probably sealed for them a long time before they became famous. RIP Robin."

A few commenters said they were feeling their age.

Rick1948: "You know you're getting old when all the people you watched or listened to in your teens and twenties are dying off. No matter what you thought about disco, the Bee Gees were a great group."

edofmtl: "Robin 62, Donna Summer 63. What's up with this. Is 60 the new 80?"

newescher7: "I'm 62 and feel like 20. Seems if you make it through the late 50s and early 60s, you're good for another 20 years. The strange thing is that around the late 50s, you really start hearing about friends and acquaintances dropping like flies. To all you youngsters out there - live like every day is your last. It comes faster than you could ever imagine."

Enjoy what you can.

Glades2: "It really shows how short this life is - Donna Summer was about the same age but when you're in the 20s and 30s you don't consider you are only going to be here for a handful (perhaps) of fleeting decades - or less - until you get to my generation (the next one down from these folks) and then the illnesses start to come to yourself or your peers (as they did for me last year), and then you suddenly realize that this life is truly short, but that doesn't mean you should go crazy and do 'whatever,' but it does mean you have to appreciate what God has given you and to do your best to make a difference in this world – may he rest in God's peace ..."

Disco harmed the band, says this reader.

Thecbr1100: "The Bee Gees were without equal to me. From the '60s to their final album in 2001, I loved every single one of them. They were also brilliant in the '80s to anyone who listened to their music. Unfortunately they were marred by most in the U.S. due to their association to disco b/c they were asked to write songs for a disco movie. Their music was constantly evolving but still had the Bee Gees underlying stamp of soul on it. The world has lost a great artist and person, who happened to sing with one of the most penetratingly beautiful voices ever to grace our ears. RIP Robin."

Of course this reader has fond memories of some of it.

Susan L. Trout: "Talent upon talent–that's the Bee Gees! They created and performed music that is both beautiful and downright great dance music. Every time I hear 'Night Fever,' I want to get up and hustle. Robin, you join some wonderful singers and musicians in heaven. Heck, at the rate we're going, all the great talent will be there and we'll have to wait our turn to live it again. And as a friend of mine reminded us, using the words of a famous rock song - 'If there's a rock n' roll heaven, I know they got a hellava band'! Prayers for your family and thank you for giving us the gift of beautiful music for so many years."

Remember the 1970s?

Poutso: "EVERYTHING was more fun back in the '70s! The music was incredibly and massively creative, whether you're talking pop, rock or disco/dance music! There were less lawyers and frivolous lawsuits, and you couldn't die from having sex (AIDS, HPV-16 causing cancer, etc.)! Life was more carefree, and life was more affordable than it is now. American industry had not yet been off-shored or exported to cheap labor countries. RIP Robin Gibb, and RIP to a truly great era, and the peak of American life and culture!"

Good times, they were.

aholee: "A doobie, a glass of wine and a Bee Gees album is the reason a lot of people born in the late '60s and the '70s are here today at all. This was getting-laid music. Rest In Peace Robin Gibb, all of the truly gifted musicians are already in heaven."

What's your take? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Nathan

    It's really sad about Robin's passing–he was such an incredible vocalist and songwriter. I grew up listening to mostly hard rock and heavy metal, and was mostly dismissive of the Bees Gees. But once I finally heard some of their pre-disco albums, I was immediately hooked. I think my favorite Bee Gees album has to be ODESSA, which reminds me a lot of The Moody Blues: very beautiful, lush, proggy, and diverse.

    May 22, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
    • bfskinnerpunk

      Exactly. I was dismissive of the Bee Gees and disco in general (although I accepted Jive Talking and Staying Alive at the time).
      It is difficult to appreciate the latest thing especially if it is associated with a fashion or a fad: like disco. In retrospect, they truly were a creative talent.

      May 22, 2012 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. pat

    this would be a good time to go ten years prior to disco inferno and listen to the beegees from 1967-69. there are some excellent songs from this period of their long and successful career.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. JoeyATL

    The Bee-Gees were a great pop band that got convinced by their manager to do the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Talk about a blessing and a curse. They made millions, but got put into that dead musical style. Is it better as an artist to be rich and reviled, or to make it on your own merits? I don't know.

    May 22, 2012 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Laureth

    I remember watching a concert of theirs on television years ago. It was the early nineties. I knew the words to every one of their older songs. It was the newer stuff I didn't know. But I remember thinking how cool it was to see them again. I wasn't the only one if the crowd at the concert was anything to go by. It's sad that Barry is the only brother left(and he's the oldest). RIP Robin.

    May 22, 2012 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mark Taylor

    I think the first Lp I purchased was BeeGees Horizontal. I thought the writer who penned the Robin Gibb obituary here on CNN was a real dufus by calling them a Disco band. That was a short, and in my opinion regrettable, stint. I remember all those great songs they wrote like: New York Mining Disaster, Massachusetts, I've Got to Get A Message to You, I Started a Joke, Idea, First of May. I could go on and on. The brothers were master song craftsmen and it's a shame they will be remembered in those white bare chested suits with all the gold jewelry under a mirror ball. So much more than that. Great memories guys.

    May 22, 2012 at 6:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark Taylor

    @JoeyATL – Always best to go with your soul rather than Mammon. Mammon will swallow you whole so that there is nothing left. Bob Dylan is an excellent example of someone who refused to let others define him and didn't go for the money either. He's an icon on his own terms.

    May 22, 2012 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. Melanie

    They were a great great band for sure. To all you fans, and those who thought they were only a Disco Band, you're very wrong. The Biography Channel has a 2 hour Biography on the Bee Gees – I recommend it to ANYONE! It will show you what they all accomplished, it's simply amazing how talented they were. Robin was my favorite.

    May 22, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mary G

    My all time favorite group. Every song they wrote and/or performed "speaks"-

    Never saw them perform live but I'm surprised the cd's I have-are still working-I play them over and over and over---I'm a huge fan

    May 22, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Rick

    I sat here and read a number of the messages about Robin Gibb and the Bee Gees in general and a lot of the posts say how they didnt like disco and that it hurt the Bee Gees to make Saturday Night Fever, calling it a blessing and a curse. I respectfully disagree with all of them. They may have said disco sucks when they were around their friends but when they were alone in their room they were cranking out those disco tunes, which always included the Bee Gees and doing their best John Travolta dance impression. I loved all of the Bee Gees songs and so did they. They crossed a number of genres and did it with ease. They also wrote many songs that were made hits by others and sang backup on others as well. Rest in Peace Robin and thanks for the music.

    May 22, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. Paul Hanna

    yes... the Bee Gees were far more than a disco band although they were outstanding in that genre... They were constantly evolving... from the mid 60's to their last album in 2001. They wrote great, soulful ballards and uptempo songs. Their lyrics were incredible... If you read the lyrics of their songs you will see that no person or group can compare in the last 50 years with their reference to love, grace... and the human spirit.. Their music was spirtual and I say this as an ordained minister... Their talent as song writers and as producers was great... Look at what they wrote for other artists and how many artists have covered their songs... Robin probably put it best some years ago when he said that your immortality is what you write and create...one of their great songs of their last decade was "Immortality" that they wrote for Celine Dion.. and they sang backup vocals to this... Yes.. Robin.. you and your brothers will be immortal through your music.. it is music that gives us the greatest happiness on this earth.. Robin.. Maurice RIP.

    May 22, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. matt oquinn

    You could play the Bee Gees music 100 years from now and it would still be popular. They were nothing short of spectacular musicians who will be missed dearly. There music will live on forever!

    May 22, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. lulu

    The Bee Gees were around long before Saturday Night Fever, and were in France working on a new album when their manager notified them that he had signed the group to provide a soundtrack for a new movie. For time and convenience, they decided to use the songs they had already written. The result: a fantastic soundtrack for a fantastic movie, a movie and a song that truly epitomized the 1970s. If SNF hadn't been made, or the Bee Gees hasn't been asked to do a lot of the music for it, the world would have known about the songs anyway on the next Bee Gees album. Unfortunately, the media labeled the Bee Gees music "disco" and the monniker stuck. I was a teenager during that decade and loved ALL the music, but the soundtrack to SNL always brings back the best memories. So far this year we've lost Davy Jones (my first teen idol), Dick Clark, Donna Summer, and now Robin Gibb. I feel that a little bit of my youth has died, too. Thank God music and memories last forever. RIP Robin.

    May 22, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. fernace

    The Bee Gee's were brilliant musician brothers & an Aussie export loved world wide, for 3 decades! Disco was just 1 part of their repertoire & it was just good music, whatever the style! I confess that I loved living during Disco Dayze & loved a lot of disco music! Still do, always will! Donna Summer last week, now Robin Gibb.....sigh! Rest In Peace & Music, brother Gibb, the world remembers & will miss you!!

    May 22, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. fernace

    Thinking about "You Don't Know What It's Like" & "Jive Talkin'" right now!!

    May 22, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. mr. b

    Istarted to be a fan of the e BeeGees as a kid in Eeurope when every radio station played Massachussetts and every decent jukebox had trhe record. BeeeGees Just disco? If you say that you have not lived long enough to be qualified to write about them.

    May 22, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
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