Scratching the high-pitch itch

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 June, 2005, 12:00am

Robin Gibb's latest tour is testament to the enduring appeal of the Bee Gees

Despite sales of more than 100 million, some people have trouble taking the Bee Gees and their falsetto voices, tight trousers and string of disco hits seriously.

But Robin Gibb's forthcoming gigs and the opening last month of the musical Saturday Night Fever - for which the Bee Gees wrote much of the music - show that there's life in those polyester pants yet.

Brothers Barry and twins Robin and Maurice (their younger brother, Andy, who died in 1988, was a solo artist) started winning critical and commercial success in the 1960s.

Although the brothers were born in Britain, the young family emigrated to Australia and it was there that the Brothers Gibb, who later became the Bee Gees, first started performing together.

But in the 60s anyone who had serious pop ambitions had to be in London. And the brothers soon found themselves back on their home turf. The move paid off when in 1967 New York Mining Disaster became the group's first top-20 hit in the US and Britain.

In 1970, Robin went his own way with the release of a solo album, Robin's Reign, but he was back with the band less than a year later. After years of declining popularity, the brothers found themselves back in the spotlight with the 1975 release of Jive Talkin' followed by the success of their soundtrack to 1978's Saturday Night Fever.

For a while the Bee Gees dominated the airways, but as the sun set on the disco era, people grew weary of the band's signature three-part harmonies.

Although inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, their careers were in the doldrums for much of the 80s and 90s. Maurice's death in 2003 convinced Barry and Robin that it was the end of the group.

Robin now tours alone, singing tracks from his five albums as well as the golden age of disco.

Robin Gibb, June 9-11, 8pm, Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai, $580, $980,

HK Ticketing. Inquiries: 3128 8200