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Shadow Dancing - Andy Gibb

(RSO 893)

Andrew Roy Gibb was born two years after his older brothers, Robin, Barry and Maurice, formed the Bee Gees. For that reason, he "danced in the shadows" for most of his life.

Andy was never accepted by the other kids his age; they knew he was "the Bee Gees' brother," and resented seeing him picked up after classes every day in a Rolls Royce. He was picked on, hated it, and eventually quit public school at the age of thirteen.

Barry gave him a guitar, and with it, Andy made his performing debut at a nearby tourist bar. He worked cheap -- for tips, in fact -- and appeared on a fairly regularly basis. Occasionally, his brothers showed up, and supplied harmonic accompaniment

In 1973, Andy got his first real job in the music biz. He formed a band with some local rock'n'rollers, and for over a year, kept himself employed by playing two clubs on the Isle of Man. Then, in 1975, he moved to Australia, on the advice of his family.

"They said go there, and spend some years like we did," Andy recalled. "With all due respect to Australia, in a way it's a great training ground, because you can become the biggest star there and still not be heard of anyplace else. It's a crying shame, too, because there are so many great artists and groups there. I planned to stay about five years, but then I got a contract, a record deal, and put out a single that I wrote called 'Words and Music.' It was a moderate success; didn't get to the top ten, but did get me television exposure."

Robert Stigwood, the president of RSO Records, then called Barry and asked him if he thought Andy would be interested in signing with RSO.

"Andy's very willing to come over and talk," replied Barry.

"Well," said Stigwood, "can you and Andy meet me in Bermuda?"

"Certainly." So the two brothers packed their bags, flew to Bermuda, and consummated the deal. Within a few hours, Barry had also written Andy's first U.S. hit: "I Just Want to Be Your Everything."

In the summer of 1977, that record exploded, topping the charts for a month, and remaining a best-seller for more than thirty weeks. The follow-up, "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water," did nearly as well, thanks in part, to an unbilled guitar solo by Joe Walsh (who just happened to be working in the studio next door). Both of those tracks appeared on Andy's first album, Flowing Rivers, which was certified platinum within weeks of its release. The title cut -- his third number-one in row -- was a fast-rising chart record even before the album was released. As a single, "Shadow Dancing" broke in mid-April 1978, and by July was the best-selling single in the country. It remained that way for seven weeks, and in total, spent nearly six months on the pop charts.

Also in July, Barry, Robin and Maurice surprised Andy by walking out and joining him onstage during a show at the Jai-Alai Fronton Studios in Miami. It was the first time all four brothers had performed live together in concert, and the Bee Gees' only concert appearance of 1978. The song they did? What else, but "Shadow Dancing."

Andy went on to rack up several more hits over the next few years, including "An Everlasting Love" and "Our Love (Don't Throw It All Away)" in 1978. In 1980, there were "Desire," "I Can't Help It" (a duet with Olivia Newton-John), and "Time Is Time." By then, Andy was 22 years old.

"I feel I've done very little," he said in 1981, of his accomplishments. "I know I've been very lucky, and wouldn't have gotten as far as I have so quickly if it hadn't been for my family. I'm making music for now, and it's what's selling now. It won't stay that way. It's going to change, and I'm going to change with the times. I know the public's going to change with me."

From 1981 to mid-1982, Andy hosted the syndicated TV show Solid Gold, and then joined the cast of the Broadway musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in late 1982.

On Monday, June 7, 1988, Andy was admitted to the John Radeliffe Hospital in Oxford, England for observation after complaining of stomach pains. He died the following Thursday from myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart muscle caused by a viral infection). After Andy's passing, a fifth album was released in 1990, another greatest hits album, which included the song "Man on Fire," which he had been working on and was planning to release on a new album before his untimely death at age 30.

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