Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb dies after long cancer battle

Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees arrives at Grosvenor House in London, to attend the Ivor Novello Awards. A representative said on Sunday, May 20, 2012, that Gibb has died at the age of 62. Enlarge photo

Max Nash/Associated Press file photo

Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees arrives at Grosvenor House in London, to attend the Ivor Novello Awards. A representative said on Sunday, May 20, 2012, that Gibb has died at the age of 62.

LONDON – With his carefully tended hair, tight trousers and perfect harmonies, Robin Gibb, along with his brothers Maurice and Barry, defined the disco era. As part of the Bee Gees – short for the Brothers Gibb – they created dance floor classics like “Stayin Alive,” “Jive Talkin’,” and “Night Fever” that can still get crowds onto a dance floor.

The catchy songs, with their falsetto vocals and relentless beat, are familiar pop culture mainstays. There are more than 6,000 cover versions of the Bee Gees hits, and they are still heard on dance floors and at wedding receptions, birthday parties, and other festive occasions.

Robin Gibb, 62, died Sunday “following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery,” his family announced in a statement released by Gibb’s representative Doug Wright.

Gibb was the second disco-era star to die this week. Donna Summer – who earned the Queen of Disco title by singing “Last Dance” and “I Feel Love” – died of cancer Thursday.

The Bee Gees, born in England but raised in Australia, began their career in the musically rich 1960s but it was their soundtrack for the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever” that sealed their success. The album’s signature sound – some called it “blue-eyed soul” – remains instantly recognizable more than 40 years after its release.

The album remains a turning point in popular music history, ending the hard-rock era and ushering in a time when dance music ruled supreme.

It became one of the fastest-selling albums of all time with its innovative fusion of harmony and pulsing beats. The movie launched the career of a young John Travolta whose snake-hipped moves to the sounds of “You Should Be Dancing” established his reputation as a dancer and forever linked his image to that of the Bee Gees.