Andy Gibb beat the odds and found fame while under his famous brothers’ shadows. Sadly, it was this same fame that caused him to crash and burn.
1. He Was Surrounded By Fame
Andy Gibb grew up surrounded by the money and fame his brothers had already amassed as the super pop group the Bee Gees. There seemed little reason for young Gibb to throw his hat in the ring but, against all odds, Gibb managed to find his own pop star status. What he didn’t count on were some dark demons that his older siblings had escaped.
Even though he was the last Gibb to arrive, these demons made him the first one to go.
2. He Was A Late Addition
Hugh Gibb, an English drummer, and singer Barbara Gibb welcomed Andrew Roy Gibb into this world on March 5, 1958, in Manchester, England. He was a late addition to the Gibb family, which already consisted of sister Leslie and three boys, Barry, and the twins Robin and Maurice. Andy joined the family after a ten-year gap, and the family couldn’t help but baby him.
They certainly meant well, but this special treatment would later spell absolute disaster for little Andy Gibb.
3. They Bonded Without Him
When Andy Gibb was born, his three brothers were already bonding over music. They formed a band called The Rattlesnakes in 1955 when they were still children. Of course, Andy was far too young to join the boys in this endeavor, and this seemed to be an ongoing thing. Andy was the Gibb who was always left behind only because of the age gap.
His brothers were already beginning their pop star careers, and Gibb was just getting into trouble.
4. He Was A Little Devil
Gibb wasn’t even a year old when his entire family moved to Australia. Mom said that growing up, Andy was “a little devil”. She remembers that some days he’d come home from school smelling like manure. Mom quickly figured out that instead of going to school, Andy was sneaking off to sleep with the family horses.
Sounds kind of cute, except there may have been a darker reason for Andy skipping school.
5. They Teased Him
At this time, Gibb’s brothers were already getting some success in Australia as the Bee Gees. Gibb’s classmates knew it, and they relentlessly teased him for having famous brothers. This cruel behavior certainly could turn him off his education. It may have also put a wedge between Gibb and his brothers.
However, when the family moved back to the UK, he started seeing the perks of having a star-studded family.
6. He Lived A Posh LIfe
Life for Andy Gibb was not what most of us have experienced. If he wanted to go to a movie in London with his friends, mom and dad would spring for a limo and put a wad of bills in his pocket. It was a charmed life, and Gibb was feeling like he could do anything he wanted. At the very young age of 13, Gibb announced to his parents that he was through with school.
Gibb was about to take being spoiled to the next level.
7. He Was Headed In A Bad Direction
As it turned out, Gibb’s parents also wanted to live a posh life and they decided to move to the party island of Ibiza, Spain. Since their youngest didn’t want to go to school, they took him with them. It was looking like Andy Gibb would simply become the annoying, globe-trotting, spoiled, member of the Gibb family.
Luckily, older brother Barry saw this coming and did something to stop it.
8. He Got An Important Gift
Before Andy Gibb left for Spain, his brother Barry gave him a gift that would help him focus on what he wanted to do. This was an acoustic guitar. Gibb took the guitar with him and, at the age of 13, started performing in tourist clubs in Ibiza. Luckily, the musical talent ran in Gibb's blood, and he was not only playing, but also writing music.
The obvious thing to do now was join his brothers and be one more Bee Gee, but baby Gibb was not about to do something so obvious. He had his own plans.
9. He Borrowed
Instead of joining the Bee Gees, Gibb needed to feel special. To do this he formed his own band. Now, he did still want a connection to his famous brothers, so he borrowed his band name—Melody Fayre—from a Bee Gees song. He also borrowed their manager, who was the Gibb matriarch. Everything was in place. All he needed was for his career to lift off.
What followed was a cruel reality. This was going to be much harder than he thought.
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10. He Depended On Them
Gibb’s mother managed to get Gibb’s band booked in clubs. Next, he was ready to record. Here, another family member stepped in. Gibb’s first song was a Maurice Gibb composition called "My Father Was a Rebel” which Maurice also produced and played on. It sounded like Gibb had everything going for him. Except he didn’t.
The recording was never released and Gibb floundered. It was time for big brother number two to step in.
11. He Needed To Make A Move
Big brother Barry saw that Andy Gibb was failing to lift off, so he came up with a great idea. He thought Gibb should move back to Australia and get his career going there. It wasn’t just Gibb that went down under. Gibb dragged his band members—John Alderson and John Stringer—with him. The plan was to become as big as the Bee Gees.
Alderson and Stringer knew it would be hard work, but it seemed that Gibb didn’t get the memo.
12. He Disappeared
The thing was that Gibb had always had success around him so he’d never actually witnessed how much hard work went into a music career. Plus, Gibb had no money struggles, so he didn’t feel the pressure to succeed. When it was time for rehearsal, Gibb would famously disappear for a few days. His lack of commitment began annoying Alderson and Stringer.
This led to a dramatic climax on live TV.
13. He Lost Them
To launch their career, Andy Gibb and his band booked The Ernie Sigley Show where they would perform live. After singing “To a Girl," the host announced the song was part of Gibb’s new album. How exciting! There was one thing though. Because of Gibb’s unreliability, the album didn’t exist. Worse still, it never would.
Frustrated with Gibb, his bandmates eventually abandoned him, packing up their bags and heading home. Gibb seemed to want to do the impossible. Have a huge career, not from hard work but based on his talent alone. As it turned out, it was actually possible.
14. He Caught A Break
Without lifting a finger, Gibb got a break. In 1976, a record label wanted to release two songs he’d previously written when he was with his band. These were “Words and Music” and “Westfield Mansions”. Both had huge popularity in Australia and New Zealand. In fact, “Westfield Mansions” remains one of his most popular songs.
Okay, Gibb certainly had talent, but he was still relying on his family. Even when it came to romance.
15. She Set Him Up
Gibb’s brothers were certainly supporting his career, but what about his older sister? Leslie had nothing to do with the music industry, but she did her part to help her youngest brother. It was through her that Gibb met receptionist Kim Reeder. The two immediately fell in love and then married on July 11,1976. Gibb was just 18 years old.
Gibb’s career was finally starting to take off, so he packed up his new wife and headed for America. Unfortunately for Gibb, this would be the land of temptation.
16. He Had A Hit
With a little help from the Bee Gees’ manager, Robert Stigwood, Gibb got a deal. By the end of the year, Gibb found himself in Miami recording his first album Flowing Rivers with his older brother Barry. From this, a hit emerged. This was “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” which became the most played record of the year.
Gibb was on top of the world, but he seemed to have forgotten about his wife.
17. He Got Caught Up In The Lifestyle
In 1977, Gibb and his wife moved to West Hollywood and their troubles soon began. Gibb was enjoying his fame and out partying all night long. He boozed and snorted, and Reeder didn’t like it one bit. Fame had gotten the best of her husband, and she gave him an ultimatum, which fell on completely deaf ears.
She packed her bags and moved back to Australia. As it turned out, she was carrying more than just her luggage.
18. He Took On America
When Reeder left Gibb neither of them knew that she was pregnant. Ignorant of his upcoming stint as a parent, Gibb kept up his relentless pursuit of fame. In April, 1978, he released his second album, Shadow Dancing, which became the highest charting album in America and Canada. Gibb then set an impressive record.
He was the “first male solo artist to have three consecutive number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100” all within a year. It was looking like Gibb would eclipse his older brothers’ fame. Don’t count on it. The Bee Gees weren’t about to give it up so easily.
19. They Competed Against Each Other
Just as Gibb’s star was ascending, his brothers gave him a run for his money. Saturday Night Fever was a mega hit movie, and the Bee Gees were all over the soundtrack. To radio listeners, it seemed as if almost every hit had something “Gibb” about it. When it came to the top spot on the Hot 100, it was one Gibb song replacing another.
Gibb was becoming super famous—famous enough to attract the attention of Australian pop star royalty.
20. She Was A Kindred Spirit
Back in the early 1970s, the Bee Gees introduced a teenage Andy Gibb to Olivia Newton-John. The two bonded over the fact that they’d both emigrated from England to Australia and of course they were both singers. Newton-John was a decade older than Gibb, so she saw him as the cute little brother of the Bee Gees.
When Newton-John ran into him again, Gibb was a handsome—and very eligible—young man. Everyone expected sparks to fly.
21. He’d Grown Up
Newton-John was in shock. The boy she’d once known as the Gibb’s little brother was now an adult—and a very handsome one at that. Instead of dating, they decided to work together. In 1979, they recorded “Rest Your Love On Me” and “I Can’t Help It”. Apparently they could “help it”. Later, they both denied—in spite of countless rumors—anything romantic between them at all.
No matter, Gibb was content being a party boy. Sadly, he’d take this title way too far.
22. He Enjoyed It Too Much
Andy Gibb was thoroughly enjoying being the pop star of the moment, but he may have been enjoying it too much. His drug use and drinking were getting out of control. So much so that, in 1980, his record company had no choice but to drop him from the label due to his unreliability. This was a huge reality check for Gibb.
But there was a phone call coming that would make this seem like nothing at all.
23. He Found Out The Truth
Remember, Gibb’s wife Reeder was pregnant when she left him and returned to Australia. When she gave birth, she decided to keep Peta as far from her father as possible. By the time Peta began speaking with her father on the phone, she was already two years old. Sadly, Gibb had missed the first two years of his daughter’s life.
Maybe being a father would help Gibb get his life back on track. Nope, he was in a full-on downward spiral.
24. He Had A Not So Secret Crush
Despite being a father, Gibb’s poor behavior continued to ruin his career. An upturn arrived in January 1981 when he appeared on The John Davidson Show. During the sit-down chat, Davidson reminded Gibb that he’d previously revealed that he had a secret crush on Victoria Principal, who was a huge star on TV’s Dallas.
Gibb’s face went beet red, but it was about to go an even darker shade.
25. She Walked Into His Life
To Gibb’s delight—and likely humiliation—Victoria Principal walked onto John Davidson's stage. Imagine meeting your celebrity crush in front of a studio audience, not to mention all those viewers back at home. It was one of those TV talk show stunts that audiences love and also know are usually fake.
In this case it was different. Something real happened on that stage. Something that would transform these two lives forever.
26. He Used It
Even though Davidson had matched up Gibb and Principal as a ratings grab, something real came out of it. Just a few days after the taping of the show, the two started dating. This was just the kind of thing Gibb needed to turn his life around. He decided to use this positive relationship to get his career and life back on track.
Little did Gibb know, this was the beginning of the end.
27. He Turned Over A New Leaf
One of the first things Andy Gibb did was start hosting the variety show Solid Gold. He followed this up with musical theater roles in The Pirates of Penzance and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Obviously his relationship with Principal was having a huge and positive effect on Gibb’s life.
But not everyone was on board with these changes—or with Principal.
28. They Didn’t Trust It
Some of Gibb’s family were having trouble buying that his behavior could improve not only overnight, but also because of just one person. His mother said that as far as she saw it, it wasn’t love, but an obsession. If this relationship was going to work, Gibb would have to tune out his family’s opinions and focus on Principal.
We’ll soon see that this was absolutely the wrong decision.
29. It Started Out Fun
Gibb and Principal’s romance was fun at the beginning. He even, after hearing her singing in the shower, convinced her to record with him. In August of 1981, they put out a song together. This was “All I have to Do Is Dream” by the Everly Brothers, and it hit a respectable number 51 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
Singing together was a high point in their relationship, but there were plenty of low ones coming their way.
30. She Figured It Out
Even though he was happy with Principal, Gibb’s life took a turn for the worse. What Principal saw before her was a man with strange behaviors, and a man rapidly losing weight. She soon put two and two together and realized that her boyfriend had a substance problem. Principal didn’t want anything to do with an addict and, like his first wife, she gave him an ultimatum.
Once again, Gibb chose his addiction over a woman. From there, it was just more downhill sliding.
31. He Lost It
Gibb’s breakup with Principal hit him hard. Afterward, he went on drug binges that cost him upward of $1,000 a day. Because of this, all the things he’d started when he met Principal came crumbling down. He lost both of the musicals and his hosting gig on Solid Gold. The reason they gave was “absenteeism," but everyone likely knew that it was his awful binges.
Gibb was obviously losing it, and the public demanded to know why.
32. He Told A Story
Gibb wanted to set the record straight, so he went on Good Morning America to tell his fans what was going on. He divulged that he had only begun his substance use after he and Principal had broken up. Huh? Wasn’t it the substance use that caused the break up? Gibb was heartlessly spinning it, so he came out looking like a victim.
All it would take was one word from Principal to expose Gibb’s lie.
33. She Knew The Truth
Of course, Principal knew that Gibb had been using long before she met him. She had a choice to make. She could come out and tell the public the truth about Gibb’s addiction, or remain silent. Principal didn’t want to cause any more trouble for Gibb, who she still cared about. She decided to take the high road and say nothing.
There was no reward for Principal’s altruism. In fact, she got a big fat punishment.
34. They Turned On Her
Before the breakup, the public had playfully called Principal a cougar because of the age gap. Now that Gibb was blaming Principal for his host of problems, the media turned on her. They branded the good girl from Dallas a villain. Now would be the perfect time for Gibb to rise to the occasion and set the record straight.
Nope, he just made things worse.
35. He Embarrassed Her
Instead of helping out the woman he said he loved, he made her look even worse. Andy Gibb spoke publicly about Principal’s obsession with looking young and called her fear of getting old ridiculous. He also tried to embarrass her by mentioning the plastic surgeon he’d introduced her to in order to deal with her aging anxiety.
This introduction would come back and bite Gibb right in the butt.
36. He Married Her Off
The plastic surgeon that Gibb introduced Principal to was Dr Harry Glassman. What Gibb didn’t know was that he was introducing Principal to the love of her life. Gibb certainly wasn’t happy when in 1985, Principal married Glassman, In fact he just said that he “should’ve known”. Principal and Glassman stayed married for over 20 years.
Principal had clearly moved on. Next, it was Gibb’s tragic attempt to do the same.
37. There Was Tension
While he was dealing with his breakup from Principal, Gibb still managed to find work. In 1983, he had a guest spot on the popular TV sitcom Gimme a Break! On the episode, he plays himself, but before he even got to the set, there was tension growing. You see, one of his co-stars had a special reason for wanting Gibb on the show.
38. He Had A Dark Force
When Gibb arrived for his stint on Gimme a Break!, he had no idea that one of his co stars had the hots for him. This was Kari Michaelsen, and they soon started dating. Sadly, Gibb’s addictions soon surfaced, and Michaelson saw a dark force in her new beau’s life. They decided to call it quits.
Once again, Gibb's demons had gotten in the way of him finding true love. If he wasn’t ready to get help on his own, then it was time someone else stepped in.
39. The Checked Him In
Gibb was still the baby of the family, and in 1985, the Gibbs decided to save him from himself. The “in” place to go for treatment at the time was the Betty Ford Clinic, and that's where he went. This worked for a time, but then, by 1987, Gibb was back in rehab again trying to get clean. All this turmoil was causing Gibb severe emotional damage, but there was something else.
Gibb was running out of money.
40. The Pressure Was Great
Dealing with addiction and not working put an intense pressure on Gibb’s finances. His brother Barry saw the mess Gibb had made of things and reached out to help. Barry arranged a very lucrative meeting for Gibb with Island Records. This was what Gibb needed. A singing career that he could refocus on, and that would hopefully pay the bills.
All Gibb had to do was convince Island Records that he was a bankable star.
41. He Was A No Show
Gibb certainly could have convinced Island Records to sign him for a career reboot, but that didn’t happen. You see, in order to do that, Gibb would have to actually show up for the meeting. Sadly, he didn’t. There were no options left, and Gibb filed for bankruptcy in 1987. There was still the possibility that Gibb’s breakup with Principal had caused all these hardships.
Well, now he had the chance to get some closure.
42. He Stuck To His Story
A while back, Gibb had lied to the media about what caused his break up with Principal. Principal knew that he started his binges before they even got together, but she’d kept his secret. In a 1988 interview, Gibb stuck to his lie. At the end of what would be his last interview, he said these chilling words: “Thank God that’s behind me now”.
His addiction was certainly not behind him, and his life was about to come to its disastrous conclusion.
43. He Was A Mess
Later that year, it seemed that Gibb had beaten his addiction and was ready to record again. But it wasn’t meant to be. He soon said that his depression—still over Principal—was getting to him. He started drinking again, and he was heading to a very dark place. Call after call from his brothers came in, but nothing seemed to help.
He was about to turn 30 and his life was a mess.
44. He Felt Peace
For his birthday, Andy Gibb went to spend some time with his mother. It was there, alone with his mother in the countryside, that he turned 30. Some thought that this was a period of time where Gibb was becoming reclusive. Maybe it was a new era for him, a time for a more sane existence.
But though there was still hope for Gibb, it wouldn’t last long.
45. He Had Chest Pains
While celebrating with his mom, Gibb started to feel chest pains. He checked himself into the hospital and waited to see what the doctors could tell him. What they needed were more tests, but what Gibb didn’t have was time. Before the results came in, Gibb went unconscious and then passed.
The doctors said it was myocarditis, which years of drug use had complicated. Gibb had only been 30 for five days. The loss of Gibb devastated his fans around the world, but it was his family that really felt the pain.
46. They Were Never The Same
Maurice Gibb later said that after Gibb passed, the brothers never felt like the same three brothers. They’d lost Andy, and they had changed forever. As it turned out, Gibb's father also suffered terribly. After losing his son, he gave up on living and drank himself to an early grave. Clearly, this family had to find a way to cope with this devastating loss.
47. They Did What They Did Best
To make matters worse, Barry Gibb had to live with the fact that he’d argued with his brother shortly before his passing. To help deal with all these feelings, the Bee Gees recorded an album in memory of their lost brother. This was simply called One. They also covered his song “(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away” and the title took on a whole new and tragic meaning.
Additionally, there was someone else feeling a complicated loss. Someone Gibb had almost completely forgotten about.
48. He Was Just A Man
Because of his fame and fraught existence, Andy Gibb had never taken the time to meet his daughter. Sure, there were the phone calls, but Peta Gibb said that he was just “a man on the other end of the line” and that they had no relationship. Before his passing, Gibb had made plans to visit Australia and meet Peta for the first time. Sadly, this never happened.
It was a tragic moment for Peta Gibb, but there was another twist in store for her.
49. She Joined Up
Maurice Gibb’s daughter Sam got in touch with Peta. She had an idea for the children of the Bee Gees to record covers of their famous dads' music. She thought the collective would not be complete without Andy Gibb’s daughter Peta. She didn’t know Peta at all, but she reached out to her, and Peta rose to the occasion.
Peta Gibb never met her father, but she did get to become part of his legacy.