May 21, 2012, - 8:38 pm

Robin Gibb, Friend of Israel, RIP: 2/3rds of Bee Gees Gone

By Debbie Schlussel

As you’ve no doubt heard, Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees died yesterday of colon cancer. It’s a disease that took my paternal grandfather in his fifties and Gibb at the young age of 62. Only Barry Gibb remains from the Brothers Gibb. Twin brother, Maurice, died in 2003 at age 53. And their younger brother, Andy Gibb, died at age 30, in 1988. Seems the Bee Gees are sadly afflicted with early deaths. As you probably know, the Bee Gees songs on the soundtrack of “Saturday Night Fever” made them huge. But you probably didn’t know that the Bee Gees were very pro-Israel and even had their own song, entitled “Israel,” which they put out in 1971. Oddly, they never performed there, until Robin Gibb performed solo in Israel in 2007, his first time there, defying calls to boycott the Jewish nation. Below is video of that performance, singing “How Deep Is Your Love” with Israeli back-up singers and praising Israel in an interview with illusionist Uri Geller (while there is brief Hebrew in the beginning, the interview is in English at the end of the song). I loved the Bee Gees music (which remains a big part of my work out routine–the fast songs have a great beat), plus, back in the day, Barry Gibb was hot. My favorites are “Stayin’ Alive,” “Tragedy,” and “You Should Be Dancing,” all of which are below.

The Bee Gees – Robin Gibb at Right

Barry Gibb in Israel . . .

What are your fave BeeGees tunes?

Shalom, Robin Gibb. Rest In Peace.


Here are the lyrics to the Bee Gees’ “Israel”:

You’ve had your troubles Israel
I’ve seen them all
But you put the writing on the wall
Israel Israel yeah

You know I’ve seen you fall so many times
I’ve cried for you and that’s a crime
Israel Israel Israel

Where there’s sand
Where there’s beautiful sand yeah
You know you got a kind of feeling
That’s just grand
Take me into your arms
Let me be with you
Israel Israel Israel

I like the smiles up on your people’s faces
They make you feel warm embraces
And I want that kind of smile
That kind of smile
Israel you make the whole world think about you
And if they don’t they’ll find a reason
To shout about Israel Israel

You’re the only one Israel Israel
Tell me all about it!
Tell me all about it
Tell me all about it
Oh take me into your arms
And make me feel your goodness
Be with me Israel
Hey hey hey hey
Oh oh oh
Take me into your arms
Let me hold hold you to myself
Oh I want to Israel

Israel Oh take me back into into your arms
Israel Israel Israel Israel

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25 Responses

Nice tribute! And great taste in songs! I love the Bee Gees and always have and I love even their schmaltzy stuff too, I am not embarrassed to say. My Dad was a big fan too! The Saturday Night Fever was a revelation to us growing up! I still love it!

The talent in that group is AMAZING! Their 60’s stuff is fabulous. I was with a Croatian speaking parrot last summer and he went NUTS for the Bee Gees. It was hot and we had trouble w/ the AC but I have fond memories because I just played Bee Gees for the parrot and we were “happy as Larry” as they say in Australia! Australia has given us great talent (Yes, I know they are originally from Isle of Man/England! 😀 I am a Bee Gees fan!)

I loved Robin’s voice. I love “Holiday” (not Madonna’s!) and ALL he sang on. I loved the difference between his voice and Barry’s falsetto. Their 60’s songs were deep and kinda sad and I liked that.

A song that is AWESOME but sounds fey is “Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)”. The production and arrangement on that song knocks my socks off EVERYTIME I hear it! It makes me laugh too because in Australia a “fanny” is not what it is here (it’s slang for the female privates) so I always wondered if the song (although very sincere) was an inside joke or something. Australians sure get a kick out of american “fanny packs” (although they have been long out of vogue).

I love “Lonely Days”, “Nights On Broadway” and “Run To Me” (which is prolly my favourite Bee Gees song). A great 60’s deep track is “Every Christian” which is kinda gothic and creepy! Too good!

Strangely enough, as much as I LOVE the Bee Gees, their version of “More Than A Woman” (a great one!) is not as good as the Tavares version. Only because the Tavares version is out of this world good! That’s not done very often (“All Along The Watch Tower”/Jimi Hendrix, “Heard It Through The Grapevine”/Gladys Knight & The Pips and “Higher and Higher”/Rita Coolidge!!)

God Bless and RIP Robin Gibb! I even liked his 80’s hit “Girls Do Fall In Love”. YouTube it! It’s cute and fun!

Skunky on May 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I heard this song about a year ago on the “Steve Malzberg show” (no longer on the airwaves due to contract issues, NOT censorship) when Obama gave a speech about “Israel needing to return to it’s pre-1967 borders”.

When I heard this song on Malzberg show, it sounded good/great, and I don’t know why the Gibb’s brothers passed away at such young ages, ironically none of them made it to the age of 70, think about that!

“A nation is defined by its borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on May 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm

‘Nights on Broadway’ is my favorite. I’m pretty shocked the BG’s were pro-Israel. They must not have watched the BBC. Anyone exposed to that long enough would hate Israel unless they sought out the Jewish press. Can you go to Israel with me for Hanukkah? I can afford two airline seats but only one room, but it’s OK as G-d will be our chaperone.

A1 on May 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

“One” is one of my top faves. Interesting that my one year old loves their music moreover any other music. Was shocked to hear that he had passed away since the last I heard was that he was getting better. Thank you, Debbie, for the great article.

Pats on May 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I was never a big fan of the Bee Gees because I found their vocals annoying. I do like “Jive Talkin'”, “you should be dancing”. It’s surprising to me that they are Israel supporters since many liberal English celebrities support Palestine. I wonder if they will be parodied by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon on SNL anymore since Barry Gibb is the only surviving Bee Gee.

Matthew on May 21, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Hmm, maybe I should post that the Bee Gees left England VERY EARLY…when they were young kids. They left for Australia so they are AUSTRALIAN. Australians are a different sort than Brits (thank the Lord!)

You know, like Oliva Newton-John (who is an Aussie but Brit born) as are/were Guy Peace and the late very handsome actor Andy Whitfield.

Skunky on May 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks Skunky, I almost forgot! #sillyme

    Matthew on May 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I have the Satuday Night Fever Soundtrack album. I love all of their songs on that album. I love several other of their songs as well. I wasn’t aware that they had a song called “Israel” until I read this post. Thank you for linking to the Youtube video and posting the lyrics for the song, Debbie. I just read the lyrics to the song and just heard it and both are beautiful.

Also, thank you for the tribute to Robin Gibbs. It’s a shame that two of the Bee Gees are dead at such a young age. I hope that at least Barry lives a long life.

Robin Gibb-RIP.

JeffE on May 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Correction to my post:

    “Also, thank you for the tribute to Robin Gibb.”

    JeffE on May 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Dear Debbie:

Thank you for posting that column. I did not know that the Bee Gees were pro-Israel.

On one hand, I was not a big fan because I was always a heavy metal fan. Back in the day (1977) it was a huge Ramones fan; not too many of us back then. (Did not know Joey Ramone was Jewish.)

I appreciated the Bee Gees talent and I remember listening to them on AM radio at the old Aeronomy Lab where we had an old Hallicrafters radio that picked up Chicago AM “Top 40’s” music with great clarity. I have fond memories of their songs as that’s when I met Mrs. TINSC and started dating.

I was never a fan, but always an admirer. I had no idea any of them were committed supporters of the Jewish State until you posted this column.

Thank you very much.


TINSC (aka There is NO Santa Claus)

There is NO Santa Claus on May 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm

The Bee Gees were interesting because they were one of only a few 60s rock groups that had two separate careers (Fleetwood Mac is another): the folk-rock Bee Gees and the later, disco/soul Bee Gees.

Apropos of your post, I read that former major league catcher Brad Ausmus has agreed to coach Israel in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and he’s bent on recruiting present or recently retired Jewish major league players to fill the team (rules permit it if the player is eligible for citizenship/residency in the “foreign” country). Let’s see if any of the full-of-themselves anti-Israel crowd try to protest the WBC if Israel gets to play in the U.S.

Ausmus hopes to get Ian Kinsler to play for Israel – unless he chooses to play for the U.S. If Kinsler was in New York or L.A., he’d be a superstar. He’s a terrific person, a real mensch: he does lots of volunteer stuff in the Dallas area that goes unreported. He was the person Josh Hamilton called when Hamilton was having a crisis with his addictions. He called out Michael Young when Young was having an uncharacteristic hissy fit. But he’s often overlooked on a team made up of Josh Hamilton and Yu Darvish and Michael Young, owned by Nolan Ryan and visited often by President Bush. But I digress . . .

gmartinz on May 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm

I loved those ones you posted. Tragedy was cool because it was a little different. On my headphones (with the big telephone cord) it was really cool. R.I.P.

samurai on May 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Robin Gibb


Infidel on May 22, 2012 at 12:16 am

“Israel” has Barry on lead vocals. A much more entertaining song that at least references it in the title is this one, featuring Robin singing like his finger is stuck in a light socket:

I defy anyone to not start cracking up, beginning at 1:03

Irving on May 22, 2012 at 5:11 am

Donna Summer. Adam “MCA” Yauch. Dick Clark. Levon Helm.. Robin Gibb…

2012 is truly the Year of the Apocalypse.

RIP Robin. Rest well.

(Side note: every time I go to Boston, I couldn’t get “Massachusetts” out of my head.)

The Reverend Jacques on May 22, 2012 at 11:29 am

I decided to take a little time to let the news sink in before posting this, as with Davy Jones, this one is a bit personal for me. While I believe the recent deaths of Donna Summer and Adam Yauch are tragic, as is the death of any law abiding citizen from a medical condition at a relatively young age, I would be lying through my teeth if I were to say that their “art” meant anything to me. Unlike Debbie, for me, music is not merely something to do exercise routines to, thus I have no taste for any style of it in which the rhythm is the main element instead of the melody and harmony…Which is why I also have absolutely no interest in anything Robin Gibb was involved with from 1975 onwards. I have always been completely unmoved by disco and punk, and always will be. It is The Bee Gees’ staggering body of work from 1963-1974 however, that has had as profound an effect on my life as just about any artist’s.

They were one of many acts who’s (pre-disco) sound mainly revolved around two very distinctive lead vocalists, and how they made use of the contrast between the two voices. Some of their most memorable singles were the ones where the two would trade off. “I’ve Got To Get A Message To You” is a perfect example. Robin sings the first and last verses, while Barry sings the middle verse to add a little variety. On “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” Robin sings the verses, while Barry sings the chorus. Those roles were reversed on “Run To Me” with even better results.

I’m one of those obsessive people who doesn’t just own a lame “Greatest Hits” package. I have EVERYTHING they created between 1963 and 1974…Albums, Non-Lp B-sides, demos, and songs written by them that others recorded. I would post links to all sorts of mind-blowing stuff on YouTube, but I know from past experience, that this site only allows one link per post (otherwise you receive a message stating that “this has to be approved by the webmaster” and it winds up never appearing). So since I can only post one, I’ll go with this, from 1965. It’s a perfect demonstration of how by the age of 15, Robin had already developed the distinctive rapid vibrato that made his voice so instantly recognizable:

Between Davy Jones, and Robin Gibb, this is not turning out to be a good year for Mancunians. I hope that Graham Nash (who recently turned 70) and Peter Noone both live to a hundred.

Irving on May 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm


    If you follow this web site at all, the important thing was that Gibbs supported Israel and was not an anti-Semites.

    Whether you liked the Bee Gees or not is of no importance. A lot of people like them.

    I was a heavy metal fan in the day. While I wasn’t a “fan” of the Bee Gees, I appreciated their talent but preferred the Ramones (WAY ahead of my time for the 1970’s.. and BTW, The Ramones’ lead singer was Jewish.)

    None of this matters. Gibbs supported Israel and for that, he deserves praise, recognition and our deep sense of sorrow for his passing. He was a good man in an industry where good men (and women) are hard to find.

    There is NO Santa Claus on May 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I was once spending a mini-vacation in Las Vegas in the late 1990s, and was at the MGM Grand in the lobby, when all of a sudden, the Gibbs brothers walked in with security. I instantly recognized them, and a spokesperson from the MGM soon entered with a mike and introduced them to the surprised group of people in the lobby, which quickly grew when word spread of the special guests. I got to briefly say hello to the band, who were very gracious and friendly to us. It was a great “celebrity moment.”

In my book, the Bee Gees would have been great even if they had never performed, as they were exceptionally gifted writers of pop music. My particular favorite song by Robin and Barry Gibb is “To Love Somebody.” It’s a beautifully written song, and I believe that it’s been covered by many other artists. Here’s the lyrics:

There’s a light, a certain kind of light that never shone on me
I want my life to lived with you, lived with you
There’s a way everybody say to do each and every little thing
But what does it bring if I ain’t got you, ain’t got? Baby

You don’t know what it’s like, baby
You don’t know what it’s like
To love somebody, to love somebody
The way I love you

In my parade, I see your face again, I know my frame of mind
You ain’t got to be so blind and I’m blind, so, so, so very blind
I’m a man, can’t you see what I am? I live and breathe for you
But what good does it do if I ain’t got you, ain’t got? Baby

You don’t know what it’s like, baby
You don’t know what it’s like
To love somebody, to love somebody
The way I love you

You don’t know what it’s like, baby
You don’t know what it’s like
To love somebody, to love somebody
The way I love you

You don’t know what it’s like
You don’t know what it’s like
You don’t know what it’s like
To love somebody, to love somebody

Ralph Adamo on May 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I really love this thread. Irving, I knew you’d have something interesting to say because of your love and knowledge of music (and I suspect, but can’t say for sure (of course) that DS has a very visceral love of music beyond working out (let’s face it…when we are busy, working out (regrettably) is sometimes the ONLY time we get to listen to our lovely music!)

I notice that when she lists songs she likes that they also move me even though I may not be a huge fan of whom she is discussing (like Whitney Houston…was not a fan but all the songs she listed I would have picked if I had to play DJ…also I am NOT a Journey fan (except “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeeezing” from that magical music period of the late 70’s early 80’s) but I distinctly remember her posting a song of theirs that I had forgotten but liked WAY more than their huge hits. These are songs that move you in a deep way. I’m not the type of person who likes boring music…there is a reason I only like TWO (or three) U2 songs (“Gloria” and “One”). I’ve always felt that mediocrity and my favourite music are NOT compatible.

Music is such a special gift from God. It is something I cherish daily!

Ralph, I am so glad you posted the lyrics! So lovely!

Skunky on May 22, 2012 at 5:36 pm

DS Your clips of music, plus your column to Robin Gibb, just fabulous. Who can ever forget the movie Saturday Night Fever….

Reports to-day mentioned that Robin Gibb’s last words concerned his late twin brother, Mo. The sudden passing of Mo must have been an emotional wrench that he truly never got over. Quite understandable.

From a column in the UK to-day, worth sharing.

‘Hearing about the death of Robin Gibb stirred up whole flocks of forgotten memories: the feel of white silk satin, the scent of YSL Rive Gauche, Biba and black velvet, candy-striped lurex, glitter, cape-sleeved floaty disco frocks, and in the background the Bee Gees are singing More than a Woman. I can’t find More than a Woman on YouTube with original Bee Gees footage, perhaps I’m looking in the wrong place. I did find the opening credits to Saturday Night Fever though and identified one of those rare moments when fashion, music and culture come together in one place to create a style with gravitational pull so strong it sucked in almost every one of us. John Travolta’s hip-swinging, finger-snapping syncopated strut to Barry, Robin and Maurice singing Staying Alive caught the moment and bottled it forever’.

RIP Robin Gibb

Eyes Wide Open on May 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm

In addition to their 60’s songs mentioned, let’s not forget three other Bee Gee classics – First of May, Words, and World.

Soynfeld on May 23, 2012 at 1:41 am

Why didn’t he live in Israel if he loved it so much? Same goes for a nyone who professes love for a foreign country while living in another. You are free to leave if you feel more loyalty toward a foreign nation.

David on March 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Robin did not die of Colon Cancer. He died of pneumonia. He went into a coma for 6 days and after he awoke he quickly deteriorated and died.

Steve on August 22, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Hi Debbie,Thanks for letting us know, My favourite music band of all time are indeed The BeeGees Robin Gibb RIP.We love him, as well. So sad that 2/3rds of the BeeGees are gone…

TIRDAD GHARIB on September 16, 2014 at 4:37 am

Hey there
Were the brothers Gibb Jewish?

K: Nope. DS

Karl on November 12, 2016 at 9:18 pm

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