Book Review: The dizzying highs, the mortifying lows, and the Tragedy of the Bee Gees

Jeff Apter is a seasoned writer of largely Australia-based music titles, from studies of AC/DC and the Finn Brothers, to books about Keith Urban and Johnny O’Keefe. He co-wrote Kasey Chambers’ memoir, A Little Bird Told Me, and is also a senior writer for Rolling Stone Australia. So he’s a perfect candidate to examine what is perhaps Australia’s biggest musical export: the Bee Gees.

Apter’s biography closely explores the intertwined lives of Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb, as well as that of their younger brother, ’70s pop star Andy. The book is separated into three sections, allowing for the author to follow the brothers’ story from their early years as Beatles-esque pop tunesmiths (“Beginnings”) through their second-act disco heyday (“Fever”), to their final years, following the deaths of Maurice, Robin, and Andy, leaving Barry to soldier on alone (“Tragedy”).

The story of the brothers Gibb …

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