One of the most tragic tales when it comes to a life of fame is how that same fame could end a life so early. Earning his fame in his late teens, Andy Gibb was a renowned teen idol that suffered both personal and drug-related problems, which lead to a decline in his career and the ending of a relationship. Best known for his 1977 single I Just Want to Be Your Everything, Andy Gibb released six singles that reached the US Top 10 and three other singles that appeared in the US Top 20. His success, though widespread, was made brief due to his drug addiction.
Andy Gibb at a Glance
Andy Gibb’s Early Life and Career Beginnings
The English songwriter was born on March 5, 1958, in Manchester, England. He was named Andrew Roy Gibb by his Irish-English mother Barbara and his Scottish-Irish father Hugh Gibb. Andy was the youngest of five children, with his siblings being: sister Lesley, fraternal twin brothers Robin and Maurice, and brother Barry. His brothers created the pop music group the Bee Gees in 1958. Andy’s early life involved a lot of moving with his family. He moved with his family to Queensland, Brisbane, and Sydney in Australia and Spain before returning to the United Kingdom in January 1967.
Andy Gibb spent little time in school, skipping classes whenever he could. Eventually, he dropped out completely at the age of 13 and starting performing at tourist clubs in Spain and the Isle of Man with the acoustic guitar his brother Barry gifted him. He created his first group in June 1974, calling it Melody Fayre after a Bee Gees song. The group was managed by his mother.
His Rise to Stardom
In 1974, he moved with fellow bandmates John Alderson and John Stringer to Australia with the hopes of using the country as a training ground for their music. However, thanks to the success of his brothers’ group, Andy enjoyed financial independence that caused long absences. This would create a sporadic work schedule that didn’t favor Alderson and Stringer, with the two later returning to the UK. Andy Gibb then became a part of the band Zenta, but not much success was recorded with the group either.
Andy Gibb found international fame after he signed to Bee Gees’ manager Robert Stigwood’s record label, RSO Records. Releasing his first album Flowing Rivers in September 1977, the album quickly became a million-selling one. The album spawned two no. 1 singles; I Just Want to Be Your Everything and (Love Is) Thicker Than Water. Gibb continued to receive critical acclaim and widespread success, entering into the world of television along the way. However, as his success grew, Gibb sunk deeper into his drug abuse.
Andy Gibb co-hosted the television music show, Solid Gold and performed in Andrew Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. But due to his drug addiction and binges, he was fired from both shows for his long periods of absenteeism. His drug abuse would ultimately be the reason he split from actress Victoria Principal in 1982 – a highly publicized relationship. The breakup would lead to severe depression, and Gibb ended up dropping his career and getting more involved with drugs.
Events Leading to the Pop Star’s Death
Relationship with Victoria Principal and Split
At the height of his career, Andy Gibb was in a relationship with American actress and producer Victoria Principal. The two of them met on The John Davidson Show in 1981, developing instant chemistry. The same year, after they had begun dating, the couple recorded a song together, All I Have to Do Is Dream, as a celebration of their love. The relationship would go through rocky times as Gibb’s drug abuse got worse.
As the relationship was strained by the addiction, Victoria had left him with an ultimatum; either he picked her or the drugs. With her efforts to help proving fruitless, the couple broke up in March 1982. The split left Andy Gibb very depressed, deepening his drug addiction.
Drug Issues and Rehabilitation
Andy Gibb was well aware he had an addiction problem. Worried about his well-being, his family was able to convince him to look for professional help for his drug addiction. After his breakup with actress Victoria Principal, Gibb admitted himself into the Betty Ford Rehabilitation Center in Rancho Mirage, California to get help for his addiction. This was in 1985.
After going through the drug rehabilitation programs, Andy Gibb started preparing for a comeback. Aiming to get a record deal for his new album, he returned to the studio to record four songs; one of which was released posthumously. Arrow Through the Heart was another of the four tracks and the last song the singer would ever record.
The Real Cause of Andy Gibb’s Death
Days after his 30th birthday on March 5, 1988, Andy Gibb went to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford with complaints of chest pains. On March 10, 1988, he was told several tests needed to be done to determine the cause of the aches. Later that day, Gibb slumped into unconsciousness, dying afterward as a result of myocarditis – the inflammation of the heart muscle. The inflammation was caused by the years of cocaine abuse, which resulted in the singer’s heart becoming weak. Despite what some believe, however, Andy Gibb did not die of an overdose.