The following entry I just found on Facebook and is written by Spencer Gibb*, son of Bee Gee Robin Gibb. He provides an insight and perspective into the life of Whitney Houston, her statistical links to the Bee Gees and why heartless comments regarding drug addiction are based on ignorance. I do not personally know Spencer, but I offer him my sincerest thanks for allowing me to re-post this. It has been slightly edited from its original form, removing the names of some of the people mentioned. It was written in response to a Facebook conversation he read – Tim.
My name is Spencer Gibb and I almost never discuss what I am about to say.
My father is Robin Gibb, my uncle is Barry Gibb, my late uncle was Maurice Gibb. My other late uncle was Andy Gibb, whose premature death was undoubtedly caused by drug problems and depression. Not a laughing matter. My mother was the Beatles and Brian Epstein’s personal manager. I myself am a musician, a writer and a performer.
My family are arguably the most successful songwriters of all time, and one of the most successful performers and record sellers, as well as producers. In fact, much to their chagrin, three of the most prominent world records that they set were broken by, guess who? Whitney Houston. Andy Gibb set the record for the most consecutive number one singles for a solo artist (3). Houston broke that. The Bee Gees set the record for the most consecutive number one singles by any artist (6). Houston broke that.
|Spencer and Robin Gibb, circa 1990.|
My family had the biggest selling soundtrack of all time (and actually the biggest selling album ever before “Thriller”. Almost 40 million copies by the way, so wrap your head around that). Houston broke that. And just for the sake of extra trivia, the record for the longest held single vocal note on a number one single was on the song “Woman In Love” recorded by Barbra Streisand. Written by my father [and uncle] and produced by my uncle. Guess what? Houston broke that record too.
Moving ahead… This is an incredibly hard industry. Grueling hours and time around many dysfunctional people. Back in the sixties, artists had no choice but to pop pills to stay awake and make schedules. That didn’t stop. Going into the seventies and eighties, and often even today, people have to deal with the same kind of pressure. Also, when you are literally a child in this business, there is a desire to fit in, a desire to impress and be approved (actually part of the essence of being a performer).
|The Bee Gees.|
This often leads people to keep going down an uncontrollable path of abuse that they never realized they got caught up in. Often with no family support group and no support from the machine that helped you achieve in the first place. If you are no longer to be able to get up and “dance monkey, dance” then you got abandoned, as you no longer made them money. I have seen and experienced this first hand.
To belittle the struggles that these people have gone through is just outright cruel. I’m sure that some of your friends are battling an addiction of some kind or another that you don’t know about. Not only is this because they don’t have TV cameras, the Enquirer, Twitter and Facebook up their ass 24 hours a day, but also probably because they know how exceedingly judgmental you are and know you would be the last person they could turn to.
Now I don’t care if you like someone’s music or not. None of my business. However, you cannot deny Whitney Houston had talent. Immense talent. As a vocalist and a performer. She started at a very young age as a church gospel singer and worked her ass off. She may not have been a writer, yet she, like many other artists, was able to help the careers of many other writers. Like George Benson and even Dolly Parton. You might not be able to be able to see out of that box, given that from your posts it is a very small one that you live in, and I’m OK with that. What I am not OK with is negativity, bitterness and a blanket disrespect for someone who worked incredibly hard to get where they were while also dealing with personal downfall. Not to mention that the only way you would even KNOW about her personal downfall is because fame brings scrutiny and thus adds pressure and often hinders any kind of rehabilitation.
Proving my point, you were also speculating on her cause of death without it even being made public yet! Show some compassion and respect to a mother and a daughter who just lost her life at a young age. Show some respect to her family. Show some respect to mine, because I have taken your ignorance personally. As an additional point of trivia, John F. Kennedy battled a serious amphetamine problem, but I assume that by your standards that shot in the head gave him what was coming to him…
UPDATE JUNE 2012: As I’m sure you know, Spencer’s father Robin sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago. Click here to read my tribute, focusing on the fight for the Bee Gees’ legacy and the challenges these remarkable songwriters overcame.