What more needs to be said about Robin Gibb and the Bee Gees? Phenomenal success as singers, and as songwriters for other artists, during six decades of changing styles. As composers in the rock era they are second only behind Lennon & McCartney.
Here is a medley of some of their early hit songs, my favourite period of their career, exemplifying their wonderfully catchy melodies, and their vocal harmonies featuring in particular Robin's distinctive quivering emotive voice:
In recent months Robin Gibb was interviewed several times. Although he still looked terribly emaciated, he was ecstatic because he thought he had conquered cancer, and he stated that his goal throughout his illness was to be healthy enough to attend and perform at the world premiere of Titanic Requiem which he composed with his son for Titanic's centenary commemoration. He was a determined fighter and an optimist. Sadly he did not achieve this ambition, but here is one of the songs from his first classical, but final, composition:
Levon Helm was the drummer and co-vocalist of The Band, who first achieved fame as Bob Dylan's touring group in the late 60s/early 70s before finding their own critical success with two classic albums which defined a new sensibility in Americana folk traditions.
I first discovered them in 1978 through Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz, the film of The Band's final concert. They were so captivating that I remember feeling a strange sense of 'deja vu' that I already was familiar with their personalities and their music. All five musicians were multi-instrumentalists, four of them shared lead vocals, and all of them composed. Super-talented. And so respected that their concert featured many former collaborators and inspirations such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Eric Clapton, Emmylou Harris, the list goes on...and it is, in my opinion, the best concert film ever.
So here is Levon Helm singing one of their best-known songs, about the American Civil War and the dignity and suffering of the defeated 'dixieland' Southern confederate states.