I watched a documentary about Barry Gibb (the only one of the Bee Gees remaining) and when he found out Robin was dying of cancer he told him “We’ve did it all, we had a wonderful life.” I’m sure it's true but the Gibbs didn’t live for long (Maurice 53 and Robin 62) and the youngest brother Andy died before all of The Bee Gees siblings. Here I am outside the former Stretford Memorial Hospital where he was pushed out into the world. It was vacant when I visited and was fenced off ready for regeneration.
Andy’s family lived in Chorlton in Manchester but within six months of his birth they emigrated to Australia. By the time he was nine they’d returned to the UK as his three older brothers began to find success as the Bee Gees. By 16 he was playing at tourist clubs around Ibiza in Spain. His parents moved to the Isle Of Man and while there Andy formed his first group and was managed by mum. Later he moved to Australia where the only Gibb sister lived and he was financed by his brothers. When he started disappearing for long periods his group broke up. He joined a band called Zenta which often supported famous bands touring cities.
Aged 18 he married his girlfriend, Kim Reeder. It lasted for two years and they had a daughter. At the time the Bee Gees manager was the legendary Robert Stigwood. He heard some of Andy's demo tapes and signed him up. Over the next few years he released three highly successful albums which sold in their millions. He was living in the lap of luxury but was addicted to cocaine. Stigwood dropped him due to his erratic behaviour and unreliability. He had a relationship with actress Victoria Principal but it didn’t last (she offered him a choice: me or the drugs.) Aged 23 to 24 he co-hosted the television music show Solid Gold but he was fired due to cocaine binges. He appeared in the show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat but was fired when disappeared for days into hotel rooms with his cocaine stash.
Between binges he was fine and aged 26 to 27 he finished two successful contracts at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas. His worried family persuaded him to seek treatment for drug addiction at the Betty Ford Center. He kept performing - touring small venues and appearing as a guest on television shows sitcoms. He toured East Asia and lived on hits, doing shows in Las Vegas and San Francisco.
Aged 28 he received more treatment to beat the drugs and hoped to record a new album. Big brother Barry arranged for Island Records to sign him but he missed vital meetings. The Bee Gees announced their little brother would join them but it never happened. Aged 29 Andy seemed to have defeated drug addiction but was depressed over his breakup with Victoria Principal. By his 30th birthday he was in London and working on the new album but was admitted to a hospital in Oxford with chest pains. He slipped into unconsciousness and died of myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart muscle caused by years of drugs abuse.) He’d beaten the drugs but drugs finally beat him; his former wife said she expected it one day. His body was returned to America and interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Hollywood.
Anyway here I am outside the hospital where the short life started. It was completed in 1850 and closed in 2015. As usual people have broken in and trashed the place. There's also the complimentary Youtube video made by folk who explore abandoned places : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2mZ_B_3N4o
Andy's face, teeth and hair yell out Gibb don't they? Had he joined his brothers he'd probably be alive now. He must have been shovelling in the cocaine to die at 30. Oh well. I had one last look at the building which presently seems to have no future and did a salute. I'm sure I'll drive passed in five years and it'll be the usual soulless flats.