Sympathy for a Superstar

Posted on October 25, 2021

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By David Ettinger

A Song on My Lips
For some reason, I woke up recently with a song on my lips, one I hadn’t thought of in years.

The Bee Gees in their early years

It was a major hit way back in 1971, and deservedly so. The song is “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” by the Bee Gees. A portion of the lyrics is as follows:

I could never see tomorrow, but I was never told about the sorrow.
And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again
.

One of the songwriters was Barry Gibb, and little did he know just how prophetic these words would be.

Bee Gees Background
The Bee Gees (“the Brothers Gibb”) consisted of three Gibb siblings – Barry (born 1946), and twins Robin and Maurice (born 1949). There would be a younger brother, Andy (born 1958), who too rose to fame.

The siblings were born and raised in England through the late 1950s until their parents moved the family to Australia. It was there they began their musical careers. They honed their craft as singer/songwriters in the 1960s, and wrote and recorded several outstanding songs.

Their early hits included: “New York Mining Disaster 1941”; “To Love Somebody”; “Massachusetts”; “Words”; “Holiday”; “I’ve Got to Get a Message to You”; “I Started a Joke”; “Lonely Days”; “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”; and “Nights on Broadway.”

As it turned out, as great as all these songs were, they were but “small potatoes.” In 1977, the disco era – highlighted by the movie “Saturday Night Fever” – plagued the world, and the Bee Gees were front, back, and center of it.

The Bee Gees at the height of their fame

By the time the disco-era mercifully died, the Bee Gees had gone from respectable popularity to insane global superstardom, with record sales believed to have topped 150 million. They are among the top-selling musical acts of all time.

Barry’s Sorrow
But then came the sorrow.

During the height of Bee Gee mania, the aforementioned younger brother, Andy, himself reached superstardom. Of course the link to his brothers was the key factor in his success, but his incredibly good looks didn’t hurt.

But alas, unlike his older siblings, Andy couldn’t handle the pressure and became addicted to cocaine. Long and tragic story made short, Andy’s addiction was so bad that his heart simply gave out. He died at age of 30 in 1988.

But the brothers forged on. They continued to make records and give concerts, and though their popularity would never reach what it was in the late 1970s, their live shows always sold out as they had achieved “icon” status.

But in 2003, Maurice died unexpectedly at age 53 from a heart attack while awaiting emergency surgery to repair a strangulated intestine. And in 2012, Robin died of liver and kidney failure at age 62.

This means that oldest brother Barry has suffered through the deaths of his three younger siblings, a heartache for any oldest sibling – famous or not. Over the years, I have watched interviews with Barry, several in which he breaks into years.

Emotional Ravages
That Barry Gibb, now 75, is world famous and worth approximately $100 million no doubt means little to him. He carries within him the emotional ravages caused by death – that is, death with no hope.

Barry Gibb weeps during an interview

Though Barry Gibb has always struck me as likable, I see no evidence he has ever accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior – nor his three brothers. Had they done so, they would know that death for the Christian is but a departure from this dark and cruel world to literal “Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Had the Brothers Gibb accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, Barry would not be beset by such sadness. The apostle Paul tells us that when it comes to the death of loved ones, Christians “do not … grieve as indeed the rest of mankind do, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Christians have hope because “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:2).

Christians have hope because when we are “absent from the body” (death in this world), we are “at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Christians have hope because “everyone who believes in Him [Jesus] will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Barry Gibb is the last remaining Bee Gees brother, and I feel sympathy for him. While the breath of life is still in him, I sincerely hope he comes to saving faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is hope – and eternal life – in no other name!