The Bee Gees were a musical group formed in 1958 by brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The trio were especially successful in popular music in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and later as prominent performers in the disco music era in the mid-to-late 1970s. The group sang recognisable three-part tight harmonies; Robin's clear vibrato lead vocals were a hallmark of their earlier hits, while Barry's R&B falsetto became their signature sound during the mid-to-late 1970s and 1980s. The group wrote all of their own original material, as well as writing and producing several major hits for other artists and have been regarded as one of the most important and influential acts in pop music history. They have been referred to in the media as The Disco Kings, Britain's First Family of Harmony, and The Kings of Dance Music.
Born on the Isle of Man to English parents, the Gibb brothers lived in Chorlton, Manchester, England, until the late 1950s. There, in 1955, they formed the skiffle/rock and roll group the Rattlesnakes. The family then moved to Redcliffe, in the Moreton Bay Region, Queensland, Australia, later to Cribb Island. After achieving their first chart success in Australia as the Bee Gees with "Spicks and Specks" (their twelfth single), they returned to the UK in January 1967, when producer Robert Stigwood began promoting them to a worldwide audience. The Bee Gees' Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (1977) was the turning point of their career, with both the film and soundtrack having a cultural impact throughout the world, enhancing the disco scene's mainstream appeal. They won five Grammy Awards for Saturday Night Fever, including Album of the Year.
The Bee Gees have sold over 120 million records worldwide (with estimates as high as over 225 million records sold worldwide), making them among the best-selling music artists of all time. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997; the Hall's citation says, "Only Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees." With nine number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, the Bee Gees are the third-most successful band in Billboard charts history behind only the Beatles and the Supremes.
Following Maurice's sudden death in January 2003 at the age of 53, Barry and Robin retired the group's name after 45 years of activity. In 2009, Robin announced that he and Barry had agreed that the Bee Gees would re-form and perform again. Robin died in May 2012, aged 62, after a prolonged period of failing health, leaving Barry as the only original surviving member of the group.