Robin Gibb

How Old Are You?

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How Old Are You? is an extraordinary pop record from vocalist Robin Gibb, although none of these ten excellent tunes penned with twin brother Maurice joined his other two Top 40 hits on the charts. Heavy synthesizers embrace Gibb's distinctive vocals and embellish the sensational "Juliet," which launches side one, as well as the very serious "Another Lonely Night in New York," which opens side two. In between are gems like "Danger," an elegant techno journey. This is the type of song which FM underground radio could have played in the early '80s, a dark sound with hooks galore, and a joy to listen to. But why put Robin Gibb alongside Joan Jett, Genya Ravan, and Ian Hunter on the FM while the Bee Gees were so overexposed on Top 40? This is such a radio-friendly record by a proven artist that it only goes to show that a frosty march like "He Can't Love You" has no place on the public airwaves if the artist isn't hip enough, and what a statement that is; of course if Jett had performed this in her heyday, it would have gained some chart action. A poster photo of Clark Gable and Ava Gardner is separated from the box office by a solitary Robin Gibb on the front cover, while the singer sits in an empty movie house on the back, accompanied only by a young couple kissing (with Robin being a voyeur). "Kathy's Gone" has film references and all the elements of a hit single. Every track shows the precision and professionalism the record-buying public encounters with each Bee Gees release. This is as much Maurice Gibb's album as Robin's, with co-production, co-songwriting, bass and acoustic guitar, backing vocals, and synthesizers provided by Robin's twin. "I Believe in Miracles" could have been a big hit for Dolly Parton or Linda Ronstadt, and why no '80s adult contemporary artists jumped on this treasure chest of songs in America is a mystery. "Juliet" received substantial airplay in other parts of the world, reaching number one in Germany.

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