fter watching his brothers' success from the sidelines, 19-year-old Andy Gibb firmly established his own career with his second consecutive number one single, "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water." Initially planned by manager Robert Stigwood to be Andy's debut single, it was only a last minute change of mind that saw "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" released first. Years later, the youngest Gibb revealed that if "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water" had been released first, it wouldn't have been a hit.
Bee Gees' co-producers Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson were slated to produce Andy's LP, and Barry offered to serve as executive producer. Andy, who happily accepted his brother's offer, later told Dick Clark, "It was very easy for me because I had the finest producer to take care of me, to make sure everything went smoothly. So it was a very rewarding experience."
Helping enrich the experience was a guest star who performed anonymously on Flowing Rivers. While Gibb was recording the album, Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh was working in an adjoining studio. At Galuten and Richardson's invitation, Walsh dropped by to play guitar on "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water."
The Bee Gees had always been very conscious of record sales and chart activity, with Robin considered to be the "chart freak" of the family. Andy, who had been trained to monitor charts and sales as avidly, watched "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water" progress up the Billboard Hot 100. "It slowed down... we were all a little scared. There's lots of points where all the record people at RSO said they were a little worried that it was stopping. It didn't lose its bullet, but it really heavily lost its jump in sales activity. And then, for an equally strange reason, it just picked up and nothing stopped it. So it was not predictable... but it's still a commercial song... We believed in it... I think the momentum of the first record obviously helped the second a little, but it was, again, a different record."
It is impossible to discuss Andy Gibb's career without noting the influence and impact of his brothers. In the Bee Gees authorized biography, Andy is quoted, "They have been the biggest influence and my biggest help. There's a magic when we work together. Imagine having the greatest singers and songwriters living under one roof... your roof. Their harmonies, their ballads, all influenced me greatly. I guess you could say I idolized the Bee Gees as a band and loved them as brothers."
With "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water," Andy surpassed his brothers' initial chart achievements by having his first two chart singles reach number one. Impressive, yes, but Gibb wasn't through yet. In June of the same year, Andy hit the top of the charts for the third consecutive time, with "Shadow Dancing," then charted six more Top 40 singles through April 1981.
- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.
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