Robin co-produced Jimmy Ruffin’s Sunrise released in May 1980, but the songs were started in 1979; the album contains songs written by the Gibb brothers.
In March 1980, Barry Gibb worked with Barbra Streisand on her album Guilty. He co-produced, and wrote or co-wrote all nine of the album’s tracks (four of them written with Robin, and the title track with both Robin and Maurice). Barry also appeared on the album’s cover with Streisand and duetted with her on two tracks
The album reached No. 1 in both the US and the UK, as did the single “Woman in Love” (written by Barry and Robin), becoming Streisand’s most successful single and album to date. Both of the Streisand/Gibb duets, “Guilty” and “What Kind of Fool”, also reached the US Top 10.
Also, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers recorded the Bee Gees-penned track “Islands in the Stream”, which became a US and Australian No. 1 hit and entered the Top 10 in the UK. Rogers’ 1983 album, Eyes That See in the Dark, was written entirely by the Bee Gees and co-produced by Barry. The album was a Top 10 hit in the US and was certified Double Platinum.
August 1983, Barry signed a solo deal with MCA Records and spent much of late 1983 and 1984 writing songs for this first solo effort, Now Voyager. Robin released three solo albums in the 1980s, How Old Are You?, Secret Agent and Walls Have Eyes. Maurice released his second single to date, “Hold Her in Your Hand”, the first one having been released in 1970.
In 1985, Diana Ross released the album Eaten Alive, written by the Bee Gees, with the title track co-written with Michael Jackson (who also performed on the track). The album was again co-produced by Barry Gibb, and the single “Chain Reaction” gave Ross a UK and Australian No. 1 hit.
On 10 March 1988, younger brother Andy Gibb died, aged 30, as a result of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle due to a recent viral infection. The Bee Gees later got together with Eric Clapton to create a group called ‘the Bunburys’ to raise money for English charities. The group recorded three songs for The Bunbury Tails: “We’re the Bunburys”, “Bunbury Afternoon”, and “Fight (No Matter How Long)”. The last song reached No. 8 on the rock music chart and appeared on The 1988 Summer Olympics Album. The Bee Gees’ next album, One (1989), featured a song dedicated to Andy, “Wish You Were Here”. The album also contained their first US Top 10 hit (No. 7) in a decade, “One” (an Adult Contemporary No. 1). After the album’s release, the band embarked on its first world tour in 10 years.
In the UK, Polydor issued a single-disc hits collection from Tales called The Very Best of the Bee Gees, which contained their biggest UK hits. The album became one of their best-selling albums in that country, and was eventually certified Triple Platinum.
Following their next album, High Civilization (1991), which contained the UK top five hit “Secret Love”, the Bee Gees went on a European tour. After the tour, Barry Gibb began to battle a serious back problem, which required surgery. In addition, he suffered from arthritis which, at one point, was so severe that it was doubtful that he would be able to play guitar for much longer. Also, in the early 1990s, Maurice Gibb finally sought treatment for his alcoholism, which he had battled for many years with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous.
In 1993, the group returned to the Polydor label and released the album Size Isn’t Everything, which contained the UK top five hit “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. Success still eluded them in the US, however, as the first single released, “Paying the Price of Love”, only managed to reach No. 74 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the parent album stalled at No. 153.
In 1997, they released the album Still Waters, which sold over four million copies and reached No. 2 in the UK (their highest album chart position there since 1979) and No. 11 in the US. The album’s first single, “Alone”, gave them another UK Top 5 hit and a top 30 hit in the US. Still Waters would be the band’s most successful US release of their post-RSO era.
At the 1997 BRIT Awards held in Earls Court, London on 24 February, the Bee Gees received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. On 14 November 1997, the Bee Gees performed a live concert in Las Vegas called One Night Only. The show included a performance of “Our Love (Don’t Throw It All Away)” synchronised with a vocal by their deceased brother Andy and a cameo appearance by Celine Dion singing “Immortality”. The CD of the performance sold over 5 million copies. The “One Night Only” name grew out of the band’s declaration that, due to Barry’s health issues, the Las Vegas show was to be the final live performance of their career. After the immensely positive audience response to the Vegas concert, Barry decided to continue despite the pain, and the concert expanded into their last full-blown world tour of “One Night Only” concerts.The tour included playing to 56,000 people at London’s Wembley Stadium on 5 September 1998 and concluded in the newly built Olympic Stadium in Sydney, Australia on 27 March 1999 to 72,000 people.
The Bee Gees closed the century with what turned out to be their last full-sized concert, known as BG2K, on 31 December 1999.