Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack)

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Saturday Night Fever
TheBeeGeesSaturdayNightFeveralbumcover.jpg
Soundtrack album by
Bee Gees and various artists
ReleasedNovember 15, 1977 (1977-11-15)
Recorded1975–1977
Genre Disco
Length75:54
Label RSO
Producer Bill Oakes (music supervisor)
Bee Gees chronology
Here at Last... Bee Gees... Live
(1977)
Saturday Night Fever
(1977)
Spirits Having Flown
(1979)
Singles from Saturday Night Fever
  1. "How Deep Is Your Love"
    Released: September 1977
  2. "More Than a Woman"
    Released: November 1977
  3. "Stayin' Alive"
    Released: December 13, 1977
  4. "If I Can't Have You"
    Released: January 6, 1978
  5. "Boogie Shoes"
    Released: January 19, 1978
  6. "Night Fever"
    Released: February 7, 1978

Saturday Night Fever is the soundtrack album from the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta. The soundtrack was released on November 15, 1977. It is one of the best-selling albums in history, and remains the second-biggest-selling soundtrack of all time, after The Bodyguard, selling over 40 million copies worldwide (with estimates as high as over 50 million) (double-disc album). [1]

Contents

In the United States, the album was certified 16× Platinum for shipments of at least 16 million units. [2] The album stayed atop the charts for 24 straight weeks from January to July 1978 and stayed on Billboard 's album charts for 120 weeks until March 1980. In the UK, the album spent 18 consecutive weeks at No. 1. The album epitomized the disco phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic and was an international sensation. [3] The album has been added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being culturally significant. [4]

Writing and recording

According to the DVD commentary for Saturday Night Fever, the producers intended to use the song "Lowdown" by Boz Scaggs in the rehearsal scene between Tony and Stephanie in the dance studio, and choreographed their dance moves to the song. However, representatives for Scaggs's label, Columbia Records, refused to grant legal clearance for it, as they wanted to pursue another disco movie project, which never materialized. Composer David Shire, who scored the film, had to, in turn, write a song to match the dance steps demonstrated in the scene and eliminate the need for future legal hassles. However, this track does not appear on the movie's soundtrack.

The Bee Gees's involvement in the film did not begin until post-production. As John Travolta asserted, "The Bee Gees weren't even involved in the movie in the beginning ... I was dancing to Stevie Wonder and Boz Scaggs." [5]

Producer Robert Stigwood commissioned the Bee Gees to create the songs for the film. [6] As Robin Gibb asserted:

We were recording our new album in the north of France. And we'd written about and recorded about four or five songs for the new album when Stigwood rang from LA and said, 'We're putting together this little film, low budget, called Tribal Rites of a Saturday Night. Would you have any songs on hand?', and we said, 'Look, we can't, we haven't any time to sit down and write for a film'. We didn't know what it was about. [7]

Robin Gibb

The brothers wrote the songs "virtually in a single weekend" at Château d'Hérouville studio in France. [5] The first song they recorded was "If I Can't Have You", but their version was not used in the film.

Barry Gibb remembered the reaction when Stigwood and music supervisor Bill Oakes arrived and listened to the demos:

They flipped out and said these will be great. We still had no concept of the movie, except some kind of rough script that they'd brought with them ... [5]

Maurice Gibb recalled, "We played him demo tracks of 'If I Can't Have You', 'Night Fever' and 'More Than a Woman'. He asked if we could write it more discoey." [7]

The Brothers Gibb then wrote a song called "Saturday Night" but as Maurice explains,

There were so many songs called 'Saturday Night' even one by the Bay City Rollers, so when we rewrote it for the movie, we called it 'Stayin' Alive'. [7]

Recording "Stayin' Alive" was not simple.[ vague ] Engineer Karl Richardson copied a few seconds of drumming from "Night Fever", cut out the piece of tape and glued the ends together, then fed it back into a recorder by a makeshift arrangement to create a new drum track. Drummer Dennis Bryon was unable to attend the recording of "Stayin' Alive", having had to fly back to the UK to deal with a family member's health issue. [8]

Release

The original issue of the album included the original studio version of "Jive Talkin'"; later LP pressings included a version culled from Here at Last ... Bee Gees ... Live . All CD releases have included the original "Jive Talkin'". "Jive Talkin'" was to have been used in a deleted scene taking place the day after Tony Manero's first Saturday night at the disco, but as the sequence was cut for the final film, the song was cut as well. In addition to the Bee Gees songs, additional incidental music was composed and adapted by David Shire. Three of Shire's cues – "Manhattan Skyline", "Night on Disco Mountain" (based on the classical piece "Night on Bald Mountain") and "Salsation" – are included on the soundtrack album as well. Five additional cues – "Tony and Stephanie", "Near the Verrazano Bridge" (both adapted from the Bee Gees' song "How Deep Is Your Love"), "Barracuda Hangout", "Death on the Bridge" and "All Night Train" – while heard in the film, remain unreleased on CD. In 1994, the soundtrack was re-released on CD through Polydor Records. In 2006, the album was re-released on Reprise Records as part of the Bee Gees' regaining control of their master tapes.

To commemorate the movie's 40th anniversary, Capitol Records released a newly remastered version on April 21, 2017, with the original artwork and gatefold packaging.

On 17 November 2017, a deluxe box set was released with the original soundtrack, 4 new mixes of "Stayin' Alive", "Night Fever", "How Deep Is Your Love" and "You Should Be Dancing", a collector's book, art prints, a movie poster and a turntable mat.

Reception and legacy

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [9]
Christgau's Record Guide B+ [10]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [11]
The Great Rock Discography 8/10 [12]
Pitchfork 8.7/10 [13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [14]

Along with the success of the movie, the soundtrack, composed and performed primarily by the Bee Gees, is the second best-selling soundtrack album of all time. Saturday Night Fever had a large cultural impact in the United States. The Bee Gees had originally written and recorded five of the songs used in the film – "Stayin' Alive", "Night Fever", "How Deep Is Your Love", "More Than a Woman" (performed in the film in two different versions – one version by Tavares, and another by the Bee Gees) and "If I Can't Have You" (performed in the movie by Yvonne Elliman) as part of a regular album. They had no idea at the time they would be making a soundtrack and said that they basically lost an album in the process.[ citation needed ] Two previously released Bee Gees songs – "Jive Talkin'" and "You Should Be Dancing" – are also included on the soundtrack. Other previously released songs from the disco era round out the music in the movie.

The soundtrack won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. [15] It is the only disco album to do so, and one of only three soundtrack albums so honored. In 2012, the album was ranked No. 132 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time", ranked again in a 2020 revised list at number 163. [16] The soundtrack hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart's Pop Album and Soul Album charts. In 2003 the TV network VH1 named it the 57th greatest album of all time, and it was ranked 80th in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time.[ citation needed ] Pitchfork Media listed Saturday Night Fever as the 34th best album of the 1970s.

The album was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress on March 21, 2013 for preservation. [17]

Track listing

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Stayin' Alive" (performed by Bee Gees)
  • Barry Gibb
  • Robin Gibb
  • Maurice Gibb
4:45
2."How Deep Is Your Love" (performed by Bee Gees)
  • B. Gibb
  • R. Gibb
  • M. Gibb
  • B. Weaver (uncredited)
  • Bee Gees
  • Galuten
  • Richardson
4:05
3."Night Fever" (performed by Bee Gees)
  • B. Gibb
  • R. Gibb
  • M. Gibb
  • Bee Gees
  • Galuten
  • Richardson
3:32
4."More Than a Woman" (performed by Bee Gees)
  • B. Gibb
  • R. Gibb
  • M. Gibb
  • Bee Gees
  • Galuten
  • Richardson
3:18
5."If I Can't Have You" (performed by Yvonne Elliman)
  • B. Gibb
  • R. Gibb
  • M. Gibb
Freddie Perren 3:00
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."A Fifth of Beethoven" (performed by Walter Murphy)
Thomas J. Valentino3:03
2."More Than a Woman" (performed by Tavares)
  • B. Gibb
  • R. Gibb
  • M. Gibb
Perren3:17
3."Manhattan Skyline" (performed by David Shire)Shire
  • Shire
  • Bill Oakes
4:45
4."Calypso Breakdown" (performed by Ralph MacDonald)William Eaton
  • MacDonald
  • William Salter
7:51
Side three
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Night on Disco Mountain" (performed by David Shire)
  • Shire
  • Oakes
5:13
2."Open Sesame" (performed by Kool & the Gang) Robert Bell Kool & the Gang3:59
3."Jive Talkin' " (performed by Bee Gees)
  • B. Gibb
  • R. Gibb
  • M. Gibb
Arif Mardin 3:44
4."You Should Be Dancing" (performed by Bee Gees)
  • B. Gibb
  • R. Gibb
  • M. Gibb
  • Bee Gees
  • Galuten
  • Richardson
4:14
5."Boogie Shoes" (performed by KC and the Sunshine Band)
  • Casey
  • Finch
2:17
Side four
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Salsation" (performed by David Shire)Shire
  • Shire
  • Oakes
3:51
2."K-Jee" (performed by MFSB)
4:13
3."Disco Inferno" (performed by The Trammps)
Kersey10:51
Total length:1:15:54

Notes

Additional songs recorded for the film but not used

Personnel

Awards

Grammy Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1978 "How Deep Is Your Love" Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group [18] Won
1979 Saturday Night Fever Album of the Year [19] Won
Saturday Night Fever Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group [19] Won
"Stayin' Alive" Best Arrangement of Voices [19] Won
Barry Gibb, Albhy Galuten, Karl Richardson (producers) Producer of the Year [19] Won
2004Saturday Night FeverHall of Fame AwardWon

American Music Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1979Saturday Night FeverFavorite Soul/R&B albumWon

Charts

Decade-end charts

Chart (1970–79)Position
Japanese Albums Chart [25] 9
UK Albums Chart [38] 5

Certifications and sales

RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA) [42] 11× Platinum830,000 [43]
Austria70,000 [44]
Belgium200,000 [45]
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil) [46] Gold150,000 [46]
Canada (Music Canada) [47] Diamond1,300,000 [48]
Colombia15,000 [49]
Finland30,000 [45]
France (SNEP) [50] Gold100,000*
Germany (BVMI) [51] 3× Platinum1,500,000^
Greece50,000 [52]
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong) [53] Platinum70,000 [54]
India250,000 [55]
Italy1,000,000 [56]
Italy (FIMI) [57]
sales since 2009
Gold25,000*
Japan (Oricon Charts)693,000 [25]
Malaysia20,000 [58]
Mexico700,000 [59]
Netherlands (NVPI) [60] Platinum600,000 [61]
New Zealand250,000 [62]
Norway180,000 [63]
Sweden150,000 [64]
United Kingdom (BPI) [65] 7× Platinum2,200,000 [66]
United States (RIAA) [67] 16× Platinum16,000,000Double-dagger-14-plain.png

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Double-dagger-14-plain.png Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Saturday Night Fever</i> 1977 American dance drama film

Saturday Night Fever is a 1977 American dance drama film directed by John Badham and produced by Robert Stigwood. It stars John Travolta as Tony Manero, a young Italian-American man from Brooklyn who spends his weekends dancing and drinking at a local discothèque while dealing with social tensions and general restlessness and disillusionment with his life, and feeling directionless and trapped in his working-class neighborhood. The story is based upon "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night", an article by music writer Nik Cohn, first published in a June 1976 issue of New York magazine. The film features music by Bee Gees and many other prominent artists of the disco era.

Bee Gees Music group formed in 1958

The Bee Gees were a music group formed in 1958, featuring brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. The trio were especially successful as a popular music act in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and later as prominent performers of 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 Bee Gees wrote all of their own hits, 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.

Robert Stigwood Australian-born British music entrepreneur, film producer, and impresario

Robert Colin Stigwood was an Australian-born British-resident music entrepreneur, film producer and impresario, best known for managing Cream and the Bee Gees, theatrical productions like Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, and film productions including the successful Grease and Saturday Night Fever. On his death, one obituary judged that he had been for a time the most powerful tycoon in the entertainment industry: "Stigwood owned the record label that issued his artists’ albums and film soundtracks, and he also controlled publishing rights – not since Hollywood's golden days had so much power and wealth been concentrated in the hands of one mogul."

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Night Fever 1978 single by the Bee Gees

"Night Fever" is a song written and performed by the Bee Gees. It first appeared on the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever on RSO Records. Producer Robert Stigwood wanted to call the film Saturday Night, but singer Robin Gibb expressed hesitation at the title. Stigwood liked the title Night Fever but was wary of marketing a movie with that name. The song bounded up the Billboard charts while the Bee Gees’ two previous hits from Saturday Night Fever soundtrack were still in the top ten. The record debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart at #76, then leaped up 44 positions to #32. It then moved: 32–17–8–5–2–1. It remained at #1 for eight weeks, and ultimately spent 13 weeks in the top 10. For the first five weeks that "Night Fever" was at #1, "Stayin' Alive" was at #2. Also, for one week in March, Bee Gees related songs held five of the top positions on the Hot 100 chart, and more impressively, four of the top five positions, with "Night Fever" at the top of the list. The B-side of "Night Fever" was a live version of "Down the Road" taken from the Bee Gees 1977 album, Here at Last... Bee Gees... Live.

Stayin Alive 1977 single by the Bee Gees

"Stayin' Alive" is a song written and performed by the Bee Gees from the Saturday Night Fever motion picture soundtrack. The song was released in 1977 as the second single from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The band co-produced the song with Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson. It is one of the Bee Gees' signature songs. In 2004, "Stayin' Alive" was placed at No. 189 on the list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The 2021 updated Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Songs placed "Stayin' Alive" at No. 99. In 2004, it ranked No. 9 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. In a UK television poll on ITV in December 2011 it was voted fifth in "The Nation's Favourite Bee Gees Song".

Jive Talkin

"Jive Talkin'" is a song by the Bee Gees, released as a single in May 1975 by RSO Records. This was the lead single from the album Main Course and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100; it also reached the top-five on the UK Singles Chart in the middle of 1975. Largely recognised as the group's "comeback" song, it was their first US top-10 hit since "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (1971).

Too Much Heaven 1978 single by Bee Gees

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Spirits Having Flown is the fifteenth album released by the Bee Gees. It was the group's first album after their collaboration on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The album's first three tracks were released as singles and all reached No. 1 in the US, giving the Bee Gees an unbroken run of six US chart-toppers in a one-year period and equaling a feat shared by Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, and the Beatles. It was the first Bee Gees album to make the UK top 40 in ten years, as well as being their first and only UK No. 1 album. Spirits Having Flown also topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, and the US. And went on to sell over 30 million copies worldwide.

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"If I Can't Have You" is a disco song written by the Bee Gees in 1977. The song initially appeared on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in a version by Yvonne Elliman, released in November 1977. The Bee Gees' own version appeared a month later as the B-side of "Stayin' Alive".

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