Saturday, January 21, 1978

The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack hits #1 for the first of 24 weeks: January 21, 1978

Originally posted January 21, 2013. Last updated September 1, 2018.

Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack)

Various artists (Bee Gees et al)

Released: Nov. 15, 1977


Sales (in millions):
US: 15.0
UK: 2.15
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 40.0


Peak:
US: 1 24
UK: 118
Canada: 122
Australia: 114

Quotable: --


Genre: pop/disco


Album Tracks/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

  1. Stayin’ Alive (BEE GEES) (12/10/77, #1 US, #4 UK, #4 RB, #28 AC, platinum single)
  2. How Deep Is Your Love (BEE GEES) (9/24/77, #1 US, #3 UK, #1 AC, gold single)
  3. Night Fever (BEE GEES) (2/4/78, #1 US, #1 UK, #8 RB, #19 AC, platinum single)
  4. More Than a Woman (BEE GEES) (4/8/78, #39 AC)
  5. If I Can’t Have You (YVONNE ELLIMAN) (1/8/78, #1 US, #4 UK, #9 AC, gold single)
  6. A Fifth of Beethoven (WALTER MURPHY) (5/29/76, #1 US, #28 UK, #10 RB, #13 AC, gold single)
  7. More Than a Woman (TAVARES) (11/12/77, #32 US, #7 UK, #36 RB)
  8. Manhattan Skyline (DAVID SHIRE)
  9. Calypso Breakdown (RALPH MacDONALD)
  10. Night on Disco Mountain (DAVID SHIRE)
  11. Open Sesame (KOOL & THE GANG) (10/30/76, #55 US, #6 RB)
  12. Jive Talkin’ (BEE GEES) (5/31/75, #1 US, #5 UK, #9 AC, gold single)
  13. You Should Be Dancing (BEE GEES) (7/5/76, #1 US, #5 UK, #4 RB, #25 AC, gold single)
  14. Boogie Shoes (KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND) (7/10/76, #35 US, #29 RB)
  15. Salsation (DAVID SHIRE)
  16. K-Jee (MFSB)
  17. Disco Inferno (THE TRAMMPS) (3/5/77, #11 US, #16 UK, #9 RB)

Review:

“Grab your white leisure suit, get out that disco ball and boogie down to the disc that launched the craze.” ZS “Every so often, a piece of music comes along that defines a moment in popular culture history;” AMG Saturday Night Fever epitomized the latter half of the 1970s. “Midnight dancers were already tripping the strobe lights fantastic before the Bee Gees’ pulsating soundtrack turned disco into the fad of the moment.” VB The Bee Gees themselves had “been exploring disco and funk rhythms on two albums before this one.” TM However, “the disco boom had seemingly run its course, primarily in Europe, and was confined mostly to Black culture and the gay underground in America.” AMG “The soundtrack “made disco explode into mainstream…with new immediacy and urgency.” AMG

The movie was “a gritty commentary on urban escapism and class struggle” VH1 based on a Variety Fair article entitiled “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night.” VH1 Point of interest: it emerged nearly two decades later that the writer, Nik Cohn, invented most of the details in the article. TB

The music had a “devil-may-care bravado and hip-grinding groove” VH1 spurred by the Bee Gees’ “saccharine vocal harmonies and irrestibly catchy melodies.” VH1 The group had already written five songs for the intended follow-up to Children of the World. However, their manager, Robert Stigwood, thought the new material would be perfect AMG for his film.

The soundtrack sported a mix of old and new; six songs had been hits on the Hot 100 over the previous two years, including three #1 gold singles. However, the new material, led by three #1 Bee Gees’ singles (two platinum, one gold), propelled this to be not just “an idealized commercial-free radio set of late-‘70s dance music,” AMG but the biggest-selling soundtrack of all time. VH1

Stayin’ Alive

The movie and soundtrack open with the iconic Stayin’ Alive. “The track showcases the falsetto voices that subsequently became the group’s trademark style and which were used on this album for the first time.” TB While disco is more associated with upbeat numbers, “the Bee Gees’ new songs were weighted equally toward ethereal ballads” AMG like the “shining pop ballad How Deep Is Your Love.” TM The “soaring, lyrical romantic numbers” AMG became a big part of the soundtrack’s appeal.

How Deep Is Your Love

Interestingly, while the Bee Gees comprised only a third of the soundtrack, this “is virtually indispensable as a Bee Gees album” AMG because it presented the Gibb brothers not just as performers but composers with cuts recorded by Yvonne Elliman (If I Can’t Have You), and Tavares (More Than a Woman).

If I Can’t Have You

It should be noted that while disco was cast in a negative light in the wake of its Saturday Night Fever-fueled explosion, this album still holds up. The Bee Gees “wrote a set of themes…sturdy enough to endure beyond the moment of hotness.” TM “Heard now, removed from the frenzy, Saturday Night Fever remains striking for the deft shimmer of Arif Mardin's production, and the sharp, hook-atop-hook songwriting of the Bee Gees.” TM

Night Fever


Review Source(s):
  • AMG All Music Guide review by Bruce Eder
  • TM Tom Moon (2008). 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. Workman Publishing Company, Inc.: New York, NY.
  • TB Thunder Bay (2005). Albums: The Stories Behind 50 Years of Great Recordings. Thunder Bay Press; San Diego, CA. Page 191.
  • VH1 VH1. (2003). 100 Greatest Albums. Edited by Jacob Hoye. Pocket Books: New York, NY. Page 57.
  • VB Vibe 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century, pp. 154-1964. (Dec. 1999)
  • ZS Zagat Survey (2003). Music Guide: 1,000 Top Albums of All Time. Coordinator: Pat Blashill. Music Editor: Holly George-Warren. Editors: Betsy Andrews and Randi Gollin. Zagat Survey, LLC: New York, NY. Page 47.

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


Friday, January 20, 1978

Journey’s Infinity released

First posted 10/12/2008; updated 9/11/2020.

Infinity

Journey


Released: January 20, 1978


Peak: 21 US, -- UK, 22 CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, -- UK, 4.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Lights (8/19/78, 68 US, 30 AC, 74 CN, air: 1 million)
  2. Feeling That Way
  3. Anytime (7/1/78, 83 US)
  4. La Do Da
  5. Patiently
  6. Wheel in the Sky (4/8/78, 57 US, 45 CN)
  7. Somethin’ to Hide
  8. Winds of March
  9. Can Do
  10. Opened the Door


Total Running Time: 36:28


The Players:

  • Steve Perry (vocals)
  • Neal Schon (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Gregg Rolie (keyboards, co-lead vocals on “Feeling That Way” and “Anytime”)
  • Ross Valory (bass, backing vocals)
  • Aynsley Dunbar (drums)

Rating:

3.807 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)

About the Album:

“By 1977 Journey had reached a creative crossroads, with three underwhelming studio albums under their belt and little to show in the way of commercial success. At the prodding of manager Herbie Herbert, who felt a major shakeup was needed in order to reignite their spark, the band was convinced to audition and eventually recruit the services of former Alien Project vocalist Steve Perry.” FR He “was not a unanimous choice as Journey’s new singer.” CRM “Journey briefly enlisted front man Robert Fleischman and even recorded one track, ‘For You’, which would later appear on the Time 3 collection.” JM “But when Perry presented the bluesy Lights to the band, everyone sensed the possibilities.” CRM

“Sure enough, adding him to the band just prior to the sessions for Infinity proved to be a stroke of genius, and a move that undeniably altered the course of history for the fledging Bay Area act. Released in January of 1978, Infinity easily proved to be the band’s most cohesive work to date. Dead and buried were the jazz fusion overtones of previous offerings, and with the new songwriting combo of Perry/ Neal Schon leading the march, the band set out to completely redefine their sound. Traditional pop arrangements were now adopted, cutting out the unnecessary musical fat, and allowing each bandmember to play to his strength: Perry’s soaring, whale of a voice, Schon’s scorching fret work, and Gregg Rolie’s subtle keyboard arrangements.” FR

“Enlisting eccentric producer Roy Thomas Baker (already famous for guiding the likes of Queen and Nazareth to giant commercial triumphs of their own) also proved to be a rewarding move for the boys.” FR Baker “produced a layered sound approach, similar to his work with Queen, as demonstrated on tracks such as Winds of March.” JM “The re-focused Journey delivered their first set of accessible mainstream rock songs.” CRM

“Tellingly, ‘Lights’ was chosen as Infinity’s opening track – an introduction to the new Journey – and it remains one of the band’s best-loved songs, as does this album’s Wheel in the Sky,” CRM which was actually “written by temporary front man Fleischman.” JM “Even non-singles like Patiently (the first tune Perry ever wrote with Schon) and Somethin’ to Hide were leaps and bounds beyond the band’s previous accomplishments.” FR

“And, ultimately, though Infinity merely introduced the band to mainstream radio (it was the never-ending tour on which the band embarked on to support it that drove the disc past the platinum plateau), it effectively cemented their rep as one of America’s most beloved (and sometimes hated) commercial rock/pop bands. With over 170 shows under their belts, Journey had just begun to hit their stride.” FR

Resources and Related Links: