Saturday, January 21, 1978

The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack hit #1 for the first of 24 weeks

Saturday Night Fever

Various Artists

Released: November 15, 1977

Peak: 124 US, 15 RB, 118 UK, 122 CN, 114 AU, 16 DF

Sales (in millions): 15.0 US, 2.15 UK, 40.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: disco


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

  1. Stayin’ Alive (BEE GEES) (12/10/77, 1 BB, 1 CB, 1 HR, 1 RR, 28 AC, 4 RB, 4 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, 1 DF)
  2. How Deep Is Your Love (BEE GEES) (9/24/77, 1 BB, 1 CB, 2 HR, 1 RR, 1 AC, 3 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU, 5 DF)
  3. Night Fever (BEE GEES) (2/4/78, 1 BB, 1 CB, 1 HR, 1 RR, 19 AC, 8 RB, 1 UK, 1 CN, 7 AU, 6 DF)
  4. More Than a Woman (BEE GEES) (4/8/78, 21 RR, 39 AC, 29 CN, 31 AU, 18 DF)
  5. If I Can’t Have You (YVONNE ELLIMAN) (1/8/78, 1 BB, 1 CB, 1 GR, 2 HR, 4 UK, 9 AC, 60 RB, 4 UK, 1 CN, 13 DF)
  6. A Fifth of Beethoven (WALTER MURPHY) (5/29/76, 1 BB, 1 CB, 5 GR, 1 HR, 5 RR, 13 AC, 10 RB, 28 UK, 1 CN)
  7. More Than a Woman (TAVARES) (11/12/77, 32 BB, 39 CB, 39 GR, 43 HR, 36 RB, 7 UK, 23 DF)
  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 BB, 6 RB)
  12. Jive Talkin’ (BEE GEES) (5/24/75, 1 BB, 1 CB, 1 GR, 1 HR, 9 AC, 5 UK, 1 CN, 14 AU, 7 DF)
  13. You Should Be Dancing (BEE GEES) (7/2/76, 1 BB, 3 GR, 4 HR, 2 RR, 25 AC, 4 RB, 5 UK, 1 CN, 2 AU, 9 DF)
  14. Boogie Shoes (KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND) (7/10/76, 35 BB, 33 CB, 34 GR, 41 HR, 29 RB, 34 UK, 10 DF)
  15. Salsation (DAVID SHIRE)
  16. K-Jee (MFSB)
  17. Disco Inferno (THE TRAMMPS) (3/5/77, 11 BB, 8 CB, 13 GR, 13 HR, 6 RR, 9 RB, 16 UK, 2 DF)

Total Running Time: 75:54


4.501 out of 5.00 (average of 25 ratings)


The definitive disco album.” – Entertainment Weekly


(Click on award to learn more).

The Definitive Disco Album

“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…Saturday Night Fever…was precisely that kind of musical phenomenon for the second half of the '70s.” AM It is “the definitive disco album.” EW’12

The Importance of Disco

Author Chris Smith asks, “Was disco really all that important?” CS He says, “Compared with the blues, folk jazz, punk, soul, and even classical genres that have informed popular tastes over the past century…the influence of disco has largely fallen by the wayside…And yet, how many of us instantly recognize the opening riff to ‘Stayin’ Alive,’…even absentmindedly sing those initial lyrics in our best Bee Gee voice…and for those of us old enough to to remember, transport ourselves for an instant to a very specific period of the late 1970s when bell bottoms and giant collars were the height of fashion?” CS

“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 disco boom had seemingly run its course, primarily in Europe, and was confined mostly to Black culture and the gay underground in America.” AM

The Movie

The movie was “a gritty commentary on urban escapism and class struggle” VH1 based on a Variety Fair article entitled “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 movie turned actor John Travolta into a superstar. “The combination of Travolta and the Bee Gees made the movie one of the biggest blockbusters up to that point, grossing more than fifteen times the expected $20 million at the box office.” CS

The Bee Gees: The Disco Group

The music had a “devil-may-care bravado and hip-grinding groove” VH1 spurred by the Bee Gees’ “saccharine vocal harmonies and irresistibly catchy melodies.” VH1 They had “been exploring disco and funk rhythms on two albums before this one.” TM 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 AM for his film.

The Soundtrack

“There had always been musicals whose soundtracks scored high on the charts, but the songs were written specifically for the film and carried elements of the movie’s plot…In the 1970s, music graduated beyond soundtrack material to become the basis for the stories themselves.” CS Saturday Night Feverwas one of those “feature films that used music as a central element in the plot.” CS

The soundtrack “made disco explode into mainstream…with new immediacy and urgency.” AM It 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,” AM but the biggest-selling soundtrack of all time. VH1

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

“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 The song has become iconic; Dave’s Music Database ranks it as one of the top 100 songs of all time.

“How Deep Is Your Love”

While disco is more associated with upbeat numbers, “the Bee Gees’ new songs were weighted equally toward ethereal ballads” AM like the “shining pop ballad How Deep Is Your Love.” TM The “soaring, lyrical romantic numbers” AM became a big part of the soundtrack’s appeal.

“Night Fever”

While “How Deep Is Your Love” was the lead single and “Stayin’ Alive” became the best-known song from the soundtrack, it was “Night Fever” which became the biggest hit at the time. It logged a whopping eight weeks at #1, compared to three weeks for “How Deep Is Your Love” and four weeks for “Stayin’ Alive.”

“If I Can’t Have You”

Interestingly, while the Bee Gees comprised only a third of the soundtrack, this “is virtually indispensable as a Bee Gees album” AM 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).

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First posted 3/23/2008; last updated 7/23/2024.

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