Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time - Rated 132/500!
Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta, was the 1977 film that rekindled the disco movement overnight with such Bee Gees tunes as "Stayin' Alive", "More Than A Woman" and "How Deep Is Your Love". The album has been added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress.
No popular music act of the '60s, '70s, '80s, or '90s attracted a more varied audience than the Bee Gees. Beginning in the mid- to late '60s as a Beatlesque ensemble, they quickly developed as songwriters and singers to create a style of their own that carried them from psychedelia to progressive pop. Then, after hitting a popular trough, they reinvented themselves as perhaps the most successful white soul act of all time. What remained a constant throughout their history is their extraordinary singing, rooted in three voices that were appealing individually and melded together perfectly.
The Bee Gees were a pop music group that was founded in 1958. The group's line-up consisted of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The trio were successful for most of their decades of recording music, but they had two distinct periods of exceptional success: as a rock act in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and as prominent performers of the disco music era in the late 1970s. The group sang recognizable 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 late 1970s and 1980s. They wrote all of their own hits, as well as writing and producing several major hits for other artists.
"Every so often, a piece of music comes along that defines a moment in popular culture history: Johann Strauss' operetta Die Fledermaus did this in Vienna in the 1870s; Jerome Kern's Show Boat did it for Broadway musicals of the 1920s; and the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album served this purpose for the era of psychedelic music in the 1960s. Saturday Night Fever, although hardly as prodigious an artistic achievement as those precursors, was precisely that kind of musical phenomenon for the second half of the '70s -- ironically, at the time before its release, the disco boom had seemingly run its course, primarily in Europe, and was confined mostly to black culture and the gay underground in America. Saturday Night Fever, as a movie and an album, and a brace of hit singles off of it, suddenly made disco explode into mainstream, working- and middle-class America with new immediacy and urgency, increasing its audience by five- or ten-fold overnight. The Bee Gees had written "Stayin' Alive" (then called "Saturday Night"), "Night Fever," "How Deep Is Your Love," "If I Can't Have You," and "More Than a Woman" for what would have been the follow-up album to Children of the World, and they might well have enjoyed platinum-record status with that proposed album. Instead, Robert Stigwood asked them in early 1977 to contribute songs to the soundtrack of a movie that he was financing, a low-budget picture called "Tribal Rites on a Saturday Night." More out of loyalty to him than any belief in the viability of the film, they obliged; the group's involvement even survived the decision by the original director, John Avildsen, that he didn't want their music in the film -- instead, Stigwood fired him and brought in the very talented but much more agreeable John Badham, the movie's title was changed to Saturday Night Fever, The Bee Gees' music stayed, and the result was the biggest-selling soundtrack album in history, a 25 million copy monster whose sales, even as a more expensive double-LP, dwarfed the multi-million units sold of Children of the World and Main Course. Strangely enough, for all of the fixation of the movie and its audience on dancing, the Bee Gees' new songs were weighted equally toward ethereal ballads, which may be one reason for the soundtrack album's appeal -- it delivers what its audience expects, plus a "bonus" in the form of the soaring, lyrical romantic numbers that were, as with most ventures by the Gibb Brothers in this area, virtually irresistible. Despite the presence of other artists, Saturday Night Fever is virtually indispensable as a Bee Gees album, not just for the presence of an array of songs that were hits in their own right -- and which became the de facto soundtrack to a half-decade of pop culture history -- but because it offered the Gibb Brothers as composers as well as artists, their work recorded by Yvonne Elliman ("If I Can't Have You"), and Tavares ("More Than a Woman"), and it placed their music alongside the work of Kool & the Gang and MFSB; in essence, the layout of the soundtrack release was the culmination of everything they'd been moving toward since the Mr. Natural album. Even the presence of David Shire's "Night on Disco Mountain" and "Salsation" and Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven" don't hurt, because these set a mood and a surrounding ambience for The Bee Gees' material that makes it work even better..." - allmusic.com
1. Staying Alive - Bee Gees
2. How Deep Is Your Love - Bee Gees
3. Night Fever - Bee Gees
4. More Than A Woman - Bee Gees
5. If I Can't Have You - Yvonne Elliman
6. A Fifth of Beethoven - Walter Murphy
7. More Than A Woman - Tavares
8. Manhattan Skyline - David Shire
9. Calypso Breakdown - Ralph McDonald
1 Night On Disco Mountain - David Shire
2. Open Sesame - Kool & The Gang
3. Jive Talkin' - Bee Gees
4. You Should Be Dancing - Bee Gees
5. Boogie Shoes - K.C. & The Sunshine Band
6. Salsation - David Shire
7. K-Jee - M.F.S.B.
8. Disco Inferno - The Trammps