Rewinding The Charts: In 1978, The Bee Gees Sparked Disco Fever

Bee Gees
Ed Caraeff

Ed Caraeff

The Gibb brothers' 'Saturday Night Fever' soundtrack broke chart records that still stand today

Thirty-six years ago, the Bee Gees became the kings of disco and made chart history in the process.

At the height of bell-bottom and satin-shirt mania in 1978, the pop group's contributions to the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack turned the Brothers Gibb — Barry, Maurice and Robin — into bona fide superstars.

The act, which started performing in the late 1950s and had been charting on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1967 with mostly folky ballads and midtempo pop numbers, turned in a disco tour de force with its songs for the soundtrack. The trio topped the chart with the ballad "How Deep Is Your Love," followed by the floor-filling No. 1s "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever." But, history was made when another Bee Gees-written tune for "Saturday Night Fever," Yvonne Elliman's rendition of "If I Can't Have You," hit No. 1 on May 13, 1978 (36 years ago today). In doing so, the album became the first soundtrack to score four No. 1 singles — a record that still stands.

Released in late 1977, "Saturday Night Fever" — described by Billboard in a Nov. 12, 1977 review as having "something for everyone" and filled with "bundles of talent" — spent 24 straight weeks atop the Billboard 200 the following year, tied for the third-longest No. 1 reign by a soundtrack. The collection went on to win the Grammy for album of the year — the first film soundtrack and only disco album to do so — and stands as the second-biggest-selling soundtrack in U.S. history, with 15 million sold, according to RIAA.

As Billboard predicted: "Look for this album to take off."


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