Sunday, May 6, 2012

Blast from the Past: Saturday Night Fever!

Here's a little pop culture confession: though I grew up in the seventies and eighties, and was the perfect age (at least for the PG version) of Saturday Night Fever, I have never seen the film. I've seen clips, and videos, but never the movie. But that doesn't mean that the soundtrack wasn't pivotal in my young gay life! SNF basically birthed disco into the mainstream, set it on fire, and ultimately is probably also guilty for its death. See, disco popped up here and there before, and was really lighting up the big cities. But music from 1974 - 1977 was a big stew of schmaltz, cheese, rock, dirge rock, pop and all kinds of things. It had a certain malaise about it, with a hint of boogie. But disco hadn't taken over yet. It was Saturday Night Fever that did that.

SNF blew the Bee Gees from a sporadically popular British Australian sibling act to a phenomenon.  Songs from the SNF soundtrack would stay hit songs not for weeks but months. Sometimes back-to-back, sometimes simultaneously. And suddenly, everything was disco. Things that weren't disco (Rod Stewart, ABBA, Barbara Streisand, Beethoven, the I Love Lucy theme) became disco. The Bee Gees became synonymous with disco, for their own hits, and the others they produced. It burned like magnesium, and then it burned the f**k out. But it was fun while it lasted

And a bonus, one that was added to some later editions of the soundtrack, and a song that to me marks the end of the disco era, Tragedy by the Bee Gees.


  1. The Bee Gees were Australian, not British. However, they certainly sounded British (their pre-SNF albums sound positively Beatlesque).

  2. Thanks, Jill. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that. I think it's the late Maurice Gibb (pronounced "Morris") that makes me think "British." Plus there's Olivia Newton-John, who is actually British, but moved to Australia. . . .Maybe I should stick to, "from the former British Empire?"

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