- Stayin' Alive
Name = Stayin' Alive
Artist = The Bee Gees
from Album = Saturday Night Fever
If I Can't Have You
Released = 13 December 1977
vinyl record(7" 45 RPM)
Château d'Hérouville, Pontoise, France 1977
Length = 4:45
Label = RSO
Chart position =
*flagicon|United States # 1 US Billboard Hot 100 (4 weeks)
* # 1 Canada
* # 2 Switzerland
* # 2 Austria
* # 3 Sweden
* # 19 Japan
* # 44 France|
Last single = "
How Deep Is Your Love"
This single = "Stayin' Alive"
Next single = "
Misc = Extra tracklisting
Album = Saturday Night Fever
Type = soundtrack
this_track = "Stayin' Alive"
track_no = 1
next_track = "
How Deep Is Your Love"
next_no = 2
"Stayin' Alive" is a song by the
Bee Gees, released as a single in 1977. It was their second hit off of the album "Saturday Night Fever" (" How Deep Is Your Love" had been released two months earlier, and " Night Fever" followed two months later). "Stayin' Alive" is one of The Bee Gees' most popular and recognizable songs, in part because it was played in the opening scene of the popular discofilm, " Saturday Night Fever". The song can still be heard in a variety of venues, ranging from dance halls to sporting events.
The producer of the soundtrack,
Robert Stigwood(who also doubled as the Bee Gees' manager) called them up and asked them to write a few songs for a soundtrack to a film he was planning. At this point, the film was in very early stages and it didn't even have a title yet. All Stigwood had to go on was a "New York" cover story about discomania. He asked them to go on with the soundtrack anyway, and they wrote "Stayin' Alive" over the course of a few days while sprawled on the staircase at the Château d'Hérouvillestudio in Paris. As with Pink Floyd, a majority of the soundtrack was recorded in France for tax reasons.
Due to the death of drummer Dennis Byron's father in the middle of the song's sessions, the group first looked for a replacement. Oddly enough, the shortage of drummers in this area of France prompted the group to use a drum machine--yet it did not offer satisfactory results. After listening to the drum track of the already-recorded "Night Fever", the group (and engineer Albhy Galuten) selected two bars from the song, re-recorded them to a separate track, and proceeded with sessions for "Stayin' Alive". This accounts for the unchanging rhythm throughout the song.
As a joke, the group listed the drummer as "Bernard Lupe" (a takeoff on session drummer Bernard Purdie). Mr. Lupe became a highly sought-after drummer - until it was discovered that he did not exist.
"Saturday Night Fever"
The song was not originally supposed to be released as a single, but fans called radio stations and RSO Records immediately after seeing trailers for "Saturday Night Fever", in which the aforementioned introductory scene was played. The single was eventually released in mid-December, a month after the album, and moved to the top of the
Billboard Hot 100in the United States in February, where it would stay for four weeks. Soon after, it would slide to number two, locking in a solid one-two punch with the Bee Gees' other hit from the album, "Night Fever". In the United Kingdom, "Stayin' Alive" was a solid seller but not as popular as it was in the United States, topping out at number four.
Further demonstrating the Bee Gees' U.S. chart domination in 1978, "Stayin' Alive" was replaced at number one with the group's younger brother
Andy Gibb's single, "Love Is Thicker Than Water", followed by the Bee Gees' own " Night Fever". This was then replaced by Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You". Since Barry Gibbhad a hand in writing all four of these songs, he became the only person in history to write four consecutive US Number One singles; this feat has not been matched to this day.
Besides the version that appeared on the soundtrack album (and subsequent CD release) and the edited single for the 45RPM and Top 40 radio release, there was yet another version, of the same basic mix, that was distributed to Club DJs and radio stations that specialized in airing "longer versions" of hit songs. This "Special Disco Version" as it was called, featured all the same parts as the basic album version mix, but had a mysterious "horn rhythm section" part interjected twice in this version, but turned out to be broadcast on very few U.S. radio stations. This version was finally released on CD when Reprise re-issued "
Bee Gees Greatest" in 2007 in an expanded & remastered edition.
As for the message of the song, Robin Gibb was quoted as saying, "Stayin' Alive" is about survival in the big city—any big city—but basically New York."
The music video for the song is of a completely different concept to Saturday Night Fever. It depicts the group singing the song on a movie set next to the one where they were filming "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" at the time. It was a set featuring buildings, a train station, and other features. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdv8Qi_k-I4 YouTube - Broadcast Yourself ] ] There is also another music video for the song that was played in Europe at the time. It features the brothers singing the song in a dark studio cut with images from New York City streets. Most notable about this video is Barry Gibb's appearance. In this version of the music video he had shaved off his beard and only had side burns. The reasoning for the altered appearance is unknown. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW61s23L11Q YouTube - stayin alive(alternate version) ] ]
The original three music videos for the movie "Saturday Night Fever" were shot on the studios of and edited at Video City Inc in North Miami, Florida. The European video for "Stayin' Alive" as mentioned above (with Barry sans his beard) was one of these original three. These original music videos were scrapped and re-shot in California after Barry grew his beard.
Acclaim and notoriety
The song was prominently featured in the 1980 disaster spoof "
Airplane!" during a memorable flashback scene in which Robert Hayes' and Julie Hagerty's characters are shown meeting at a dive barand engaging in an extremely exaggerated semblance of popular discodancing. The music in the movie was however, sped up 10% over its usual speed, with permission. This parodymight also have given rise to the misconception that "Stayin' Alive" is the song played during John Travolta's famous dancing scene in " Saturday Night Fever".
The song has also been included on the
soundtracks of over 20 other films, and was featured in the films " A Goofy Movie", " Bushwhacked, " A Night at the Roxbury", " Honey, I Blew Up the Kid", " Arthur and the Minimoys", " Young @ Heart", and " Madagascar (film)"
The Bee Gees won a
Grammy Awardfor the song in 1977 for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices.
Over the years, "Stayin' Alive" has earned more critical acclaim. The song was ranked number 189 on the
list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and it was also on the list of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
The song is also listed at #46 on "Billboard's All Time Top 100." [http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/specials/hot100/charts/top100-titles-50.shtml]
A number of musicians have covered "Stayin Alive'":
Dweezil Zapparecorded a version for his 1991 album "Confessions".
Grindcoreband Anal Cuntrecorded a cover version for their 1995 album " Top 40 Hits".
N-Trancereleased a cover versionof "Stayin' Alive" which reached number two in the UK singles chartand number one in Australia.
Ozzy Osbourne(featuring Dweezil Zappa), Wyclef Jean, and Happy Mondayshave each done cover versions of this song.
*An acoustic version was recorded by the band Supple for the soundtrack to "
The Sleepingcovered the song for the soundtrack to "Crank".
*Swedish death metal band Dimension Zero covered the song as the bonus track to their 2007 album, "
He Who Shall Not Bleed"'.
*In 1992, the neo-punk band Concentrated Bloo performed a punk version of the song in a television studio at
Bucks County Community College. The performance is noted for capturing, on tape, the frequent brawling of band members at the end of their performances.
*On June 15, 2007,
String Cheese Incidentand Keller Williamscovered the song at a concert at the Bonnaroo Music Festival.
Ten Masked Menrecorded a death metalcover of the song on their album on their 1999 self-titled album.
Brazilian "game-metal" band MegaDriverrecorded a instrumental heavy metalversion of the song.
It is also featured in a
Kaiser Permanente television commercialand is the at-bat song of New York Metscatcher Paul Lo Duca. Volkswagenused a parody of the song in a late-90s commercial entitled "Stay to the Right." Miss Piggyand a group of pigs performed a version of the song on " The Muppet Show".
It was used in
That 70's showin the episode The Velvet Rope."
The Simpsons" have made numerous references to the song, using it in scenes as the aforementioned "Table Five" parody Homer sang, during a scene in the episode " Two Bad Neighbors", and in a " Treehouse of Horror" scene. In Bart's Girlfriend, the opening is featured.
The song has been used several times across the
Idol series. During the 2006 season of " Nouvelle Star", the eventual winner Christophe Willemperformed the song during a film music-theme episode along with " My Heart Will Go On" from "Titanic". During the 2007 season of " American Idol", the charity event " Idol Gives Back" featured a video that showed celebrities, including Hugh Grant, Hugh Laurie, Blue Man Group, Miss Piggy, Helena Bonham Carter, and Keira Knightley, all lipsynching and dancing to the song. Weeks later on American Idol, during an episode featuring songs by the Bee Gees, contestant LaKisha Jonesperformed the song along with "Run to Me". She was later eliminated from the show on the following episode.
Jeopardy!'s 14 September 2006 episode, the last 3 categories in the Jeopardy! round referenced the opening lines of the song:
*YOU CAN TELL BY THE WAY I USE MY "WALK" ("walk" appeared in each correct response)
*I'M A WOMAN'S MAN (which was about famous ladies' men)
*NO TIME TO TALK (about silence)
It is featured in advertisements for PBS Kids's 2008 September schedule on PBS that features new shows such as
Martha Speaks, Sid the Science Kid, and an update of The Electric Companyplus new seasons of WordWorld, Super Why!, WordGirl, Curious George, Sesame Street, Barney & Friends, Between The Lions, Arthurand FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman. The commercials will stop airing on March 17, 2009.
Hot 100 number-one hits of 1978 (United States)
* [http://www.superseventies.com/1978_3singles.html "Stayin' Alive" info from SuperSeventies]
* [http://www.beegeesfanclub.org/Bee%20Gees/Lyrics%20-%20Film%20SNF/BGS%207%20Lyrics%20-%20Film%2001%20Stayin'%20Alive.htm "Stayin' Alive" lyrics]
* [http://www.thattherepaul.com/features/stayinalive.html perhaps more accurate "Stayin' Alive" lyrics]
* [http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug05/articles/classictracks.htm detailed information on the song's creation]
* [http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2626 "Stayin' Alive" Songfacts entry]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdv8Qi_k-I4 Youtube video]
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