Forty years later, “Saturday Night Fever” is staying alive.
The iconic movie, which was released Dec. 12, 1977 — 40 years ago today — brought disco into the mainstream and made John Travolta a full-blown movie star.
It was based off of a New York Magazine article, “Tribal Rites Of The New Saturday Night”, which was actually the original working title of the film. The movie told the story of a working-class teen who dances his way out of a dead-end life in working-class Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, was an immediate sensation.
The title of the film and the soundtrack was eventually shortened to “Saturday Night,” but the Bee Gees, who were asked to contribute to the album, suggested it would be hotter if it was extended by one word to include the title of their new song “Night Fever.”
Following the smashing success of the film, the soundtrack was also No. 1, with a bullet — a full six months atop the charts, only falling off in March 1980, by which time it had sold 16 million records and become the only disco LP to win the Best Album Grammy.
John Legend, Andra Day, Celine Dion and other pop, R&B, rock and country stars all paid homage to the Bee Gees and the group’s blockbuster 1977 soundtrack album “Saturday Night Fever” in an all-star Grammy Awards-related salute from the Recording Academy, CBS and AEG Ehrlich Ventures earlier this year.
Forty years on, the soundtrack still matters. The film still matters. For all the proof you need, walk down any sidewalk and hear the snap-crackle-vinyl-pop of “Stayin’ Alive” in your head. For those few minutes, you’re the king of Disco and the world.