Jive Talkin'

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"Jive Talkin'"
Jive Talkin.jpg
Single by Bee Gees
from the album Main Course
B-side"Wind of Change"
ReleasedMay 1975
Format7-inch single
Recorded30 January – 19 February 1975
StudioCriteria, Miami, Florida
  • 3:44 (album version)
  • 3:33 (single version)
Producer(s)Arif Mardin
Bee Gees singles chronology
"Jive Talkin'"
"Nights on Broadway"
Music video
"Jive Talkin" on YouTube

"Jive Talkin'" is a song by the Bee Gees, released as a single in May 1975 by RSO Records. This was the lead single from the album Main Course (as well as a song from the 1977 soundtrack, Saturday Night Fever) and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100; it also reached the top-five on the UK Singles Chart in the middle of 1975. Largely recognised as the group's "comeback" song, it was their first US top-10 hit since "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (1971).

Origins and recording[edit]

The song was originally called "Drive Talking". The song's rhythm was modelled after the sound their car made crossing the Julia Tuttle Causeway each day from Biscayne Bay to Criteria Studios in Miami.[4]

Recording for "Jive Talkin'" took place on 30 January and 2 February 1975. The scratchy guitar intro was done by Barry and the funky bass line by Maurice. The pulsing synthesiser bass line, which featured in the final recording, was (along with the pioneering work of Stevie Wonder) one of the earliest uses of "synth bass" on a pop recording. It was overdubbed by keyboardist Blue Weaver using a then state-of-the-art ARP 2600, which producer Arif Mardin had brought in for the recording of the Main Course album.[5] Weaver stated, "Usually Maurice would play bass guitar, but he was away from the studio that night. And when Maurice came back, we let him hear it and suggested he re-record the bass line on his bass guitar". "I really liked the synth bass lines", Maurice said. "I overdubbed certain sections to add bass extra emphasis".

"Jive Talkin'" was also influenced by "You're the One" (written by Sly Stone) by Little Sister.[6]

According to Maurice, while hearing this rhythmic sound, "Barry didn't notice that he's going 'Ji-Ji Jive Talkin'', thinking of the dance, 'You dance with your eyes'...that's all he had...exactly 35 mph...that's what we got." He goes on to say, "We played it to [producer] Arif [Mardin], and he went 'Do you know what "Jive Talkin'" means?' And we said 'Well yeah, it's, ya know, you're dancing.' He says 'NO...it's a black expression for bullshitting.' And we went 'Oh, Really?!? Jive talkin', you're telling me lies...' and changed it." Maurice goes on to describe how Arif gave them "the groove, the tempo, everything." Robin Gibb then goes on to mention that, because they were English, they were less self-conscious about going into the "no-go areas", referring to musical styles that were more black in styles, etc. He then said, "We didn't think that there was any 'no go' areas, it's music!" Barry's guitar strumming has a smoother version of Kool and the Gang's signature chicka-chicka and funky Nassau version of KC and the Sunshine Band's Caribbean strumming. The song's rhythm riff perhaps from "Shirley & Company's "Shame, Shame, Shame", with a prominent use of the Bo Diddley beat.[7]

"Jive Talkin'" is a stuttering song like The Who's "My Generation", David Bowie's "Changes", Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets" and Bob Seger's "Katmandu".[6]

After hearing "Jive Talkin'", Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, and co-producer Richard Dashut built up the song "Second Hand News" (released on the band's Rumours in 1977) with four audio tracks of electric guitar and the use of chair percussion to evoke Celtic rock.[8]


Upon its release to radio stations, the single was delivered in a plain white cover, with no immediate indication of what the song's name was or who sang it. The DJs would only find out what the song was and who played it when it was placed on the turntable; RSO did provide the song with a label on the record itself. It was the second time in the band's career that this strategy had been employed to get airplay for their music, after a similar tactic had popularised their debut US single "New York Mining Disaster 1941" in 1967. The song approximates the synthesised propulsion of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition".[6]

The original studio version was included on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, as it was used in a scene that was cut from the final film. Later pressings of the album used the live version of "Jive Talkin' " from the Bee Gees 1977 album, Here at Last... Bee Gees... Live, due to contractual distribution changes. The CD version restores the use of the studio version.


Credits adapted from the album Main Course.[9]

Chart performance[edit]

Boogie Box High version[edit]

"Jive Talkin'"
Single by Boogie Box High
from the album Outrageous
B-side"Rhythm Talkin (Part 1)"
Format7" single
4:38 (album version)
LabelSBK Records
Producer(s)Chris Porter, Andros Georgiou
Boogie Box High singles chronology
"Jive Talkin'"
"Gave It All Away"

In 1987, "Jive Talkin'" was covered by Boogie Box High, a musical project of Andros Georgiou's that featured collaborators such as his cousin George Michael and Haircut One Hundred's Nick Heyward. Michael sang lead on "Jive Talkin'," although his vocals were uncredited.

Track listings[edit]

7" single[32]

  1. Jive Talkin' – 3:40
  2. Rhythm Talkin (Part 1) – 3:50


Chart (1987) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[32] 7
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[33] 6
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[34] 4
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[35] 38
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[36] 7

Other Cover versions[edit]

  • Rufus covered "Jive Talkin'" on their 1975 album Rufus featuring Chaka Khan.
  • Toward the end of Iron Maiden's song "More Tea Vicar," Bruce Dickinson sings a bit of "Jive Talkin'" in a Bee Gees-like falsetto, then says, "No, no, no, you got the wrong track! You have to go in the studio next door," followed by "Okay" in a Bee Gees-like voice.
  • Dread Zeppelin covered "Jive Talkin'" on their 1992 album It's Not Unusual.
  • The Judybats covered "Jive Talkin'" on their 1994 album Full-Empty.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs : 1975". Columbia University. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 'Jive Talkin now continues on from 'Nights on Broadway' as another funk song, but there is no falsetto.
  2. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James; George-Warren, Holly, eds. (1992). The Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely New Reviews : Every Essential Album, Every Essential Artist (3rd ed.). Random House. p. 833. ISBN 0-679-73729-4. Collecting the best of the Gibb brothers' born-again funk phase (like the itchy "Jive Talkin' ") and some authentic dance-floor jams (like the Trammps' blazing "Disco Inferno"), Saturday Night Fever deserves its preeminent status.
  3. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "Jive Talkin' – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  4. ^ "The Bee Gees – 35 Years of Music". Billboard. 113 (12): 22. 24 March 2001. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ Dede, Mehmet (2001). "Jive Talkin' with Arif MARDIN". The Light Millennium. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Meyer, David N. (2013). The Bee Gees: The Biography. Da Capo Press.
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 232.
  8. ^ Fleetwood Mac (2001). Making of Rumours (DVD-Audio (Rumours)). Warner Bros.
  9. ^ Main Course (liner notes). Bee Gees. RSO. 1975. Retrieved 3 March 2016.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – Bee Gees – Jive Talkin'" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 4013." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4019a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Jive Talking". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Indice per Interprete: B" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Bee Gees - Jive" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Bee Gees – Jive Talkin'" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  18. ^ "Charts.nz – Bee Gees – Jive Talkin'". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  20. ^ a b "Main Course – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  21. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 26.
  22. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending AUGUST 9, 1975". Archived from the original on 14 August 2012.. Cash Box magazine.
  23. ^ "The Singles Chart" (PDF). Record World. 23 August 1975. p. 27. ISSN 0034-1622. See last week peak position. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  24. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Bee Gees – Jive Talkin'". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 14 February 2019. To see peak chart position, click "TITEL VON Bee Gees"
  25. ^ "Forum - ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1970s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  26. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 24, No. 14, December 27, 1975". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  27. ^ "End of Year Charts 1975". Recorded Music New Zealand. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  28. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1975". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  29. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1975". Archived from the original on 19 August 2012.. Cash Box magazine.
  30. ^ "British single certifications – Bee Gees – Jive Talking". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Jive Talking in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  31. ^ "American single certifications – Bee Gees – Jive Talkin_". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  32. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Boogie Box High – Jive Talkin'" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  33. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 38, 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  34. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Boogie Box High – Jive Talkin'" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  35. ^ "Charts.nz – Boogie Box High – Jive Talkin'". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  36. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 July 2019.

External links[edit]