UK 7" single
|Single by Bee Gees|
|from the album Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Sound Track|
|B-side||"Down the Road (live)"|
|Released||7 February 1978|
|Recorded||c. April 1977, Château d'Hérouville, France and
September 1977, Criteria Studios, Miami, Florida, United States
|Writer(s)||Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb|
|Producer(s)||Bee Gees, Albhy Galuten, Karl Richardson|
|Bee Gees singles chronology|
"Night Fever" is a song written and performed by the Bee Gees. It first appeared on the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. Producer Robert Stigwood wanted to call the film Saturday Night, but singer Robin Gibb expressed hesitation at the title. Stigwood liked the title Night Fever but was wary of marketing a movie with that name.
The B-side was a live version of "Down the Road" in 1977, previously released on Here at Last... Bee Gees... Live.
Inspiration and writing
When Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood was producing a movie about a New York disco scene, the working title for the film at that time was Saturday Night as Stigwood asked the group to write a song using that name as a title, but the Bee Gees thought it was a dumb title, but they had already written a song called "Night Fever". The group convinced Stigwood to use that and change the film to Saturday Night Fever.
The string intro of "Night Fever" was inspired by "Theme from A Summer Place" by Percy Faith, according to keyboardist Blue Weaver when he was performing it one morning at the sessions and Barry Gibb walked in and heard the new idea for this song. As Weaver explains the history behind this song:
...'Night Fever' started off because Barry walked in one morning when I was trying to work out something. I always wanted to do a disco version of Theme from A Summer Place by The Percy Faith Orchestra or something - it was a big hit in the Sixties. I was playing that, and Barry said, 'What was that?' and I said, 'Theme from A Summer Place', and Barry said, 'No, it wasn't'. It was new. Barry heard the idea - I was playing it on a string synthesizer and sang the riff over it.— Blue Weaver
Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb completed the lyrics for "Night Fever" sitting on a staircase (reminiscent of their first international hit "New York Mining Disaster 1941" which was written also in a staircase back in 1967).
The Bee Gees began recording this song by April 1977 in France and finishing it in September the same year. A demo of "Night Fever" with some instrumental and vocals heard on it exists and was now available to download on Rhino Records' website.
...For 'Night Fever' the group had the hook-line and rhythm - they usually pat their legs to set up a song's rhythm when they first sing it - and parts of the verses. They had the emotion, same as on the record. We put down drums and acoustic guitar first, so the feel was locked in. The piano part was put on before the bass, then the heavy guitar parts. We had the sound, but we needed something there to shake it so we used the thunder sound.
It also replaced Andy Gibb's "Love Is Thicker Than Water" at number one and was in turn replaced by Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You" - all of which were written and produced by the Gibb brothers. It would be the third of six consecutive US #1s for the band, tying The Beatles for the record for most consecutive #1 singles. Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1978, behind Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing."
"Night Fever" topped the UK Singles Chart for two weeks, their third UK number one, and in the US it remained the number one Billboard Hot 100 single for over two months in 1978. In addition to Saturday Night Fever, the song has also appeared in the movie and on the soundtrack for Mystery Men. The song is listed at number 38 on Billboard's All Time Top 100. It's also featured in other films including Luna, Mr. Saturday Night, I.D., Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?, and Avenue Montaigne.
A music video was made for the song in 1978, but not shown to the public until 2004. It features the brothers singing the song in a darkened studio, layered over background video filmed while driving along "Motel Row" on Collins Avenue, a three-mile motel strip in what is now Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. Most of these motels are now closed or demolished, including several whose names are reminiscent of Las Vegas resorts (Castaways, Desert Inn, Sahara, Golden Nugget).
- Barry Gibb — lead, harmony and backing vocals, rhythm guitar
- Robin Gibb — harmony and backing vocals
- Maurice Gibb — bass, harmony and backing vocals
- Alan Kendall — electric guitar
- Blue Weaver — keyboards
- Dennis Bryon — drums
- Joe Lala — percussion
Charts and certifications
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||7|
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||4|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||3|
|Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary||1|
|Canadian RPM Top 30 Playlist||13|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||1|
|Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)||6|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||2|
|Irish Singles Chart||1|
|Mexico (Mexican Airplay)||2|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||3|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||3|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||2|
|South African Chart||2|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||3|
|UK (Official Charts Company)||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play||3|
|US Billboard Hot R&B Singles||8|
|US Cash Box||1|
|US Billboard Hot 100||38|
|US Cash Box||98|
Sales and certifications
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||150,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||500,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||2,500,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
Texan punk rock band The Dicks covered this song on the B-side of their 1980 debut single "Hate the Police" under the title "All Night Fever". In 2008, Australian singer and songwriter Tina Arena performed a cover version of "Night Fever" for the French film Disco. In 2012, the song was featured in the sixteenth episode of the third season of Glee. In 2016, Kylie Minogue covered this song for Saturday Night Fever musical.