Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Sound Track is the soundtrack album from the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta. In the United States, the album was certified 15× Platinum for shipments of at least 7.5 million copies (double albums are counted as two units). The album stayed atop the album charts for 24 straight weeks from January to July 1978 and stayed on Billboard's album charts for 120 weeks until March 1980. In the UK, the album spent 18 consecutive weeks at No. 1. The album epitomized the disco phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic and was an international sensation. The album has been added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being culturally significant.
According to the DVD commentary for Saturday Night Fever, the producers intended to use the song "Lowdown" by Boz Scaggs in the rehearsal scene between Tony and Annette in the dance studio, and choreographed their dance moves to the song. However, representatives for Scaggs's label, Columbia Records, refused to grant legal clearance for it, as they wanted to pursue another disco movie project, which never materialized. Composer David Shire, who scored the film, had to in turn write a song to match the dance steps demonstrated in the scene and eliminate the need for future legal hassles. However, this track does not appear on the movie's soundtrack.
Producer Robert Stigwood commissioned the Bee Gees to create the songs for the film.
Robin Gibb recalled:
We were recording our new album in the north of France. And we'd written about and recorded about four or five songs for the new album when Stigwood rang from LA and said, 'We're putting together this little film, low budget, called Tribal Rites of a Saturday Night. Would you have any songs on hand?', and we said, 'Look, we can't, we haven't any time to sit down and write for a film'. We didn't know what it was about.
The original issue of the album included the original studio version of "Jive Talkin'"; later LP pressings included a version culled from Here at Last... Bee Gees... Live. All CD releases have included the original "Jive Talkin'". "Jive Talkin'" was to have been used in a deleted scene taking place the day after Tony Manero's first Saturday night at the disco, but as the sequence was cut for the final film, the song was cut as well. In addition to the Bee Gees songs, additional incidental music was composed and adapted by David Shire. Three of Shire's cues – "Manhattan Skyline", "Night on Disco Mountain" (based on the classical piece "Night on Bald Mountain") and "Salsation" – are included on the soundtrack album as well. Five additional cues – "Tony and Stephanie", "Near the Verrazano Bridge" (both adapted from the Bee Gees' song "How Deep Is Your Love"), "Barracuda Hangout", "Death on the Bridge" and "All Night Train" – while heard in the film, remain unreleased on CD. In 1994, the soundtrack was re-released on CD through Polydor Records. In 2006, the album was re-released on Reprise Records as part of the Bee Gees' regaining control of their master tapes.
Along with the success of the movie, the soundtrack, composed and performed primarily by the Bee Gees, was the best-selling soundtrack album of all time (it was later surpassed by Whitney Houston's soundtrack to The Bodyguard).Saturday Night Fever had a large cultural impact in the United States. The Bee Gees had originally written and recorded five of the songs used in the film – "Stayin' Alive", "Night Fever", "How Deep Is Your Love", "More Than a Woman" (performed in the film in two different versions – one version by Tavares, and another by the Bee Gees) and "If I Can't Have You" (performed in the movie by Yvonne Elliman) as part of a regular album. They had no idea at the time they would be making a soundtrack and said that they basically lost an album in the process. Two previously released Bee Gees songs – "Jive Talkin'" and "You Should Be Dancing" – are also included on the soundtrack. Other previously released songs from the disco era round out the music in the movie.