In the summer of 1977, Bee Gees manager and Hollywood producer Robert Stigwood was working on a movie about the disco scene in Brooklyn. It was based on a New York magazine article headlined "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night," but Stigwood wanted to call his film "Saturday Night."
He asked his clients to write the title song.
Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, however, thought the revamped title was kind of lame. So instead of coming up with a new tune, they pitched a catchy number they'd written that spring, "Night Fever."
The rest is music, movie and pop culture history—and not just because Stigwood added "Fever" to his film's title.
Kicking off with a string intro inspired by Percy Faith's lush "Theme From a Summer Place," "Night Fever" boogied to the top of the charts 39 years ago today, on March 18, 1978. It succeeded brother Andy Gibb's No. 1 hit "Love is Thicker Than Water," and eight weeks later would be replaced by another song from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack, Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You."
"Night Fever" was also the Bee Gees' third consecutive No. 1 single, after "How Deep is Your Love" and "Stayin' Alive." They'd extend the streak to six in 1979, thanks to "Too Much Heaven," "Tragedy" and "Love You Inside Out," tying a record set by the Beatles from 1964-66. (Whitney Houston holds the current record, with seven.)
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