“SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER” … When John Travolta’s character, Tony Manero, strutted down 86th Street in Brooklyn, everything changed … Music. Dance. Fashion. Overnight!
Who would have guessed that a medium budgeted film ($13 million), released December 16th, 1977, would still be going strong today. Its legs are beautiful.
Such is the case for the classic film “SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER.”
After 39 years, it still ranks Number 1 on Billboard’s TOP 10 Soundtracks.
Each single was a sales Goliath and each still continues to receive heavy rotation on classic rock radio.
Yes, Classic Rock!
Prior to the release of the movie/soundtrack, DISCO was found in the underground club circuit throughout America and reserved mainly for black and gay dance clubs.
With the release of the film, suddenly, America was dancing! Pushing the boundaries of music, fashion and sex-to the limits- like never before.
In the more conservative regions of the country, protests and record burning demonstrations were held by churches to keep the ‘sin’ out of the community and ‘only non-touching’ couples dancing was allowed in high schools.
But, no matter how many records were burned, the music continued to play and the entire world caught on to ‘the fever.’
Record labels were producing DISCO Artists back-to-back; regardless if the Artist was a one hit wonder or not, they just knew DISCO made money.
Donna Summer, Village People, KC & the Sunshine Band, ABBA, Diana Ross and Olivia Newton-John were a few of the favored Artists who found career longevity in DISCO and became the genre’s legends and icons.
Fashion was turned upside-down!
Travolta had ushered in the white leisure suit, then came platform shoes, big blown out hair and fabrics and colors that… well… made no sense at all. But, no one cared. It was just plain fun.
DISCO movies “Thank God It’s Friday” (1978), “Roller Boogie” (1979), “Skatetown, U.S.A.” (1979), “Can’t Stop The Music” (1980), “Xanadu” (1980) and “Staying Alive” (1983) followed. These camp films spawned successful soundtracks and hit singles, too.
There seemed to be no stopping DISCO… until… about 1982 when the DISCO beat began to evolve to what it is today: DANCE MUSIC. With the help of the birth of MTV also in ’82, a new British Invasion (Culture Club, George Michael, WHAM! and many others) and Artists influenced by the DISCO sound, DANCE MUSIC took over where DISCO was fading off. The ‘passing of the Baton,’ if you will.
Additionally in ’82, America’s own Madonna was single handedly reinventing DANCE MUSIC across the globe and the rest is history.
The styles of “SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER” may have come and gone and updated themselves (Travolta’s iconic white leisure suit on permanent display in the Smithsonian Institute), but the Legacy of its music is permanent, prominent and cemented the world over.
So remember, the next time you watch “SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER,” you’re watching a vital piece of celluloid history and POP-Culture Art!
“SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER” tracks:
1) Staying Alive
2) How Deep is Your Love
3) Night Fever
4) More Than a Woman
5) If I Can’t Have You
6) The Fifth of Beethoven
7) More Than a Woman
8) Manhattan Skyline
9) Calypso Breakdown
10) Night on Disco Mountain
11) Open Sesame
12) Jive Talkin’
13) You Should Be Dancing
14) Boogie Shoes
17) Disco Inferno