It was 42 years ago today (February 4th) in 1978 that the Bee Gees' “Stayin' Alive” began its four-week run at the Number One spot. The song, along with the group's other 1978 Number Ones “How Deep Is Your Love,” and “Night Fever,” was part of the blockbuster soundtrack to the John Travolta movie Saturday Night Fever, which had opened the previous December. Shortly after Fever's runaway success, Barry Gibb spoke about the music to Rolling Stone explaining, “I didn't know anybody was going to call it disco, but they did. . . We thought it was R&B. We like the Stylistics and the Delfonics and people who sang in falsetto.”
He went on to say that the physical and spiritual vibe of New York City is what drove the song both as a record and as a statement: “'Stayin' Alive' was born of those feelings and the lyric of 'The New York Times' effect on man.' New York, in fact, was having that effect on the whole world at that point. Not so much California, but Studio 54, and the nightlife, and the young people trying to find a future for themselves where without this nightlife, there might not be a future. I think (Travolta's character) 'Tony' depicted that.”
The soundtrack album to Saturday Night Fever, featuring music by the Bee Gees, Yvonne Elliman, KC & The Sunshine Band, Tavares, MFSB, and the Trammps, went on to become the biggest-selling soundtrack of all time, selling over 16 million U.S. copies to date.