Tag Archives: Frankie Valli

Disco 1975

If you see Patti LaBelle today, wish her a happy birthday.

Nineteen seventy-five was a pivotal year for disco music. The genre was still very young; the name “disco” as a reference to the music genre was coined just two years earlier by journalist Vince Aletti. Disco music crossed over into the mainstream with more frequency, yet was not as ubiquitous a presence on the pop charts as it would become in the ensuing years of that decade. Artists who had their first top 40 singles in 1975 include Gloria Gaynor and KC and the Sunshine Band. In December of 1975, Donna Summer made her first appearance on the Hot 100 when “Love to Love You Baby” made its debut, having already been a smash in the clubs. The Bee Gees updated their sound in 1975 with “Jive Talkin’,” which became their first top ten single since 1971. Ben E. King, who had hits in the early 1960s as a solo artist and as the lead singer of The Drifters scored his first top ten pop hit since 1961’s “Stand By Me” with the funky “Supernatural Thing.” As the lead singer of the trio named after her, Patti LaBelle scored her first top ten hit in over a decade with “Lady Marmalade.” Veteran acts such as Frankie Valli, The Temptations, The Miracles, The Isley Brothers and Esther Phillips filled the dance floors. And it was in 1975 that the world was doing the hustle.

Today’s playlist is made up of forty disco gems from 1975.

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Throwback Thursday – 1978

Just how popular were the Bee Gees in 1978? So big that they accounted for two percent of the record industry’s profits that year.

On January 1, 1978, the trio, made up of brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, were at #1 with “How Deep is Your Love,” which the three performed, wrote and co-produced. It stayed on top for three weeks. In February they returned to the #1 position with “Stayin’ Alive.” That stayed at #1 for four weeks. It was knocked from the top spot by “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water,” performed by Andy Gibb, younger brother of the Bee Gees. “Thicker Than Water” was co-written and co-produced by Bee Gee Barry Gibb. “Thicker Than Water” was knocked from the top spot after two weeks by “Night Fever,” performed, written and co-produced by the Bee Gees. That song remained at #1 for eight weeks, only to be knocked from the top by “If I Can’t Have You,” performed by Yvonne Elliman and written and co-produced by the Bee Gees. Starting in mid-June, “Shadow Dancing,” written by the Bee Gees and Andy Gibb, co-produced by Barry Gibb, and performed by Andy Gibb went to #1 and stayed there for seven weeks. In late August Frankie Valli had his first #1 single in three years with “Grease,” written and co-produced by Barry Gibb.

Not everything they touched hit #1 that year. “Emotion,” written by Barry and Robin Gibb, co-produced by Barry Gibb and performed by Samantha Sang, peaked at #3 in March 1978. It was kept from #1 by “Night Fever” and “Stayin’ Alive.”

The album from which “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep is Your Love” and “If I Can’t Have You” were taken is the soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever, which spent 24 weeks at #1 and became the largest-selling album in history at that time. It remains the only soundtrack to have spawned four #1 singles. It could have been five if the Bee Gees’ version of their composition “More Than a Woman” had been released as a commercial single. Instead, the Tavares version of the song, which also appears on the soundtrack, was the single and became a top forty hit. Saturday Night Fever became the first soundtrack album to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The Bee Gees also won Grammy Awards for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals (both “How Deep is Your Love” and “Stayin’ Alive”) and Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices (for “Stayin’ Alive”), and Barry Gibb, along with Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson, won Producer of the Year.

In 1978 the Bee Gees were connected with another high-profile movie project: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in which they starred and performed on the soundtrack. Though Robin Gibb hit #15 with the film’s “Oh! Darling”, the album and film were considered flops.

The relative failure of Sgt. Pepper’s notwithstanding, the Bee Gees remained huge throughout 1978. Their blend of pop, soul, and dance music gave them mass appeal. Besides hitting #1 on the pop charts, “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever” were top ten hits on the r&b and disco charts.

Tunes du Jour celebrates Throwback Thursday this week with the music of 1978. The Bee Gees may have dominated the mainstream, but as you’ll hear, rumblings of new and exciting permutations of rock & roll were rumbling under the surface.

We’ll kick off today’s playlist with the song that went to #1 in the UK, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and the US.


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Throwback Thursday – 1967

I heard the news today. Oh boy! The Beatles’ recordings are now available on streaming platforms, including Spotify.

To celebrate, Tunes du Jour kicks off its 1967 playlist this Throwback Thursday with The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” a song that combines an unfinished song from John Lennon, inspired by newspaper articles, with one from Paul McCartney, a reflection of his school days.

Here are twenty of 1967’s finest musical moments.


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Ten Facts About Barry Gibb

Winston + Bee Gees 2014-09-01 14.35
Ten facts about Barry Gibb:
• As a member of the Bee Gees and as a producer and writer, Barry contributed to more than half of the songs on the soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever. That album went on to sell 40 million copies and was the all-time best-selling album until it was outsold by Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
• The Bee Gees are the only group to have six consecutive singles go to #1, all of which were also written and produced by them – “How Deep is Your Love,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” “Too Much Heaven,” “Tragedy” and “Love You Inside Out.”
• For twenty-seven of the thirty-seven weeks from December 24, 1977 through September 2, 1978, the #1 singles in the US featured Barry Gibb as a writer. The songs were the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever,” Andy Gibb’s “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water” and “Shadow Dancing,” Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You” and Frankie Valli’s “Grease.”
• Barry Gibb wrote “Grease” without his brothers. It was Frankie Valli’s only #1 single not co-written by Bob Gaudio or Bob Crewe. At the time Gibb approached Valli about recording the tune, Valli didn’t have a record deal. It was Valli’s last top 40 single.
• For three weeks beginning March 18, 1978, Barry was the lead singer, co-producer or co-writer of four of the US’ top five singles – “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water” and Samantha Sang’s “Emotion.”
• Barry and Robin Gibb wrote “Emotion” for the film Saturday Night Fever. It wasn’t used in the pic; however, it was used in the Joan Collins film The Stud the following year.
• Gibb was a co-producer and co-writer of the Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton duet “Islands in the Stream.” The record was a #1 country and pop hit, the last song to top both of those charts for 17 years. Barry Gibb said the song was written for Marvin Gaye to record.
Dionne Warwick did not care for “Heartbreaker,” written by the Bee Gees, but she recorded it anyway, as she trusted the brothers’ judgment that it would be a hit. It sailed into the top ten in 1983, her first single to do so in four years.
• The Bee Gees-penned “Chain Reaction” was one of two #1 solo singles for Diana Ross in the UK, the other being “I’m Still Waiting.” Neither are amongst her 27 post-Supremes top 40 hits in the US.
• As a songwriter Gibb has had No. 1 songs in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

Today Barry Gibb turns 68. Here are twenty songs he sang and/or wrote and/or produced.

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