I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Bee Gees -- Stayin' Alive


Alright, what's with the Reminiscings of Youth article on a Wednesday night? Yeah, I know I know. The ROY articles usually get posted on Thursdays (and there will be the usual one tomorrow), but I'm doing a special today. It all got started during a Facebook exchange of comments with friends about a video that I posted on EAS alarms around the world and I noted that the one for Germany was absolutely danceable (it's the final one)! Well, one of my friends who I've known since undergrad days let me know that July 22nd in Japan has been regarded as Disco Day (which is already here over there). 

My curiosity was peaked. When I asked why July 22nd would be given that musical honour, she informed me that the movie "Saturday Night Fever" had been released in Japan for the first time on that date in 1978, although the John Travolta star-making film was originally out in theatres Stateside far earlier in December 1977.

I never caught "Saturday Night Fever" at the theatre when it first came out since I probably would not have been able to get in, but the music and the clips still managed to explode out onto radio and television, especially when Travolta was dancing up his disco storm. Mind you, I should actually think about getting my copy of the soundtrack sometime soon.

Speaking about that soundtrack, that's how I first heard about the Bee Gees with the Gibb brothers. I hadn't known at all that they had been in the music business since 1958 and that they'd been known for much tamer fare before the brothers unleashed their disco power. A number of their songs got onto the soundtrack but of course, the most famous one is the one that starts the album (and the movie) "Stayin' Alive".

My first impression as a kid hearing "Stayin' Alive" was how could a guy sound that high vocally speaking? Did it involve surgery? The second impression was that, yep, it was disco and my third impression was that I couldn't imagine a better song to accompany Travolta's character, Tony Manero, strutting down that Brooklyn street with a can of paint. Basically, whenever I think of the Bee Gees and disco in general, this song or KC and the Sunshine Band's  "That's the Way (I Like It)" will always pop up first in my head.

Interestingly enough, there's another movie that often has me thinking of "Stayin' Alive", and that's the parody movie "Airplane" (1980) thanks to one of the many hilarious scenes.

Well, "Stayin' Alive" was a 1977 single so for tonight's comparative list with what was big in Japan back then, I've decided to go with the three ladies who won Performance awards at the 19th Japan Record Awards that year.

Hiromi Iwasaki -- Shishuuki (思秋期)

Momoe Yamaguchi -- Cosmos (秋桜)

Sayuri Ishikawa -- Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyu Geshiki (津軽海峡・冬景色)

To wrap up, there are probably much younger viewers who have recently seen "Saturday Night Fever" and remarked on how svelte and kakkoii Travolta looked way back then. Well, I knew him even earlier than that on an old sitcom.

Ah, yes! "Up your nose with a rubber hose!" Anyways, I realize that the odds of anyone in Japan holding a Disco Day party in a dance club should be none considering the current pandemic, but I hope that perhaps something might be done virtually via Zoom or something.


  1. Ted: My orders came through. My squadron ships out tomorrow. We’re bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri at 1800 hours. We’re coming in from the north, below their radar.
    Elaine: When will you be back?
    Ted: I can’t tell you that. It’s classified.

    1. Hi, Jim. I was going to throw in the "Don't call me Shirley" quip but I think you beat me to it.:)


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