Bee Gees

Stayin' Alive

Composed by Barry Gibb / Maurice Gibb / Robin Gibb

Song Review by

This classic Bee Gees track, created especially for the film Saturday Night Fever, is one of those songs that immediately comes to mind when most people think of disco music. The lyrics were inspired by Tony Manero, Saturday Night Fever's main character, and perfectly capture the macho swagger of the average late-'70s disco-loving young New York male in lines "Well you can tell by the way I use my walk/I'm a woman's man, no time to talk." This swagger is balanced elsewhere with lines that hint at the hidden desperation of city life, especially on the lines "I'm goin' nowhere/somebody help me, yeah/I'm stayin' alive." This sense of drama also fuels the song's melody, which builds tension with ever-faster verse melodies that give way to an equally fast chorus that finally slows down to end to release the tension on the descending notes that underline the phrase "ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive." The Bee Gees' recording maintains this tension with style, building the song's foundation on a pulsating, circular beat from the rhythm section and layering yearning strings and the group's fast-paced falsetto harmonies on the top. This treatment gave the song a relentless, infectious feel that made it the most successful of the group's disco outings and it topped the charts around the world as a result. "Stayin' Alive" also played over the opening credits of Saturday Night Fever, perfectly setting the mood for that classic youth drama. Today, it remains one of the most requested songs on "Disco Night" at dance clubs around the world and even inspired a techno-styled cover by N-Trance that became a major European club hit. The enduring power of "Stayin' Alive" proves that it is not only one of the Bee Gees' finest hits but also one of the all-time dance-pop classics.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Saturday Night Fever [Original Soundtrack] 1977 Bee Gees / Polydor 4:44
No Image 1977
Various Artists
Paramount Records
Greatest 1979 Bee Gees / Universal 3:23
No Image 1983 Bee Gees / Reprise 1:30
No Image 1983
Various Artists
Paramount Records
Bee Gees Story 1989 Polydor 4:45
Tales from the Brothers Gibb 1990 Bee Gees / Universal 4:42
Sounds of the Seventies: 1977 1990
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:42
No Image 1994 Polydor 4:42
Grumpier Old Men [Original Soundtrack] 1995
Original Soundtrack
TVT 4:43
Alone 1997 Polydor 4:06
One Night Only 1998 Bee Gees / Polydor 3:59
One Night Only [Video] 1998 Eagle Vision
Very Best of the Bee Gees 1998 Polygram 4:43
The Ultimate Grammy Box: From the Recording Academy's Collection 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:43
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 1 [Universal] 1999
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Music of the Millennium, Vol. 1 [Disc Two] 1999
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:41
22 Hits of the Bee Gees 2000 Polydor 4:43
Spring Break 2000 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
History 2001 Universal International 4:48
Their Greatest Hits: The Record 2001 Bee Gees 4:45
Paramount Pictures 90th Anniversary: Memorable Songs 2002
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:44
Ultimate Seventies: 1977 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:42
No Image 2004 Bee Gees / Polydor 4:46
Too Much Heaven: Songs of the Brothers Gibb 2004 Retroactive 3:40
Pure 70s Party 2005
Various Artists
Apace 4:25
Disco Fever, Vol. 1-4 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:42
Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:45
Dick Clark's American Bandstand, Vol. 4: Dance, Dance, Dance 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:45
20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection: The Best of 1978 2008
Various Artists
Universal 4:45
The  Ultimate Bee Gees 2009 Bee Gees / Reprise 4:43
Mythology: The 50th Anniversary Collection 2010 Reprise 4:47
We Love the Nightlife 2012
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:45
The Warner Bros. Years 1987-1991 2014 Reprise 4:03
1974-1979 2015 Reprise / Rhino 4:45
Storytellers '96 2016 Zip City 4:30
25 Jaar Top 40 Hits, Deel 4: 1977-1980
Various Artists
Edison
Club Classics Best of X-Mix
Various Artists
X-Mix
De Pre Historie: 1978, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Eva 4:45
No Image
Various Artists
Polydor
No Image Bee Gees / Reprise 4:03
blue highlight denotes editor's pick