Bee Gees

Jive Talkin'

Song Review by

After finding success with psychedelic rock and singer/songwriter pop, the Bee Gees successfully reinvented themselves for a third time in the mid-'70s as purveyors of funky blue-eyed soul. They also began to toy with the newly emerging disco genre, an experiment that immediately bore fruit with the Top Five hit "Jive Talkin'." The lyrics threw out the delicate singer/songwriter language of their past work for the kind of hip lingo heard in the soul music hits of the day as it chronicles the story of a man tired of his girlfriend's deceiving ways: "It's just your jive talkin'/Telling me lies, yeah/Jive talkin'/you wear a disguise." The melody downplays the Gibb brothers' usual penchant for lush melodies in favor of a stripped-down style where rhythm is just as important as hooks: In fact, the writers took their inspiration for the song's distinctive syncopated rhythm from the sound their car made rolling over a bridge in Miami. This stripped-down feel carries over to the Bee Gees' recording, which forsakes strings for an arrangement that places a stomping dance beat dead center and layers it with fluttery synthesizer riffs, scratchy rhythm guitar, and a thick, synth-layered bass line. Barry Gibb tops it off with a soulful vocal that is accented by the group's trademark three-part harmonies. The resulting crossbreed of pop hooks and funky rhythms quickly flew into the top reaches of the international pop charts and also inspired an unusual cover version by Rufus, who slowed the song's mid-tempo groove to create a funky downtempo vamp. More importantly, "Jive Talkin'" set the stage for the Bee Gees' impressive string of disco-era hits.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Main Course 1975 Reprise 3:48
Saturday Night Fever [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 1977
Original Soundtrack
Reprise 3:45
Greatest 1979 Polydor 3:43
Bee Gees Story 1989 Polydor 3:43
Tales From the Brothers Gibb 1990 Polydor 3:41
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Phantom
Tales of the City 1998
Original Soundtrack
Polygram 3:40
Very Best of the Bee Gees 1998 Polygram 3:44
Best! 2000 1999 RSO 3:46
22 Hits of the Bee Gees 2000 Polydor 3:43
History 2001 Universal International 3:37
Their Greatest Hits: The Record 2001 Reprise 3:46
No Image 2004
Too Much Heaven: Songs of the Brothers Gibb 2004 Retroactive 3:46
Legends: We Will Rock You 2006
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:44
Legends Informercial Set 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:44
The Ultimate Bee Gees 2009 Bee Gees / Polydor 3:44
Mythology: The 50th Anniversary Collection 2010 Bee Gees / Reprise / Rhino 3:45
We Love the Nightlife 2012
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:45
1974-1979 2015 Reprise / Rhino 3:48
VH1 Storytellers 1996 2016 Zip City 6:11
Timeless: The All-Time Greatest Hits 2017 Capitol 3:45
No Image
Original Soundtrack
Lakeshore Records