by Nicholas James
Following the commercial failure of their
Living Eyes, the Bee Gees had been
busy producing albums for other artists, and
Robin, in particular, had been busy working
with Maurice on a new solo album,
How Old Are You.
The Bee Gees were invited to submit songs
for the sequel to the movie
Saturday Night Fever, Staying Alive.
They contributed six songs of the 12
featured on the album, although one of the
six was the original Stayin' Alive,
presented here in a shorter version.
The Bee Gees tracks on Staying Alive are a
development of the sound used in
but this time with a stronger 1980s urban
sound. Unfortunately for them, the songs
were pretty much buried in the film (in
favour of songs by Frank Stallone, the
brother of the film's director, Sylvester
Stallone). This is a shame because, as with
the Bee Gees songs are very good, if less
adventurous in their style.
It is obvious from listening to this album
that Barry Gibb is dominant in the singing
(he provides all leads), production and
probably the song writing too. Presumably
this is because Robin and Maurice were hard
at work on How
Old Are You (although Barry was also
working on a new album for
The opening track, Woman In You, is a tough,
gritty piece, a perfect backdrop for the
Brooklyn setting of the film, and is an
undeniably catchy song. It became a minor
hit in the US. The video that accompanied it
had Barry Gibb, adorned in jeans and a
sleeveless leather jacket, walking through
the tough streets of (one assumes) New York.
Robin and Maurice also feature in the video,
although they can barely be heard in the
'I Love You Too Much' follows the same
style, and has fantastically distinctive,
complex lyrics. It is a song you can listen
to again and again. The two stand-out tracks
on the album, though, are the exceptional
'How Deep Is Your Love'-style ballad,
'Someone Belonging To Someone', and the
completely infectious, inspired 'Life Goes
On', again a song with complex, carefully
considered lyrics. These songs should have
had much greater exposure.
Why Buy Staying Alive?
If you are expecting
Night Fever, you will be
disappointed. This is an album for those
that want to explore the music of the Bee
Gees at a time when their song writing was
at its finest.