- An OUTSTANDING copy of this ’70s classic with Double Plus (A++) sound on all FOUR sides – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- There’s real Bee Gees vocal magic here – “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “More Than a Woman,” “Jive Talkin’,” and more!
- One of the most underrated tracks that holds up surprisingly well after all these years is “A Fifth of Beethoven,” and it sounds great here
- It’s no walk in the park to find a copy with sound this good and vinyl this quiet, but here it is
- 5 stars: “Saturday Night Fever is virtually indispensable as a Bee Gees album, not just for the presence of an array of songs that were hits in their own right but because it offered the Gibb brothers as composers as well as artists…”
- If you’re a Bee Gees fan, this title from 1977 is surely a Must Own
- The complete list of titles from 1977 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here
This copy of the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack has truly killer sound throughout, and that ain’t no jive talkin’! We collected a bunch of these and put them through the shootout process and were delighted to find out that some of the material on here can sound wonderful on the best pressings.
Like any compilation, some songs are going to sound better than others. The good news here is that most of the tracks you’d hope to be impressive actually are: “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love” and “Disco Inferno” are among the better-sounding songs here.
Find your favorite song on here, drop the needle, and see if the dramatically improved sound doesn’t bring back some special memories, and maybe even inspire you to bust a move!
What The Best Sides Of Saturday Night Fever Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1977
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Finding The Best Sound
Number One: Too many instruments and voices jammed into too little space in the upper midrange. When the tonality is shifted-up, even slightly, or there is too much compression, there will be too many elements — voices, guitars, drums — vying for space in the upper part of the midrange, causing congestion and a loss of clarity.
With the more solid sounding copies, the lower mids are full and rich; above them, the next “level up” so to speak, there’s plenty of space in which to fit all the instruments and voices comfortably, not piling them one on top of another as is often the case. Consequently, the upper midrange area does not get overloaded and overwhelmed with musical information.
Number Two: edgy vocals, which is related to Number One above. Almost all copies have at least some edge to the vocals — the boys want to really belt it out in the choruses, and they do — but the best copies keep the edge under control, without sounding compressed, dark, dull or smeary.
The highest quality equipment, on the hottest Hot Stamper copies, will play the loudest and most difficult to reproduce passages with virtually no edge, grit or grain, even at very loud levels.
What We’re Listening For On Saturday Night Fever
- Less grit –- Smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on Saturday Night Fever.
- A bigger presentation — More size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record, the better.
- More bass and tighter bass.
- Present, breathy vocals — A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.
- Good top-end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.
- Last but not least, balance — All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven’t played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.
Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.
Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it ain’t easy to play ’em either. You’re going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end with careful adjustment of your arm in every area — VTA, tracking weight, azimuth and anti-skate — in order to play this album properly. If you’ve got the goods you’re gonna love the way this copy sounds. Play it with a budget cart / table / arm and you’re likely to hear a great deal less magic than we did.
Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive
Bee Gees – How Deep Is Your Love
Bee Gees – Night Fever
Bee Gees – More Than a Woman
Yvonne Elliman – If I Can’t Have You
Walter Murphy – A Fifth of Beethoven (Based on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony)
Tavares – More Than a Woman
David Shire – Manhattan Skyline
Ralph MacDonald – Calypso Breakdown
David Shire – Night on Disco Mountain
Kool & The Gang – Open Sesame
Bee Gees – Jive Talkin’
Bee Gees – You Should Be Dancing
KC and The Sunshine Band – Boogie Shoes
David Shire – Salsation
MFSB – K-Jee
The Trammps – Disco Inferno
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
Every so often, a piece of music comes along that defines a moment in popular culture history: Johann Strauss’ operetta Die Fledermaus did this in Vienna in the 1870s; Jerome Kern’s Show Boat did it for Broadway musicals of the 1920s, and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album served this purpose for the era of psychedelic music in the 1960s. Saturday Night Fever, although hardly as prodigious an artistic achievement as those precursors, was precisely that kind of musical phenomenon for the second half of the ’70s.
Ironically, before its release, the disco boom had seemingly run its course, primarily in Europe, and was confined mostly to black culture and the gay underground in America. Saturday Night Fever, as a movie and an album, plus a brace of hit singles off of it, suddenly made disco explode into mainstream, working- and middle-class America with a new immediacy and urgency, increasing its audience ten-fold overnight.
The Bee Gees had written “Stayin’ Alive” (then called “Saturday Night”), “Night Fever,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “If I Can’t Have You,” and “More Than a Woman” for what would have been the follow-up album to Children of the World, and they might well have enjoyed platinum-record status with that proposed album. Instead, Robert Stigwood asked them in early 1977 to contribute songs to the soundtrack of a movie that he was financing, a low-budget picture called Tribal Rites on a Saturday Night. More out of loyalty to him than any belief in the viability of the film, they obliged. The group’s involvement even survived the decision by the original director, John Avildsen, that he didn’t want their music in the film. Instead, Stigwood fired him and brought in the very talented but much more agreeable John Badham, the movie’s title was changed to Saturday Night Fever, the Bee Gees’ music stayed, and the result was the biggest-selling soundtrack album in history, a 25-million copy monster whose sales, even as a more expensive double-LP, dwarfed the multi-million units sold of Children of the World and Main Course.