On December 14th 1977, Saturday Night Fever had its world premiere at Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. The film made a star out of 23 year old John Travolta, and propelled the already famous Bee Gees to superstardom that had rarely or has since been achieved.
Well-cast, well-acted and well-directed, Saturday Night Fever received positive reviews from many critics. While it had many cinematic merits, it was the pulsing disco soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever that made it a work of lasting historical significance. From its iconic opening sequence featuring John Travolta swaggering down a Brooklyn sidewalk to the tune of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” to its remarkable dance numbers set in the imaginary 2001 Odyssey discotheque, the music balanced the action in Saturday Night Fever as absolutely as if it were written for the movie, even though most of it wasn’t. Other than “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever,” every song that appeared in Saturday Night Fever had been written, recorded and in most cases released before the film ever went into production. Among those songs were: The Trammps’ “Disco Inferno” (1976); KC and the Sunshine Band‘s “Boogie Shoes” (1975); Walter Murphy’s “A Fifth of Beethoven” (1976); and the Bee Gees’ own “You Should Be Dancin'” (1976).
Two songs the Bee Gees wrote shortly before hearing about Saturday Night Fever, “If I Can’t Have You” and “How Deep Is Your Love“, would be among the four number 1 hits launched by the movie’s milestone soundtrack album. “How Deep Is Your Love” was the debut single from the album, released fully a month before the movie itself and hitting number 1 on the Billboard pop chart just a week after the movie’s opening. This now common approach to marketing a movie through its soundtrack, and vice versa, was highly original at the time. Indeed, the promotional synergy between the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and movie is generally accredited with helping to revolutionise both movie and music marketing.