Song of the Day #2,500: ‘Stayin’ Alive’ – Bee Gees

saturday_night_feverEarlier this week I named ‘Theme from New York, New York’ as #5 on my list of Oscar Best Song snubs.

That same year, 1977, saw the release of the film that tops my list.

If ever a movie (and a great movie, at that) was defined by its music, it was Saturday Night Fever. And yet the Academy didn’t see fit to nominate a single song from its record-shattering and Grammy-winning soundtrack.

#1 – Songs Snubbed by Oscar
‘Stayin’ Alive’ – Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever was the best-selling soundtrack of all time until 1992’s The Bodyguard stole that title. It was also the only movie soundtrack to win the Record of the Year Grammy, again until The Bodyguard repeated that feat.

Now, consider this. The Bodyguard‘s success was propelled mostly by Whitney Houston’s iconic performance of the Dolly Parton song ‘I Will Always Love You.’ That song, of course, wasn’t written for the film and was therefore ineligible for an Oscar nomination.

But two other songs from the Bodyguard soundtrack — ‘I Have Nothing’ and ‘Run To You’ — did receive nods from the Academy.

Yet not a single cut from Saturday Night Fever earned that honor? Not ‘How Deep Is Your Love?,’ ‘Night Fever,’ ‘More Than a Woman’ or ‘If I Can’t Have You?’ Not ‘Jive Talking’ or ‘You Should Be Dancing?’

And, for the love of all that is holy, not ‘Stayin’ Alive?!’

I defy you to hear the opening notes of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and not see John Travolta’s feet walking down that New York street. This song is married to its film indelibly. But apparently not as indelibly as ‘You Light Up My Life,’ which took home the prize that year.

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk
Music loud and women warm, I’ve been kicked around
Since I was born
And now it’s all right, it’s OK
And you may look the other way
We can try to understand
The New York Times’ effect on man

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

Well now, I get low and I get high
And if I can’t get either, I really try
Got the wings of heaven on my shoes
I’m a dancin’ man and I just can’t lose
You know it’s all right, it’s ok
I’ll live to see another day
We can try to understand
The New York Times’ effect on man

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

Life goin’ nowhere, somebody help me
Somebody help me, yeah
Life goin’ nowhere, somebody help me, yeah

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk
I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk
Music loud and women warm
I’ve been kicked around since I was born
And now it’s all right, it’s ok
And you may look the other way
We can try to understand
The New York Times’ effect on man

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive

Life goin’ nowhere, somebody help me
Somebody help me, yeah
Life goin’ nowhere, somebody help me, yeah
I’m stayin’ alive

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6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,500: ‘Stayin’ Alive’ – Bee Gees

  1. Dana says:

    I suspect at this point your mother’s head is going to explode given her unabashed hatred for “You Light Up My Life.”😄

    Meanwhile, this really is the motherload of snubs! Just crazy!

  2. Rob says:

    Just a note to state that “Jive Talkin'” and “You Should Be Dancing” would be considered ineligible as they were not written for the film either. “Jive Talkin'” comes from “Main Course” (1975) and “You Should Be Dancing” comes from “Children of the World” (1976). Agree completely that it was a major snub to not nominate “Stayin’ Alive”. The fact that it has been used in so many other films and is STILL played on radio, while you never hear “You Light Up My Life” anymore (thankfully) says it all.

  3. pegclifton says:

    I have no words for what I have just read 😦

  4. pegclifton says:

    Oh and on another note, if you go to NYC and you take the “Brooklyn tour” a big part of it follows the path where Travolta’s feet are walking with his paint can swinging and ‘STAYING ALIVE’ is playing in the background (just a bit of trivia, those aren’t his feet) 🙂

  5. Amy says:

    So… any idea why? There must have been incredulous and outraged movie fans, music writers, etc. who wondered how this could happen…. what happened??

  6. Rob says:

    “You Light Up My Life” was 10 weeks at #1 on Billboard / “Stayin’ Alive” was #1 for 4 weeks / “Night Fever” was #1 for 8 weeks. Maybe the Oscar voters were highly influenced by Billboard.

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