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"How Deep Is Your Love"
The Bee Gees
RSO 882
December 1977
Billboard: #1    MIDI Icon Lyrics Icon Videos Icon

The Bee Geeshe June 7, 1976, issue of New York magazine featured an illustration of a Manhattan crowd dancing the night away. The headline underneath the magazine's logo read, "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night by Nik Cohn."

"About six months before that story was published, Nik came to me," Robert Stigwood revealed in the Bee Gees' authorized biography, written by David Leaf. "I'd known him from his days in England. He told me he wanted to write a movie, or write a story for a movie, so I said, 'O.K. If you have an idea, come and see me again and we'll talk about it.' Six months later, I picked up New York magazine and saw this cover story and Nik's name. So I immediately read it. And I thought, 'This is a wonderful film subject.' So I called Nik up and said, 'You're crazy. You come to me about writing a story for a picture. This is it.' And I made a deal with his agent in 24 hours to acquire the rights."

Saturday Night Fever - Soundtrack
The Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love" was the first single released from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which became the biggest selling soundtrack album of all-time. First charting on Nov. 26, 1977, the album rose to No. 1 for 24 consecutive weeks and remained on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart for 120 weeks. Also featuring the No. 1 Bee Gees hits "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever," Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You," and a selection of popular disco hits by Tavares, K.C. & the Sunshine Band, and others, the album was certified gold by the R.I.A.A. on 11/22/77, platinum on 1/3/78, and 11x platinum on 11/7/84.
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Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the Bee Gees were settled in at the Chateau D'Herouville studios outside Paris. Elton John had made the place famous with his 1972 Honky Chateau LP and the Bee Gees wanted to record the follow-up album to Children of the World there. Unfortunately, the place had gone to seed. Determined to make the best of it, the Bee Gees recorded the first song for the proposed album, "If I Can't Have You," when they received a phone call from Stigwood. He told them to forget the studio album, he wanted a live LP to come out next. A few days passed and he telephoned again with a new directive. He needed four new songs for a film he was producing.

"We never saw any script," Barry said in Leaf's biography. "(Robert) said, 'It's about a bunch of guys that live in New York.'" The first song written after Stigwood's call was "How Deep Is Your Love," but it was meant for Yvonne Elliman, not the film. The Bee Gees were not even aware of a love scene in the film, but Stigwood heard the song and was adamant the Bee Gees record it themselves.

Stigwood arrived at the Chateau a couple of weeks later and gave the brothers a very rough, verbal outline of the film's story. He stressed it was about a young guy who lives for Saturday night, when he can spend his weekly wages and go dancing. "So that's all we knew, except it was John Travolta playing the part," Maurice Gibb explained in the Bee Gees' biography. "We'd done 'If I Can't Have You' and 'How Deep Is Your Love' and we were thinking to ourselves, 'Wow! A disco film. Let's get into some good disco songs.' It took about two-and-a-half weeks to write them and put them down as demos. When Robert heard them, he said, 'You hit the nail right on the spot. That's perfect.'"

The Bee Gees remained in France while the film -- titled Saturday Night Fever -- was in production in the States. When Stigwood left the Chateau, he took with him the rough mixes of the songs that would be used in the picture as is.

"How Deep Is Your Love" was the first single issued from the soundtrack, prior to the actual release of the film. It entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 83 on September 24, 1977, and moved into the number one position (for three weeks) 13 weeks later, on Dec. 24. It remained in the top 10 for 17 consecutive weeks, the longest run of any single since the Hot 100 was initiated on August 8, 1958.

- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.

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