Disco Lab #2: Bee Gees – ‘Stayin’ Alive’ (1977)
It’s a sad discovery of the Disco Lab that some of the era’s finest short singles were extended into less than stellar 12” versions. Case in point: one of the era’s defining records, the Brothers Gibb’s unapologetically falsetto theme to Saturday Night Fever, kind of an update of the Four Seasons’ “Walk Like a Man.”
This “remix” is almost entirely an edit of the 7” single, meaning it merely repeats sections we’ve heard before. It opens without an extended intro (looping that trademark bass riff would have been nice). The 12” basically follows the 45 until 1:53, at which point we return to the bass riff but are treated to a “new” sax riff in place of the “ain’t goin’ nowhere” vocal. This continues for a little and then… we repeat the first verse (“well you can tell”), just as on the 45. After this verse and chorus we finally get to “ain’t goin’ nowhere” for a bit.
That’s where the 45 ends; what now? Hey, how about that first verse a THIRD TIME? “Well you can tell”… that we’re out of ideas. Then we get back to the bass riff / “ain’t goin’ nowhere” again for a long while, interpolating the “new” sax break. The long fade that ends the piece was, I’m sure, unwelcome to club DJs.
Especially maddening are the occasional hints of a timbale overdub that I don’t think was there on the 45. How nice (and how very New York) to have lapsed into a Latin percussion break for a minute or two; alas, ‘twas not to be. Perhaps this promo EP was rush-released and edits were all they had time for.
Previously on Disco Lab: Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King – ‘Shame’ (1978)