You might be a little surprised to find that this edition of Five-Star Favs features a disco song, but I’ve always said that I like a lot of different kinds of music. And in fact, today’s choice is one of the songs that helped create the disco craze back in the 1970s, but I don’t think I would have elevated “Staying Alive” to the top rung of my music collection if I hadn’t first heard it during the stunning opening scene of Saturday Night Fever.
I wasn’t the only one who thought John Travolta’s hypnotic strut to the music was a very special way to open up a movie. The late critic Gene Siskel (remember him from Siskel & Ebert?) called it his favorite film and said: ‘One minute into Saturday Night Fever you know this picture is onto something, that it knows what it’s talking about.’
Of course, Siskel was a little overboard about the movie — he later bought Travolta’s iconic white suit at a charity auction — but it is considered a Hollywood classic, and was a smash success with fans and critics. It elevated Travolta to superstardom, and the Grammy-winning music solidified the stature of the Bee Gees in the music world. The soundtrack album became one of the biggest sellers of all time, but to me the highlight of the film’s music was linking “Staying Alive” with Travolta strutting down that Brooklyn street.