Chart Week: February 25, 1978
Song: “How Deep Is Your Love” – Bee Gees
Chart Position: #10, 23rd week on the chart. Peaked at #1 for three weeks in December 1977 and January 1978.
The most amazing chart stretch of my life was the Bee Gee’s run in the late ‘70s. They absolutely owned the charts thanks largely to the monster that was the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
The soundtrack, which sold over 45 millions copies and spent over six months at #1 on the album chart, featured seven #1 singles – although three of those topped the charts before the album was released.1 The Gibb brothers wrote eight of the double album’s 18 tracks, and those were the most successful of the original songs on the soundtrack.
Disco may have died a fiery death soon after the peak of Bee Gee’s fever, but their success in 1978 was never repeated in the pre-streaming era.
This week’s chart was a perfect example of how hot the Gibbs were in that moment.
“How Deep Is Your Love” is just an amazing song. Seriously, put headphones on, crank it up, and disappear inside of it. The layered vocals on the chorus are absolutely brilliant.
This week was its 15th week in the top ten. Which, according to Casey, was a new record. It would spend one more week in the top 10 before finally dipping outside after a full four months there. Three of those ten weeks it topped the charts. It wasn’t until April, seven months after its release, that it finally slipped outside the Top 40.
Top spots higher at #8, the next SNF single, “Night Fever,” had jumped into the top ten in just it’s fourth week on the chart. It would spend 13 weeks in the top 10, eight at #1.
At #5 was the Gibb-penned song “Emotion” by Samantha Sang. It would spend 10 weeks in the top 10.
At #2 was little brother Andy Gibb with “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water.” Co-written by Barry Gibb, it would spend 11 weeks in the top 10, two in the top spot.
And at #1 four the fourth-straight week was the iconic “Stayin’ Alive.” It would also spend 11 weeks in the top ten.
Oh, and way down at #29 was Yvonne Elliman, six weeks into her chart run with “If I Can’t Have You,” which would also peak at #1 and last for 20 weeks in the top 40. Again, a song written and produced by the Gibb brothers.
It was just a ridiculous run. Sure, eventually the Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever, and the entire disco movement became a joke. But there’s no denying what an immense accomplishment it was to dominate the charts the way they did in early 1978. And now that we’re well past 40 years since the disco era died, it’s safe for us to admit that most of these songs are pretty great, with or without the context of the pop culture moment they were a part of.
An aside too long for a footnote: “How Deep Is Your Love” also did America the great service of breaking the 10 week stranglehold on the #1 spot Debbie Boone had with “You Light Up My Life.” Man, people can shit on disco all they want, but it was better than that travesty of a song. I remember taking a car trip from southeast Missouri to Kansas City that fall,2 a trip that back in the day of 55 MPH speed limits took about eight hours. I swear we heard “You Light Up My Life” 8000 times on that trip. The ‘70s, man…