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Jive Talkin'

by

Bee Gees



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was called "Drive Talking" in its early stages, but producer Arif Mardin suggested the change to "Jive" to play to teenage sensibilities. "Jive Talkin'" is a term for slang.
The rhythm was inspired by the chunka-chunka-chunka sound of a car rolling over a bridge crossing Biscayne Bay near Miami. Robin Gibb explained to The Mail On Sunday November 1, 2009: "We'd already thought up the title for this song, but it wasn't until Barry, Maurice and I drove from Biscayne Bay to Miami that we realized what the tune was going to be. We had the idea as we passed over a bridge. Some tar noises made a rhythmic sound on the wheels of our car, which created the feel to the type of song we wanted to write. We finished the song at the Criteria studios that day."
This was the first big Disco hit for The Bee Gees. They became icons of the era, singing in falsetto harmonies over dance beats. They had seven more #1 hits in the Disco era, but the band went out of style at the same time as white leisure suits. The group, which had considerable success before the Disco era, took a lot of heat in the press. This criticism would weigh on them in later years as they felt that accusations of selling out and creating popular schlock were out of line. They would often point out that Disco became homogenized in the years after they got to it, and that their sound was really an extension of R&B.
This was a comeback song for the group. They were very successful as contemporary singers in the late '60s and early '70s, but the two albums they released before Main Course flopped, and it looked like their careers were over.

Knowing that a new Bee Gees single would be met with scepticism by radio programmers, their label sent promotional singles to stations with plain, white labels, giving no indication as to what the name of the song was, or who it was by. The plan worked: the song was added to playlists and revived the fortunes of the group.
Along with several other Bee Gees hits, this was featured on the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever in 1977. Along with "You Should Be Dancing," it was one of two previously released Bee Gees songs used - they wrote five more specifically for the film. The set became the best-selling soundtrack album of all time, until it was outsold by The Bodyguard soundtrack.
This was an R&B track that did very well in the black charts in America. The Bee Gees were one of the first white groups to explore that territory.
Former Fugees singer Pras sampled this on his song "Blue Angels."
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Comments (20):

Love, love, love the Brothers Gibb, but this may be my least favorite song of theirs.
- Camille, Toronto, OH
This song did appear on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album, but not in the movie. The original US release used the live version, but the German pressing I used to have used the original studio version.
- Don, Sevierville, TN
Actually, the Bee Gees did write and record If I Can't Have You. Their version was the B-side of Stayin' Alive and later on the 1979 release Bee Gees Greatest. But it was Yvonne Elliman who sang the hit version, which appeared on Saturday Night Fever.
- Don, Sevierville, TN
Having listened to it more, I can understand how this song is a disco pre-cursor of sorts.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
I consider this song to be VERY significant, especially for the Bee Gees, obviously. You may not hear a disco beat when you listen to it now, but at the time it came out in 1975, the beat was new and unheard and GREAT! This was the precursor song to that huge 70s phenomenon of disco. Bee Gees are great. Talk of sell-out is foolish--they are very talented and made lots of money over it. People who talk about some one else "selling out" just don't have the talent to be as popular.
- Guy, Woodinville, WA
Remember this song well.....had just graduated from Parris Island,S.C. in June 75 and went to Camp Lejeune,N.C......used to go to the "Bowery" club in Jacksonville,N.C. and listen to this from the radio....ohhhhhhh...to be 18 again!!!!!
- Rick, Belfast, ME
"If I Can't Have You" is indeed a song I like decently, can't complain. But you do know that it's not by the Bee Gees, right?
- Drew, B\'ham, AL
I love,Stayin Alive,How Deep Is Your Love,More Than a Woman,Night Fever,You Should Be Dancin,If I Can't have You,Jive Talkin,and Andy's songs.I wish Andy was still alive,but drugs took over his mind.
- Jennifer Harris, Grand Blanc, MI
Wow! What a comback this was for the Bee Gees. In 1975, they were washed-up has-beens & being referred to in the past tense. Then along comes this awesome song! This was the song that launched their period of greatest success. I get a tingle in my arms whenever I hear this because this great group came roaring back to life. Funky as all get out & there is a great weaving guitar line in there.
- Jim, Brunswick, ME
"Jive talkin'" and "Stayin' Alive" are the only two disco hits I know of by the Bee Gees. If you know of any other Bee Gees disco hits, please let me know!
- andrew, birmingham, United States
This along with "You Should Be Dancing" is probably their best
- Mike, Hueytown , AL
The song is used for the intro and outro for the popular Chicago Radio Show, Boers and Bernstein's "Who You Crappin'" segment on Sports Radio 670 The Score. Where listeners air untrue sayings in the world of sports over the last week.
- Orion, Charleston, IL
It's sounds more country-ish. Definitley not disco.
- Sarah, USA, IA
Disco? This sounds more like an R&B song to me. What do you guys think?
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
I'm not a fan of disco, but this song is pretty cool. I like the earlier BG's stuff better.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
This was the start of the best Bee Gees period by far!!!
- Paul, UK, England
This was the hit that cemented The Bee Gees comeback after a four year absence from the charts. It also paved the way for years of greatness prior to Saturday Night Fever.
- Howard, St. Louis Park, MN
I never considered the Bee Gees a deep, meaningful, artsy kind of group, but I thought they made great and memorable music before this era. They jumped on the bandwagon and made tremendous money for as long as disco lasted. Unfortunately for them, they are so tainted from the falsetto/disco crap that nobody takes anything else they try to do seriously. Liberace said, when critics insulted him, "I cry all the way to the bank." Life is choices, and they made theirs.
- Frank, Westminster, SC
A group called Boogie Box High did a cover of this song in the mid to late 80s. It was rumoured that George Micheal sand lead but it was never proven
- Alan, Singapore, Singapore
When Barry Gibb was originally composing the song, he thought "Jive Talking" referred to the way of speaking. Some of the lyrics needed to be re-written when he discovered that it was a colloqialism for lying.
- Stephen, Townsville, Australia
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