Nights On Broadway

Album: Main Course (1975)
Charted: 7
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Songfacts®:

  • Before The Jacksons blamed it on the boogie, the Bee Gees blamed it on the nights on Broadway. Written by the group (Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb) and powered by their brotherly harmonies, the song tells a vague but emotional story about trying to make a love connection in the crazy town.
  • This was the follow-up to "Jive Talkin'," a #1 hit for the Bee Gees and the song that got their career back on track. "Jive Talkin'" was also the beginning of their disco phase, as they adapted their soulful sound to the genre. "Nights On Broadway" is a balance of disco and soul, and was a solid hit, reaching #7 in America.
  • While recording this, the producer Arif Martin asked if one of the Bee Gees could do some screaming during the main chorus to make the song more exciting. In response, Barry Gibb began singing higher and higher, eventually singing it in a falsetto that was unexpectedly powerful. He had never known he had such an ability and Barry's falsetto became a trademark of the Bee Gees. Barry Gibb recalled in a May 2001 interview with Mojo magazine: "Arif said to me, 'Can you scream?' I said, Under certain circumstances. He said, 'Can you scream in tune?' I said, Well, I'll try."
  • Barry Gibb on The Larry King show February 2, 2002 talked about his first use of falsetto on this song: "It came to me in a dream. There was a request by Arif Martin, who was like an uncle to us, he was a great record producer during the song 'Nights On Broadway,' for the Main Course album, which is previous to the 'Fever' syndrome. And he said, 'Can any of you scream... scream in falsetto.' So, you know, give us an ad lib or a scream at the end. So from screaming, it turned into things like Blaming It All."
  • According to the documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, this song was written as "Lights On Broadway," but Arif Martin told them they needed to "adult it up" a little bit, so they changed the title.

Comments: 25

  • Eric H from Los Angeles CaSo what is happening here is Barry did the falsetto for the recording but since he and Robin are singing the lead, they had Maurice do the falsetto live. Maurice up until this point had been singing the falsetto parts for the BeeGees. But when they discovered that Barry had a strong falsetto, (as in during the recording of this song) going forward, they built their disco sound around BARRY'S falsetto voice which is what you hear in songs like Stayin Alive.
  • Frankie C. from Saint Louis, MoDerek "Blue" Weaver joined the Bee Gees as their keyboardist in 1975. He was originally with Amen Corner, then with Strawbs, then even later, was an extra with Mott the Hoople during their U.S. concert tour in 1974. Queen was doing their 1st American tour as Mott's opening act. The tour included 5 sold-out nights at the URIS Theatre on Broadway where Mott and Queen were the first rock groups to appear on Broadway. One year later, Blue Weaver was playing "Nights on Broadway" with the Bee Gees. Pretty cool.
  • Jt from DublinI think it is interesting that so many see it aas stalking because of the title - nights on Broadway. Originally the song was titled Lights on Broadway and if you take that into account the stalking motif kinda falls apart.** It should be noted that in recording this song that about 2:15 in you can hear that the chorus says Lights on broadway. An error the Bee Gees decided to leave in.
  • Laurie from Davenport, IowaWatching the video of this from The Midnight Special, clearly, Maurice is the one singing the falsetto.
  • Mellissa from Southern CaliforniaFor all of the people saying it isn't about a stalker, in the Bee Gees doc Barry said it's all in the lyrics. He did say it wasn't based on a personal event. The lyrics are "Oh I had to follow you THOUGH YOU DID NOT WANT ME TO. That won't stop my love for you I CAN"T STAY AWAY." Barry got the message across.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 20th 1880, Broadway in New York City was lighted by electricity for the first time, thus earning its nickname, 'The Great White Way'...
    And exactly 95 years later on December 20th, 1975 the Bee Gees' "Nights on Broadway" was at #10 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; thirteen days earlier on December 7th the song had peaked at #7 {for 1 week}...
    {See the second post below}.
  • Chris from Eagan, MinnesotaI always think of this song as set in a Night Club setting.....A guy walking into a Night Club and grabs a drink and is on the search for that special someone

    {The lyrics start out.....Here we are
    In a room full of strangers
    Standing in the dark
    Where your eyes couldn't see me} This is me in a Night Club Disco standing in the dark corner holding my drink...I am on the search for a female friend but cant see her in this dark room full of strangers.....


    {Now in my place
    There are so many others
    Standin' in the line
    How long will they stand between us}All the others who are doing the same...who are all searching to find that spacial someone are blocking our view of each other.

    And i totally agree with Ron - Auburndale, Fl about the Beautiful bridge at the 2:35 to 3:25 point in the song......This always gets me teary eyed....my eyes fill with tears during this bridge.

    This is about my 3rd or 4th favorite song by the Bee Gees!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 28th 1975, "Nights on Broadway" by the Bee Gees entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #82; and ten weeks later on December 7th, 1975 it peaked at #7 {for 1 week} and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #2 on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart...
    Was track one of side one on the trio's "Main Course" album; the album reached #14 on Billboard's Top 100 Albums chart and on January 25th, 1976 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on the Canadian RPM Top Albums chart...
    Two other tracks from the album made the Top 100 chart; "Jive Talkin'" {peaked at #1 for 2 weeks} and "Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)" {reached #12}...
    R.I.P. Maurice Gibb {1949 - 2003} and Robin Gibb {1949 - 2012}.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhIt makes the most sense that this would be about a couple of performers who at one time had been romantically involved. They probably both came from the same small town and moved to the Big Apple to try to make it on Broadway. One has moved on, or moved up in the performance world, while the other, with less talent, is left 'standing in the dark' wanting things to be as they once were. This song will get stuck in your head for weeks for no reason at all. I love the BeeGees, love their legacy, their sound, their lengthy list of hits and that their careers spanned decades. For most of us, their music is part of the soundtrack to our lives. This particular song does have a wonderful frenzied energy due to the falsetto. One can imagine when the music slows down in the middle of the song, the singer idolizing the lover who is on stage in the spotlight, sort of like time standing still for them both. Then back to the chaotic life of behind-the-scenes on a Broadway show.
  • Nick from Victoria, BcAlso about the falsetto, Maurice sang it on this song, in alot of there live performances in the 70's like on the 'Spirits Having Flown Tour' At the end of the song, you can see Maurice singing it in various clips and on the live ones you can clearly hear its Maurice.
    But even so, its still one of my favorite songs!
    -Nick, Victoria, BC, Canada... eh!
  • Don from Sevierville, TnActually, the Bee Gees/Barry Gibb did use a bit of falsetto as early as their #1 hit from 1971, How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.
  • Thomas from Arlington Heights, IlI never thought this had anything to do with stalking. It always struck me as a song about two performers--both working on Broadway--and they can't make things work out becuase they can't give up the glamor of their careers--hence the chorus--blaming it on the "Nights on Broadway, singing...... to that crazy crazy town." By the way, Ron from Florida is correct---the middle bridge is one of the best sections of music the BeeGees ever recorded. Makes the whole song.
  • Boomer from Oklahoma City, OkCharles: right on about Maurice providing the falsetto backing vocal on the live version of Nights On Broadway, but Maurice was providing the falsetto backing vocals for years to the leads by Barry and Robin. Listen to the falsettos on Please Read Me from Bee Gees 1st. Simply incredible. I also believe Maurice is singing the lead on that song even though it was written by Barry and Robin. The lead vocal doesn't sound like either of them and every bit like Maurice.
  • Ron from Auburndale, FlThe middle bridge section (from about 2:35 to 3:25) is one of the best sections of music the Bee Gees has recorded. The harmonies give me goosebumps. Awesome, underrated song!
  • Roger from Wyandotte, MiI didn't see the song as being about a stalker. My interpretation was that during a week long set of performances in New York, one of the brothers wanted to go out and see the seedy side of the city, alone. One of the brothers followed, to keep an eye on him. This caused a rift between them but the songwriter wasn't going to let that affect their relationship. He was just looking out for his brother.
  • George from Belleville, NjI think Nights On Broadway is a milestone record because I believe it was the forerunner of the new sound the Bee Gees were developing.This is R&B at it's best and the Bee Gees are master songwriters.Marty from San Francisco said it well,this is one of the best and most complex songs of their career.
  • Charles from Bronxville, NyBen-
    You can see Maurice singing falsetto in this song. See 2:02-2:03. Pretty obvious.
    The "...somehow I feel inside..." section has harmonies that stand up to ANY in the business - CSN, The Beatles, anyone. They were an amazing live band. I got a chance to meet them while passing through the Providence RI Amtrak station. We talked a bit. They were VERY funny and sweet, especially Maurice.
  • Charles from Bronxville, NyDuring the early '70's Barry got to know Michael Bennett. In 1974 while Bennett was working on A Chorus Line they kept in touch. In an interview Bennett said that Barry had asked him if he'd every had dancers who were in a show fall in love and when one gets cut whether their love was stronger than their ego's. "It would make an interesting song..." Bennett supposedly told Barry. Probably apocryphal, but who knows...
  • David from Youngstown, OhOne of their best disco/dance songs. The lyrics are incredibly disturbing. The guy is a stalker.
  • Ben Dirks from Nijmegen, -About this song: I think it's a GREAT song; shame they always cut it down to a short [medley] version doing this live; but that's what they do [did!]
  • Ben Dirks from Nijmegen, -About falsetto by Bee Gees; I keep argueing that Maurice sang a lot of falsetto [in harmonies] way before this song, so I claim this is NOT first time Bee Gees used it. Possibly it IS first time Barry did that though![?]
  • Kevin from Reading , PaOne of many, many classic Bee Gees songs --between 1967 and 1975 -- in which Barry and Robin traded lead vocals. In this case, Barry is lead on the verses and chorus, but Robin sings the vital bridge section, " Well I had to follow you / though you did not want me to . . . " Changing lead vocalists back and forth in a song is tricky, because the point of view can change. Even most groups with multiple lead singers didn't intermingle the leads in the same song. The Band is probably the best example, wherein three lead vocals might sing solo during a song and it works. Of course, John and Paul were great at it, especially in the earlier years when they actually worked on songs together. Notice though, there isn't really a song I can think of at the moment that features John, Paul and George singing solo leads. At least not until "Free as a Bird," which of course is a unique circumstance.
  • Jim from Brunswick, MeThis song has the distinction of being the debut of Barry Gibb's falsetto singing. It must have blown listeners away when this was on the radio in late 1975. I happen to like it, but fans of the old-style Bee Gees detested it. Falsetto soon became an albatross for the group (chiefly because they relied on it too much).
  • Jeff from Austin, TxTalkin bout chest hair, talkin bout crazy gold medallions.
  • Marty from San Francisco, CaOne of the best and most complex of the Bee Gees seventies period, Robin has stated it is his favorite, but Barry strangely said, he has always had trouble with this song. Cryptic...
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