This song was written by the Bee Gees for the movie Saturday Night Fever. They recorded their own version, but also had Tavares do it. Both versions were used in the movie and on the soundtrack, but the Tavares version was released as a single, peaking at #32 in America on May 6, 1978, the same week "Night Fever," another Bee Gees song from the film, was at #1.
Tavares were backstage at a Madison Square Garden show when the Bee Gees asked them to record the song.
Like the Bee Gees, Tavares is also a brother act: Arthur, Ralph Vierra, Perry Lee, Antone and Feliciano. They started performing in 1963 when they were known as Chubby and the Turnpikes. They changed their name to Tavares in 1969 and enjoyed several transatlantic hits in the mid 1970s including "Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel," "Don't Take Away The Music" and "Whodunit."
This was produced by by Freddie Perren, who was responsible for most of the Jackson 5's early hits. He later co-produced and co-wrote the classic Gloria Gaynor hit "I Will Survive." In 1978, Perren won a Grammy for his work on a couple of songs he did on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack: Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You" and this one.
Many disco songs are about dancing or celebrating the nightlife, but in this one the singer has discovered his love for a woman he hadn't noticed before, and he wants the world to know it. The sentiment is sweet ("This is the only way that we should fly"), but a little creepy ("If I lose your love I know I would die"), and it's told very quickly as the Bee Gees knew that getting to the chorus quickly was key to a disco hit.
As he did on "If I Can't Have You," producer Freddie Perren employed the rhythm section of Bob "Boogie" Bowles (guitar), Scott Edwards (bass) and James Gadson (drums), and recorded it as his own Los Angeles studio, which he called Mom & Pop's Company Store. Talking about Perron and working on the Tavares tracks, Edwards told us: "He knew how to do a production, and he wanted the musicians to come up with a good track. But he was always listening. He always had something in front of you that you could look at, but note wise, he knew by the time the session was over the notes would not be nowhere near what he had written. So he wrote very little, which was good, because the musicians knew that his music always had a little more musical involvement, which meant you could be more musical in your playing."
Markantney from BiloxeFeb 2018, Love both versions, though very different in delivery. The Bee Gees get a slight nod for I prefer their Arrangements. If you played the Bee Gees Version as an Instrumental, I'd probably play it as much as the vocal version.
Don from Sevierville, TnFunny, while it was Tavares' version of this song that came out as a single, it's been the Bee Gees' version I hear on the radio more often, even today.
Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI think that Tavares did a great job covering the Bee Gees' More Than a Woman.
David from Youngstown, OhA nice job by Tavares on this song. But the Bee Gees rendition is one of the greatest songs ever made. It's the only Bee Gees song on the Fever soundtrack that didn't make the Top 40 (they never released it as a single). The Bee Gees version is more lush with violins, and a subtle yet fantastic use of keyboards. The Tavares version is much more of a disco song with the more uptempo beat and vocal layering. As for "bald headed woman," my mother had a friend who also thought that's what is being sung, particularly on the Bee Gees' version.
Marty from San Francisco, CaSome joker I knew was convinced that the Bee Gees version was singing, "Bald headed woman; bald headed woman to meeee!" Smoked dope, too.
Jay from Syracuse, NyI'm no longer ashamed of saying that Barry Gibb is a genuinely gifted writer and producer. His uncanny ear for layering a record, esp. finding ways of using strings up-tempo, or "against" the bass line--amazing. I mean, there are limits to where his stuff is going to take you--but I can't deny that beautifully made and electric records like Jive Talkin' and this one will be around for a while--in ways I wouldn't have imagined back when "disco" was a knee-jerk pejorative for rock snobs like me. I dare say, I almost feel the reverse today.