The Grammys tried to bring disco back from the dead with its tribute to the Bee Gees for the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever, with Little Big Town, Demi Lovato, Andra Day and Tori Kelly singing some of the old-school group's tunes.
It was a tricky prospect from the start, what with the show trying to get the ears of millennials who'd likely never been that attached to Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb's seminal soundtrack for the film that capitalized on '70s disco. And with uneven, hit-or-miss performances, they didn't really do disco any favors.
Demi started first, giving her rendition of "Staying Alive" her all in a glitter jumpsuit and straight hair all too reminiscent of Studio 54 backed by spirited dancers and very '70s lights. Save the entirely too high-energy dancers, who were much more hip-hop than "hustle," she was good, but there was a clear disconnect in tone. Tori Kelly came next, singing "Tragedy," with Andra Day following with a slightly wobbly and uneven take on "Night Fever."
Little Big Town slowed things down, thankfully, with a hushed and lovely rendition of "How Deep Is Your Love." Barry Gibb was seen singing along in the audience. But the calm was marred again when the entire group returned for — yup — "Staying Alive" one more time with the whole group, missing opportunities to do the soundtrack's other cool hits including "If I Can't Have You" and "More Than a Woman."
What could've been a grand opportunity to bring the soundtrack to a new generation fell kinda flat — robbing them of the chance to get to know the story of Tony Manero (John Travolta), a working-class dude who liked to get his groove on in Brooklyn on the weekends.
One of the most famous soundtracks ever produced, the album won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 1979 — a rare feat for a soundtrack. Selling some 15 million copies when it was released, it stayed on Billboard's album charts for a staggering 120 weeks until March of 1980. It's an actual cultural artifact, having been added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress in 2013.
Of course, all that sounds pretty dusty and old and after that performance it'll probably remain a relic — at least for the people who watched the show.
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