The Bee Gees helped define the disco era with the unparalleled success of their 1977 record-smashing, Grammy-winning Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The Recording Academy and CBS honored the record’s 40th anniversary and paid tribute to the Bee Gees in a star-studded, two-hour TV concert special which was taped two days after the Grammys and aired on April 16.
Oscar-nominated “Saturday Night Fever” star John Travolta led a huge roster of artists who turned out to honor the Bee Gees’ award-winning, critically-acclaimed song catalog. The A-list performer lineup included Keith Urban, Ed Sheeran, Tori Kelly, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, DNCE, Panic! At The Disco, and more.
The heavenly harmonies, indelible lyrics, and distinct sound Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb brought to the music landscape as The Bee Gees transcended generations and influenced scores of artists who followed them. The Aussie native trio produced 22 studio albums, two live albums and three soundtracks in a career spanning over 40 years.
The multiple Grammy-winning group spun a colorful tapestry of hits from their late ‘60s early charting days until Maurice and Robin’s tragic deaths in 2003 and 2012, respectively. They also penned multiple hits for other artists including Otis Redding, Barbra Streisand, Al Green, Dolly Parton, and more. Their youngest chart-topping brother Andy died in 1988.
Barry was visibly moved throughout the evening. He sang along to the heartfelt tributes and became emotional when Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow presented him with the President’s Merit Award for the Bee Gees.
The two-hour extravaganza ultimately delivered an extraordinary night of song. Check out our picks below for the best three musical moments from “Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute to the Music of the Bee Gees.”
Celine Dion “Immortality”
Over three decades into her career, Celine Dion remains one of the best female vocalists on the planet. The Brothers Gibb penned Celine Dion’s hit “Immortality” for her 1997 Grammy-winning album, Let’s Talk About Love and the song acquired a new meaning after she lost her husband and brother just two days apart last year.
Her performance was arguably the most emotional of the night. First, she verbally honored the memories of Maurice, Robin, Andy, her husband, Rene,’ and her brother Daniel. Then she did a beautiful rendition of the song, accompanied by all three of the Bees Gees via some video magic. At the end, she knelt before Barry and they shared a heartfelt hug. Sniff, sniff. You can catch a clip of the performance in the attached video.
Pentatonix “Too Much Heaven”
If any group can even come close to emulating the breathtaking harmonies of the Bee Gees, it’s Grammy-winning A cappella group Pentatonix. This delicate, romantic ballad from Spirits Having Flown was ranked No. 10 on our AXS list, The 10 Best Bee Gees Songs. Pentatonix delivered a swoon-worthy rendition of this song.
Nobody will ever deliver a Bee Gees song (and his own signature falsetto) better than Barry Gibb. He closed out the night with an amazing medley of “Jive Talkin’,” “You Should Be Dancing,” and “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night Fever. Four decades later, these songs still make us want to put on a jumpsuit, find the nearest disco club and dance the night away. The Bee Gees legacy lives on through Barry Gibb and he remains in a musical league of his own.
Keep up to date on Barry Gibb here at AXS.