Jive Talkin'

"Jive Talkin'"
Single by Bee Gees
from the album Main Course
B-side "Wind of Change"
Released May 1975
Format Vinyl record (7" 45 RPM)
  • 3:44 (album version)
  • 3:33 (single version)
Label RSO
Producer(s) Arif Mardin
Certification Gold (RIAA), Silver (BPI)
Bee Gees singles chronology
"Jive Talkin'"
"Nights on Broadway"
Saturday Night Fever track listing

"Jive Talkin'" is a song by the Bee Gees, released as a single in May 1975 by RSO Records. This was the lead single from the album Main Course and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100; it also reached the top-five on the UK Singles Chart in the middle of 1975. Largely recognised as the group's "comeback" song, it was their first US top-10 hit since "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (1971).

Origins and recording

The song was originally called "Drive Talking". The song's rhythm was modelled after the sound their car made crossing the Julia Tuttle Causeway each day from Biscayne Bay to Criteria Studios in Miami.[4]

Recording for "Jive Talkin'" took place on 30 January and 2 February 1975. The scratchy guitar intro was done by Barry and the funky bass line by Maurice. The pulsing synthesiser bass line, which featured in the final recording, was (along with the pioneering work of Stevie Wonder) one of the earliest uses of "synth bass" on a pop recording. It was overdubbed by keyboardist Blue Weaver using a then state-of-the-art ARP 2600, which producer Arif Mardin had brought in for the recording of the Main Course album.[5] Weaver stated, "Usually Maurice would play bass guitar, but he was away from the studio that night. And when Maurice came back, we let him hear it and suggested he re-record the bass line on his bass guitar". "I really liked the synth bass lines", Maurice said. "I overdubbed certain sections to add bass extra emphasis".

"Jive Talkin'" was also influenced by "You're the One" (written by Sly Stone) by Little Sister.[6]

According to Maurice, while hearing this rhythmic sound, "Barry didn't notice that he's going 'Ji-Ji Jive Talkin'', thinking of the dance, 'You dance with your eyes'...that's all he had...exactly 35 mph...that's what we got." He goes on to say, "We played it to [producer] Arif [Mardin], and he went 'Do you know what "Jive Talkin'" means?' And we said 'Well yeah, it's, ya know, you're dancing.' He says 'NO...it's a black expression for bullshitting.' And we went 'Oh, Really?!? Jive talkin', you're telling me lies...' and changed it." Maurice goes on to describe how Arif gave them "the groove, the tempo, everything." Robin Gibb then goes on to mention that, because they were English, they were less self-conscious about going into the "no-go areas", referring to musical styles that were more black in styles, etc. He then said, "We didn't think that there was any 'no go' areas, it's music!" Barry's guitar strumming has a smoother version of Kool and the Gang's signature chicka-chicka and funky Nassau version of KC and the Sunshine Band's Caribbean strumming. The song's rhythm riff perhaps from "Shirley & Company's "Shame, Shame, Shame", with a prominent use of the Bo Diddley beat.[7]

"Jive Talkin'" is a stuttering song like The Who's "My Generation", David Bowie's "Changes", Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets" and Bob Seger's "Katmandu".[6]

After hearing "Jive Talkin'", Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, and co-producer Dashut built up the song "Second Hand News" (released on the band's Rumours in 1977) with four audio tracks of electric guitar and the use of chair percussion to evoke Celtic rock.[8]


Upon its release to radio stations, the single was delivered in a plain white cover, with no immediate indication of what the song's name was or who sang it. The DJs would only find out what the song was and who played it when it was placed on the turntable; RSO did provide the song with a label on the record itself. It was the second time in the band's career that this strategy had been employed to get airplay for their music, after a similar tactic had popularised their debut US single "New York Mining Disaster 1941" in 1967. The song approximates the synthesised propulsion of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition".[6]

The original studio version was included on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, as it was used in a scene that was cut from the final film. Later pressings of the album used the live version of "Jive Talkin' " from the Bee Gees 1977 album, Here at Last... Bee Gees... Live, due to contractual distribution changes. The CD version restores the use of the studio version.

Chart performance

Weekly charts

Chart (1975) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[9] 14
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[10] 24
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[11] 24
Canada (CHUM)[12] 1
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[13] 27
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[14] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[15] 23
Ireland (IRMA)[16] 5
Italy (FIMI)[17] 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[18] 23
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[19] 26
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[20] 4
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[21] 5
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 1
US Billboard Hot Disco Singles[22] 9
US Cash Box[23] 1
US Record World[24] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (1975) Position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[25] 69
Canada (RPM Top 200 Singles)[26] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[27] 11
US Cash Box[28] 43

Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[29] Silver 250,000^
United States (RIAA)[30] Gold 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Cover versions

See also


  1. Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs : 1975". Columbia University. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 'Jive Talkin now continues on from 'Nights on Broadway' as another funk song, but there is no falsetto.
  2. DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James; George-Warren, Holly, eds. (1992). The Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely New Reviews : Every Essential Album, Every Essential Artist (3rd ed.). Random House. p. 833. ISBN 0-679-73729-4. Collecting the best of the Gibb brothers' born-again funk phase (like the itchy "Jive Talkin' ") and some authentic dance-floor jams (like the Trammps' blazing "Disco Inferno"), Saturday Night Fever deserves its preeminent status.
  3. Guarisco, Donald A. "Jive Talkin' – Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  4. "The Bee Gees – 35 Years of Music". Billboard. 113 (12): 22. 24 March 2001. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. Dede, Mehmet (2001). "Jive Talkin' with Arif MARDIN". The Light Millennium. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  6. 1 2 3 Meyer, David N. (2013). The Bee Gees: The Biography. Da Capo Press.
  7. Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 232.
  8. Fleetwood Mac (2001). Making of Rumours (DVD-Audio (Rumours)). Warner Bros.
  9. "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  10. "Ultratop.be – Bee Gees – Jive Talkin'" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  11. "Radio 2 Top 30 : 16 augustus 1975" (in Dutch). Top 30. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  12. CHART NUMBER 966 – Saturday, July 26, 1975 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 November 2006). CHUM.
  13. "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 4013." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  14. "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4019a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  15. "Offiziellecharts.de – Bee Gees – Jive Talkin'". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  16. "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Jive Talking". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  17. "Indice per Interprete: B" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  18. "Nederlandse Top 40 – Bee Gees - Jive search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  19. "Dutchcharts.nl – Bee Gees – Jive Talkin'" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  20. "Charts.org.nz – Bee Gees – Jive Talkin'". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  21. "Archive Chart: 1975-08-02" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  22. 1 2 "Main Course – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  23. CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending AUGUST 9, 1975 at the Wayback Machine (archived 14 August 2012). Cash Box magazine.
  24. RECORD WORLD 1975 at the Wayback Machine (archived 1 August 2004). Record World. Geocities.com.
  25. "Forum - ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1970s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  26. "Top Singles – Volume 24, No. 14, December 27, 1975". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  27. "Top 100 Hits for 1975". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  28. The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1975 at the Wayback Machine (archived 19 August 2012). Cash Box magazine.
  29. "British single certifications – Bee Gees – Jive Talking". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Jive Talking in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  30. "American single certifications – Bee Gees – Jive Talkin_". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
"One of These Nights" by the Eagles
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
9 August 1975 – 16 August 1975 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Fallin' in Love" by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Preceded by
"Please Mr. Please" by Olivia Newton-John
US Cash Box number-one single
16 August 1975 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Someone Saved My Life Tonight" by Elton John
Canadian RPM number-one single
9 August 1975 – 16 August 1975 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"I'm Not in Love" by 10cc
Preceded by
"Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain & Tennille
Canadian CHUM number-one single
26 July 1975 – 23 August 1975 (five weeks)
Succeeded by
"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)"
by James Taylor
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