First Hit #1: August 9, 1975
It’s natural that Jive Talkin’ would be a song that has great movement, since it’s partially inspired by driving over a bridge. It’s a good driving song, in fact, with the tempo perfectly appropriate for going through the middle of town in your Tempo. It’s also part of a long standing pattern that informs popular music since the beginning, with very few exceptions.
The pattern goes like this, a bunch of black musicians get together and make some innovative, never before heard music. In this case, it’s funk and disco. Then, some white guys come along and make their version. In this case, it’s the Bee Gees, who even borrow the expression Jive Talkin’. Then, whitey gets a huge hit and the genre explodes onto the radio. The Bee Gees were part of that greater push towards disco in the ’70s, but Jive Talkin’ owes a massive debt to Stevie Wonder – the synthesizers could be lifted wholesale from a Wonder record – and the greater genre of funk as a whole. Still, as the Bee Gees themselves point out, music doesn’t really have a race, and they’re lifting from some hugely popular artists with the song. Jive Talkin’ is a fun song, but it’s far from original.