Stephen Stills’ surprising guest turn on a Bee Gees smash hit: ‘I knew it was going to be a monster’

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Crosby Stills and Nash was at work on the long-awaited follow up to 1970’s Deja Vu, when Stephen Stills ducked across the hall to take a guest turn on a song that would become a multi-chart smash: The Bee Gee’s 1976 single “You Should Be Dancing.”

Yes, listen closely: that’s Stills on timbales. For years, it would occupy a footnote as the most successful song ever to feature Stills. Not Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” his own “Love the One You’re With,” and certainly nothing from the album that would become 1976’s CSN — though Stills’ “Fair Game” did get reach the Top 50. Instead, it was this track.

Even as CSN (which also featured Graham Nash and David Crosby) was peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard album charts (and Nash’s “Just a Song Before I Go” was racing to the Top 10), the Bee Gees had helped define a new dance craze in disco — with an early assist from an unlikely source.

“You Should Be Dancing,” released as part of the Bee Gees album Children of the World and showcased in the film “Saturday Night Fever,” would hit No. 1 on the Hot 100, top the dance club play charts, go Top 5 in the UK and even reach No. 4 on Billboard’s R&B list. Stills says he was certain, even before the project arrived in stores, that the Bee Gees were onto something special.

“We were in the studio next door making a CSN album,” Stills tells the Independent, “and David was all full of himself and saying this is going to be the album of the year. I went, ‘No it’s not, that’s being recorded across the hall,’ ’cause I’d heard some of that ‘Saturday Night Fever’ stuff and I knew it was totally unique and going to be a monster. So I played timbales and for a long time that was my only platinum single.”

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