"Tragedy" is a song released by the Bee Gees, written by Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb, included on their 1979 album Spirits Having Flown. The single reached #1 in the UK in February 1979 and repeated the feat the following month on the US Billboard Hot 100. Though not originally in Saturday Night Fever, it has subsequently been added to the musical score of the West End version of the movie-musical. The song knocked "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor off the top spot in the US for two weeks before that song again returned to #1 for an additional week.

In 1998 the song again reached the top of the UK singles chart, this time in the form of a cover version by Steps. In 1979, NBC aired The Bee Gees Specialwhich showed how the sound effect for the explosion was created. Barry cupped his hands over a microphone and made an exploding sound. Several of these sounds were then mixed together creating one large boom heard on the record. The song is also playable on Rock Band 3.

Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb wrote this song and "Too Much Heaven" in an afternoon off from making the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie in which they were starring. In the same evening they wrote "Shadow Dancing" which was performed by Andy Gibb (and reached #1 in the US).[2]


 [hide*1 Charts and certifications

Charts and certifications[edit]Edit

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Chart (1979) Peak


Australia (Kent Music Report) 2
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[3] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[4] 3
Brazil 1
Canadian RPM Disco Singles[5] 7
Canadian RPM Top Singles[6] 1
Chile 2
China 2
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles[7] 1
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) 7
France (SNEP)[8] 1
Germany (Media Control Charts)[9] 2
Irish Singles Chart[10] 1
Italy (FIMI)[11] 1
Japan (Oricon) 32
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[12] 4
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[13] 5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[15] 4
South African Chart[16] 2
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[17] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[18] 6
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[19] 2
UK (Official Charts Company)[20] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[21] 1
US BillboardHot Dance Club Play[21] 22
US BillboardHot R&B Singles[21] 44
US Record World Singles[7] 1

Sales and certifications[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Platinum 150,000^
France (SNEP)[23] Gold 821,000[24]
United Kingdom (BPI)[25] Gold 500,000^
United States (RIAA)[26] Platinum 2,000,000^
Total certified sales: 3,150,000

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Steps version[edit]Edit

Main article: Heartbeat (Steps song)

In 1998, Steps covered "Tragedy", releasing it as a double A-side with "Heartbeat". It debuted at #2 on the UK Singles Chart, before climbing to the top spot in its eighth week, and achieving platinum status.


Chart (1998) Peak position
UK (Official Charts Company) 1

Other versions[edit]Edit

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