"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.
Spirits Having Flown is the fifteenth album released by the Bee Gees. It was the group's first album after their collaboration on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The album's first three tracks were released as singles and all reached No. 1 in the US, giving the Bee Gees an unbroken run of six US chart-toppers and tying a record set by The Beatles. It was the first Bee Gees album to make the UK top 40 in ten years (not counting the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever), as well as being their first and only UK No. 1 album. It has sold 20 million copies worldwide.
Spirits Having Flown marked the tail end of the band's most successful era, prior to a severe downturn in the early 1980s when they would endure a near-total radio blackout (particularly in America) that Robin Gibb would refer to as "censorship" and "evil" in interviews.
The Bee Gees had been effectively typecast as a disco group after Saturday Night Fever, and in a 1978 interview Barry remarked "People think we're just about disco now. Of course that's not true. If you look at the SNF soundtrack, there's some dance music, but we also have ballads like More Than A Woman." In an attempt to counter this typecasting, the first single from Spirits Having Flown was the ballad "Too Much Heaven". The horn section from Chicago (James Pankow, Walt Parazaider and Lee Loughnane) made a guest appearance on this album. At the time, they were next door working on the Chicago album Hot Streets. Thus the Bee Gees would return the favour as they appeared on Chicago's song "Little Miss Lovin'" and their keyboardist Blue Weaver appeared on "No Tell Lover". The Bee Gees also recorded "Desire" for the album but it was rejected and instead released as a solo single by their brother Andy.
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).
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 the US, it would become the fifth of six consecutive #1s, tying the record with the Beatles for most consecutive #1s in the US.
In 1979, NBC aired The Bee Gees Special which showed how the sound effect for the explosion was created. Barry cupped his hands over a microphone and made an exploding sound with his mouth. 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.