If you cast your mind back several months, before Advent and Christmas got in the way, you may recall that I was working my way through the days of the week as subjects for song titles. So far, I’ve given you selections for Monday, Tuesday and Friday, in no particular order, and I thought I should start filling in the gaps. I think I may have picked an easy one this week, as I’m going for: Saturday. It probably won’t take you long to think of a few Saturday songs, and you may well find that I’ve gone for some obvious choices, but hopefully there will be one or two lesser known songs amongst these. Let’s get one of those obvious ones out of the way first, as it is a rousing place to begin:
I elected to go with that scene from the Rocketman movie for the sheer exuberance of the number, and for the superb performances of Kit Connor, as the older version of young Reg, morphing into the star of the movie, Taron Egerton. If you haven’t seen it I can recommend the film: it’s a fun watch, with some great music (no surprise there, then). If you’re hankering for the Elton John original you can find it here, though. As I’m sure you know, the track featured on Elton’s seventh album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which was a double album released in October 1973, topping both the US and UK album charts, and selling more than 30m copies to date. It is regarded by many as his musical peak, though my preference is for the album that preceded it, Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player, or perhaps the one just called Elton John, or maybe Tumbleweed Connection. His earlier albums were his best, I think! This song was released as a single in June 1973, ahead of the album, and reached #7 in the UK and #12 in the US. There have been a number of cover versions of this one, notably by Queen and The Who, but don’t mention the one by Nickelback with Kid Rock – it’s awful!
Another oldie for you next:
This song was written by Sam Cooke while he was touring in England, and was staying in a hotel where no female guests were allowed. It was released in April 1963: it reached #10 on the main US chart and was #1 on the R&B list for a week. In the UK, the song peaked at # 23. It was also included on the album Ain’t That Good News, which was released in February 1964, reaching #34 in the US. It was the final album released in his lifetime: he was shot dead in a motel in December of that year, in circumstances which were finally ruled to be ‘justifiable homicide,’ though many dispute that to this day. You may well know the 1974 cover version by Cat Stevens, which was a #6 single hit in the US and #19 in the UK. It made #1 in Canada, though – twice.
I thought I’d go into more reflective mode for my next selection this week. It is an audio-only job, but I love this song and couldn’t leave it out:
That is the title track of Tom Waits’ second album The Heart Of Saturday Night, released in October 1974. Whilst later albums have performed better in the charts, in keeping with the loyal following he has built up over the years, this album managed to reach #201 in the US but didn’t chart anywhere else. The song was written as a tribute to Jack Kerouac, and I think it captures well the feel of a Kerouac novel. I didn’t really get into his music until much later: to me, he was known as the name of the songwriter who gave us Ol’ ’55, a track on The Eagles’ 1974 album On The Border, and as the writer of this song, which I knew from Shawn Colvin’s version on her 1994 album Cover Girl. I’m a big fan of Shawn, and her version of this is lovely, but I don’t think you can really beat the raw, late night feel of the original.
When I included a Bon Jovi song in my New Year selections I remarked that it came as a surprise to me that I hadn’t ever played them before. Not that I plan these, or anything, but I knew I would have an excuse to play this one too:
Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night is a song about how people can remain optimistic even when everything in their life is going wrong. It was originally released as one of two new songs for the band’s October 1994 ‘best of’ album, Cross Road, which reached #8 in the US but went to #1 in the UK and many other countries. This track then became a single in February 1995, peaking at #10 in the UK, but it didn’t chart in the US (I’m guessing it wasn’t a single there, as I would have expected it to make the chart if it had been).
I thought I’d go next with one which for me is a rock classic:
Drive-In Saturday is a track on David Bowie’s album Aladdin Sane, released in April 1973, which went to #1 in the UK but only made #17 in the US. This track was released as a single in Europe to tie in with the album’s release, and reached #3 in the UK. It wasn’t released in the US. I can remember buying the album when it first came out, from the proceeds of my Easter holiday job working as the day porter in a local hotel in Folkestone, where I was living with Mum out of uni term times – the hotel was a strange place, but the money was useful, I was fed three good meals a day there and the chambermaid was really cute!
To quote Monty Python again, ‘and now for something completely different” –
That was the title track from Brad Paisley’s June 2009 album American Saturday Night, which reached #2 in the main US albums chart and #1 on the Country listings. It also peaked at #4 in Canada and on the UK Country chart. The song lists various foreign-themed items, using each as examples of the cultural diversity in the United States, and in the last verse there is a reference to the country’s acceptance of foreign immigrants. Call me a cynic, but I’m not sure how much a country music audience would have believed of that, or related to it. This track was released as a single in November 2009, peaking at #67 in the US and #66 in Canada, whilst reaching #2 and #1 on the respective Country charts.
Taking another step into a different genre, I’m banking on this one being unknown to many of you:
Bowling For Soup come from Texas, and were formed in 1994. Their name is an adaptation of the title of a Steve Martin comedy sketch, a spoof gameshow called Bowling For Shit – they changed the name so as not to offend their grannies! They have made ten albums, seven of which have hit the UK albums charts, six of them the American chart. They are one of those bands who have done better here than in their own country: nothing stellar, but they have a loyal following here, attracted to their less than serious take on life and their catchy tunes. All of their albums have achieved higher placings in the UK than in the US. This is typical of what they do, and the video is very much what fans would expect from them. They have never had pretensions towards being great musical artists: with them, the name of the game is fun, and there are many stories about some of their antics, especially during tours. This was a track on their album Fishin’ For Woos, which was released in April 2011, and reached #66 in the UK and #189 in the US. It was released as a single, but didn’t make the charts. I still think it is a lot of fun, though.
To round things off today I’m taking us back almost to where we started. The second of this week’s selections was from 1963, this one is from 1964:
Saturday Night At The Movies was released as a single in late 1964, and reached #18 in the US. It made the UK chart the following year, peaking at #35 in April 1965. It was re-released in the UK in 1972, and fared much better second time around, reaching #3. It is for me one of those timeless classics of pop music – I loved it the first time I heard it and still do. The Drifters were aptly named, given that members seemed to drift in and out almost at will, but they have left us with some great records – as well as this one, I count Save The Last Dance for Me and Under the Boardwalk as favourites.
Hopefully you’ll agree from my selections that Saturday is fertile ground for song titles – there are others I could have included, but I felt I ought to stop at eight! Apologies if I’ve missed something obvious, or that is one of your favourites. You didn’t really think I’d be including Whigfield, The Spice Girls, The Bay City Rollers or The Carpenters, though – did you?
Have an enjoyable week and try to steer clear of nasty viruses. See you again soon 😊