Top 30 Saturday Songs
After a long week, Saturday beckons.
It's a day designed for slowly rolling out of bed at whatever hour one chooses, followed by leisurely plans before gearing up for a night out on the town. Work is behind you, and you still have another full day ahead to rest and recuperate before the grind begins again.
There might not be another group of people who appreciate Saturdays more than rock musicians, seeing as it's one of the busiest nights of the week for live music and general rock 'n' roll style debauchery. So, of course, the legend of Saturday and all it entails has made its way into many song lyrics.
Saturday only comes around once a week — if only it could be more — but when it does, we've got your playlist covered with the Top 30 Saturday Songs below.
"The Saturday Kids" is not to be confused with Mott the Hoople's "Saturday Gigs," a 1974 single featuring the one-off work of guitarist Mick Ronson. This bonus track from a 2006 reissue of The Hoople finds Ian Hunter reminiscing about previous, more hopeful years — "Do you remember all those dreams?" — while recounting some of the band's history: "The dudes with the news and the dudes was we," Hunter sings, referencing their 1970 hit "All the Young Dudes." (Allison Rapp)
29. Crowded House, "Saturday Sun"
From: Intriguer (2010)
Crowded House always had a melancholy complexity that belied their own pop goals. Never was there so much to be melancholy or complex about, however, as in the years after co-founder Paul Hester's 2005 suicide. The purpled, impressionistic Intriguer was their second release without him, and it found Crowded House turning like a flower, slowly, toward the light. You hear it as Nick Seymour's just-right fuzzy bass line drives "Saturday Sun," a song that recalls their heyday while adding a dash of Sonic Youth's grinding, brilliant The Eternal. They were never going to be the same, but it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. (Nick DeRiso)
28. T. Rex, "Saturday Night"
From: Dance in the Midnight (1983)
T. Rex had already documented their love for this magical evening in 1974's “I Like to Boogie,” before some additional thoughts on the topic arrived with the underrated “Saturday Night.” Mothballed in the years following the death of frontman Marc Bolan, this '70s-era gem finally saw the light on a posthumous collection. Bolan details a cast of characters – including Neon Henry with the flashing head – who have come out for the festivities. His girl unfortunately misses the party, but that can’t dull the electric groove of “Saturday Night.” (Matt Wardlaw)
27. The Grateful Dead, "One More Saturday Night"
From: Europe '72 (1972)
This stands apart in the Grateful Dead's vast catalog as one of their less common straight-forward rock songs. "One More Saturday Night" initially appeared on Dead set lists in 1971, then on a solo album by lead singer Bob Weir before the definitive version arrived six months later on Europe '72. (Every member of the Grateful Dead, save for Pigpen McKernan, appeared on the Weir studio version of "One More Saturday Night," as well.) Together, they deliver a vigorous addition to any weekend playlist: "Temperature keeps risin', everybody gettin' high / Come the rockin' stroke of midnight, the place is gonna fly." (Rapp)
26. Misfits, "Saturday Night"
From: Famous Monsters (1999)
The Michale Graves-fronted Misfits of the late '90s were a caricature of the late-'70s horror-punk progenitors, a branding exercise wrapped in corpse paint and devillocks. But when they toned down the B-movie shlock and played up the first-gen rock 'n' roll pastiche, they could still create magic. "Saturday Night" was the standout track off 1999's Famous Monsters, named after the horror/sci-fi magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. It's a sugary, wistful death-waltz that wouldn't sound out of place on the Grease soundtrack — as long as you ignore the lyrics, which are either about heartbreak or murder, depending on how charitably you want to interpret Graves. (Bryan Rolli)
25. Bon Jovi, "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night"
From: Cross Road (1994)
"Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" is the kind of blue-collar pseudo-heartland rock anthem that Bon Jovi frequently attempted and rarely pulled off before. Jon Bon Jovi's tales of the jobless, car-dwelling Jim and teenage prostitute Billie Jean are broad but effective, and he sells them through sheer conviction and vocal magnetism. Jangly acoustic guitars, smoky organ flourishes and a tasteful, bluesy solo from Richie Sambora all make "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" a genuinely mature triumph, foreshadowing the moody, grown-up sound of These Days, released one year later. (Rolli)
24. The Specials, "Friday Night, Saturday Morning"
From: 1981 Single
A true ode to the weekend routine, the Specials' "Friday Night, Saturday Morning" takes listeners through roughly 24 hours of step-by-step merry-making: "Out of bed at 8AM, out my head by half past 10 / Out with mates and dates and friends, that's what I do at weekends." No Saturday night out would be complete, of course, without the obligatory snack stop on the way home ("hope the chip shop isn't closed, 'cuz their pies are really nice"), and a smidge of regret ("wish I had lipstick on my shirt, instead of piss stains on my shoes"). The song was released as a B-side to the Specials' 1981 chart-topping U.K. hit, "Ghost Town." (Rapp)
23. The Drifters, "Saturday Night at the Movies"
From: The Good Life With the Drifters (1965)
Saturday night doesn't always have to include loud and crazy fun. Sometimes it's just as good to catch a flick with your best girl: "Who cares what picture you see, when you're huggin' with your baby in the last row of the balcony?" The Drifters' "Saturday Night at the Movies," was written by the famed husband-and-wife songwriting duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Rapp)
22. Willie Nelson, "Texas on a Saturday Night"
From: Half Nelson (1985)
Country singer Mel Tillis joined Willie Nelson to make the case that there’s no place better than the Lone Star State – especially if it’s the weekend. Nelson made a big impression, showing up in a pickup truck that appeared to have been “hit by a bulldozer on both sides,” according to his longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon. The initial meeting went well and everyone got really stoned before they agreed it was time to work on the song. Tillis had chartered a limo, but Nelson wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, he opted to climb back in that same battered pickup to follow the group to the studio. (Wardlaw)
21. The Hollies, "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress"
From: Distant Light (1971)
This was never supposed to be a Hollies song, which accounts for why it sounds nothing like, you know, the Hollies. Allan Clarke had planned on making "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" his debut single in a parallel solo career. The rest of the band said he could have one career or the other, but not both. A disgruntled Clarke left, only to see his rough-hewn swamp-rocking take, essentially a demo, shoot to No. 2 in the U.S. as a Hollies single. "I remember the record company calling me up to tell me we had a hit, and I thought 'Great!' – until I found out they were talking about 'Long Cool Woman,' not one of my own records!" Clarke later lamented. He quickly returned after just one album away. (DeRiso)
Imagine if every day of the week was a person — a woman, more specifically. In "Saturday's Child," a song written by Bread frontman David Gates, Micky Dolenz runs through the days of the week, personifying each of them: Monday's is "low down," Tuesday's "had a dream," etc. Saturday's is ultimately deemed the best: "Seven days of the week made to choose from, but only one is right for me." Never released as a single, "Saturday's Child" was a memorable part of the Monkees' debut album. (Rapp)
At first listen, you might not have realized that Billy Joel’s “Captain Jack” was about a drug dealer. But in hindsight, the sweeping psychedelic calliope-like tone of the keyboards in the chorus was an easy giveaway – and then there were the lyrics. “Captain Jack” was the closing song on Piano Man, a seven-minute epic that still had Axl Rose curious years later when he got a chance to talk to Joel about it. Joel stressed that “Captain Jack” was an anti-drug song, written while living in the projects and watching his friends buy heroin from the local dealer. He eventually grew tired of playing it, saying “Captain Jack,” hadn't aged well and that its repetitive chord structure was boring. (Wardlaw)
18. Earth, Wind & Fire, "Saturday Nite"
From: Spirit (1976)
Earth, Wind & Fire deliver their customary funked-out goodness. Maurice White and Philip Bailey share vocal duties on a track boasting powerful horns and an infectious dance groove: “Saturday night's your curtain call, you found your place after all. I saw a face now in the crowd, sayin' nothin', yet talking loud.” We dare you not to dance to this one. (Corey Irwin)
17. The Jam, "Saturday's Kids"
From: Setting Sons (1979)
Paul Weller originally intended for Setting Sons to be a concept album detailing the adventures of three boyhood friends who reconvene later in life. This theme was largely abandoned, but "Saturday's Kids" still depicts the energy of youthful relationships and the wild ride that is coming of age. "Saturday's boys live life with insults, drink lots of beer and wait for half time results," he sings. Of course, every Saturday boy requires an equally wayward partner: "Saturday's girls work in Tescos and Woolworths, wear cheap perfume 'cause its all they can afford." (Rapp)
16. The Commodores, "Saturday Night"
From: In the Pocket (1981)
“Saturday, I've been livin' for the weekend, girl – to let all my inhibitions go wild,” begins this smooth, sultry tune. Featured on the Commodores’ final album before the departure of Lionel Richie, “Saturday Night” is classic baby-making music. Other choice lines include: "Tonight we'll be full of ecstasy, 'cause it's Saturday night in our lives again.” (Irwin)
15. The Cure, "10:15 Saturday Night"
From: Three Imaginary Boys (1979)
It's fair to say that without this desperately sad song, the Cure might never have happened. Robert Smith wrote it as an "utterly morose" 16 year old, cooling his heels on what should be the week's most exciting night. (For an idea of how bored he really was, the drip-drip-drip-dripping faucet that centers "10:15 Saturday Night" was absolutely real.) He created a Hammond-driven demo before the Cure made a crude studio pass at it, and Chris Parry was impressed enough to sign them to his just-founded label. "10:15 Saturday Night" ended up as the first song on the first Cure album, and remained a key setlist favorite for decades. (DeRiso)
14. Tom Waits, "(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night"
From: The Heart of Saturday Night (1974)
If there's anyone who could capture the spirit of Saturdays gone by, it's Tom Waits. "Tell me is the crack of the pool balls, neon buzzin'?" he asks. "Is it the barmaid that's smilin' from the corner of her eye?" Minimalist instrumentation and Waits' languid vocal add to the feeling of nostalgia. Waits would later say the track was in part a tribute to the novelist Jack Kerouac, one of America's most prolific raconteurs of the Beat generation. The heart of Saturday night is out there somewhere. (Rapp)
13. Graham Parker, "Saturday Nite Is Dead"
From: Squeezing Out Sparks (1979)
Years after it was released, Graham Parker described what he was aiming for with Squeezing Out Sparks. "I was kind of attempting a concept album about the suburbs of England," he said, "or at least trying to capture a vague approximation of suburban life." Parker felt like he hit the mark with "Saturday Nite Is Dead," with a title that speaks for itself. Partying it up on a Saturday night might be good fun, but it's a fleeting experience. "I used to know a good place to go," he sings, "but now it's nothing like it was then." (Rapp)
12. John Fogerty, "Almost Saturday Night"
From: John Fogerty (1975)
The year after Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1972 split, frontman John Fogerty recorded his first solo album as the Blue Ridge Rangers. In 1975 he released his first proper solo album, the self-titled John Fogerty, a roots-rock tribute to the music that inspired him in the past, including three covers. But the highlights were a pair of new originals that kicked off the LP sides: "Rockin' All Over the World" and this classic waiting-for-the-weekend song that barely contains Fogerty's anticipation. Dave Edmunds later had a modest hit with "Almost Saturday Night." (Michael Gallucci)
11. Grand Funk Railroad, "We're an American Band"
From: We're an American Band (1973)
As road songs go, Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band” is one of the best. From spending time with “sweet, sweet Connie” to playing poker with blues legend Freddie King, life on tour was rarely dull for these guys. Eventually, it all came back to a Saturday night at the hotel where a clutch of female fans waited for the band guys to return from that evening’s gig: “They said, ‘Come on dudes, let's get it on’ – and we proceeded to tear that hotel down.” There’s no additional information on how many television sets might have also been sacrificed on that particular night. (Wardlaw)
One of the standout tracks from Aladdin Sane finds David Bowie embracing a classic doo-wop song structure. But this is still Bowie, so lyrically things go far beyond the typical boy-meets-girl story. "It's about a future where people have forgotten how to make love, so they go back onto video-films that they have kept from this century,” he once explained. “This is after a catastrophe of some kind, and some people are living on the streets and some people are living in domes, and they borrow from one another and try to learn how to pick up the pieces." (Irwin)
Long before the World Wide Web existed, Def Leppard enjoyed their own WWW on "High 'n' Dry (Saturday Night)": whiskey, wine and women. Throw in some scorching riffs, firecracking yelps and tough-guy rhythmic strut, and you've got all the necessary ingredients for a legendary rager. "High 'n' Dry" captures Def Leppard at the sweet spot amid their transition from AC/DC acolytes to pop-metal monoliths: nervy and unpretentious, but still boasting the rich production and supersized hooks that would turn them into superstars in a few short years. (Rolli)
8. Prince, "Little Red Corvette"
From: 1999 (1982)
Prince’s first Top 10 hit in the U.S. was inspired by a car, but not the titular make, model or color. "Prince was always borrowing my car because it was awesome. It was a '64 Mercury Montclair, pink and white, and it was just the perfect cruise-mobile on a beautiful day in Minneapolis,” Revolution band member Lisa Coleman later told the BBC. She also noted that Prince got amorous with Denise Matthews, better known as Vanity, in the car’s backseat. “They probably had a wonderful moment of afterglow, which is when he got the seed of the idea.” Soon, the world was singing along: “But it was Saturday night, I guess that makes it all right / and you say, "What have I got to lose?" (Irwin)
7. Billy Joel, "Piano Man"
From: Piano Man (1973)
Billy Joel decamped from New York to Los Angeles after the failure of his debut album Cold Spring Harbor, picking up gigs at a piano bar under the name Bill Martin as he fought to get out of his contract with Family Productions. Those wilderness years formed the basis of "Piano Man," a masterful character study that evokes both middle-class ennui and communal weekend escapism, often in the same line. It's a drinking anthem about the inherent sadness of drinking anthems, with characters based on real people Joel encountered every weekend at his incognito gig. He was no doubt happy to leave behind this character-building phase of his career once Piano Man gave him his first semi-breakthrough. (Rolli)
Lynyrd Skynyrd's late frontman Ronnie Van Zant was a gun owner with something important to say about guns. He hoped “Saturday Night Special” would encourage a crackdown on handguns that were being sold on the black market in the ‘70s for as little as $20. After detailing separate situations of impulsive violence, Van Zant made the point as the closing moments of this song drew near: “Handguns are made for killin,' they ain't no good for nothin' else – and if you like to drink your whiskey, you might even shoot yourself.” He didn't get his wish to have these guns dumped in the ocean, but “Saturday Night Special” found an audience and became a Top 10 hit. (Wardlaw)
Other songs on our list may highlight the upbeat, celebratory aspect of fun Saturday nights, but this is more of a pensive lament. The song’s protagonist is looking back on a former relationship and evenings spent with his lover, wondering how it all fell apart. “Whatever happened to Saturday night, finding a sweetheart and holding her tight?” sings Don Henley, who co-wrote the song. Featured on the sophomore Eagles album, "Saturday Night" was never released as a single and ultimately became a rarity on their concert playlists. (Irwin)
4. Sam Cooke, "Another Saturday Night"
From: 1963 single
Sam Cooke probably has nobody but himself to blame for his lonely weekend. He dismissively refers to women as "chicks" and brushes off a friend's willing sister for resembling "a cat named Frankenstein." But it's hard to dislike the song's melodic buoyancy and Cooke's exuberant performance, even as he laments: "Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody. I got some money 'cause I just got paid. How I wish I had someone to talk to, I'm in an awful way." Eleven years after Cooke took his self-penned song to No. 10, Cat Stevens went to No. 6 with it. (Gallucci)
3. Bay City Rollers, "Saturday Night"
From: Rollin' (1974)
You won't find many nuances in songs about Saturday night. Why would you? It's the one time of the week when it's acceptable to let loose without a care in the world. The best Saturday night songs follow suit. Take Bay City Rollers' immortal "Saturday Night," which begins with a chant spelling out the day of the week and nearly capsizes with a stuttering chorus repeating the day. The Scottish group had a short shelf life in the mid-'70s – their last chart hit arrived in 1977 – but their only No. 1 remains one of the all-time great tributes to the frivolous joys of S-s-s-saturday night. (Gallucci)
2. Chicago, "Saturday in the Park"
From: Chicago V (1972)
Inspiration for this sun-speckled triumph came – where else? – after a stroll in the park. Robert Lamm found himself among "steel drum players, singers, dancers and jugglers" in New York City, bandmate Walt Parazaider later remembered, and "Saturday in the Park" just came rushing out. At first, Lamm only provided Italian-sounding gibberish after mentioning Italian songs and "Eh Cumpari," but later he began singing the entire first line from Julius La Rosa's 1953 favorite in concert. Fans of The Godfather franchise will remember it from Part III. (DeRiso)
One of Elton John's toughest songs appeared on one of his most reflective albums as a tribute to the American rock 'n' roll he grew up on. Composed with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" – like another Goodbye Yellow Brick Road track, "Bennie and the Jets" – also nods to the glam scene that was popular in England at the time. There isn't an ounce of depth to the song; it's all amps-to-11 rock 'n' roll with John pounding the piano like he's Jerry Lee Lewis steering toward redemption but sidelines to "get about as oiled as a diesel train" instead. (Gallucci)