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"Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting)"
Single by Elton John
from the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
B-side "Jack Rabbit" "Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady Again)"
Released 16 July 1973
Format Vinyl record (7")
Recorded Chateau d'Hierouville
Genre Glam Rock
Hard rock
Length 5:24 (album version)
4:12 (single version)
Label MCA (US/Canada)
DJM Records
Writer(s) Elton John, Bernie Taupin
Producer Gus Dudgeon
Elton John singles chronology
"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road track listing
Side One
  1. "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding"
  2. "Candle in the Wind"
  3. "Bennie and the Jets"
Side Two
  1. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
  2. "This Song Has No Title"
  3. "Grey Seal"
  4. "Jamaica Jerk-Off"
  5. "I've Seen That Movie Too"
Side Three
  1. "Sweet Painted Lady"
  2. "The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1903-34)"
  3. "Dirty Little Girl"
  4. "All the Girls Love Alice"
Side Four
  1. "Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n' Roll)"
  2. "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
  3. "Roy Rogers"
  4. "Social Disease"
  5. "Harmony"

"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" (sometimes written "Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)") is a rock song performed by musician Elton John and covered by W.A.S.P., Flotsam and Jetsam, Nickelback, Kid Rock, and The Who.


Background and writing

The song was written by Bernie Taupin and composed by John for his album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and is written in the key of G Major alternating with C Major on the chorus. It is one of John's harder-rocking songs (Like "Grow Some Funk of Your Own" and "The Bitch Is Back"), with a sound similar to bands like The Who and The Rolling Stones (indeed, The Who later covered it in 1991). The song is a complete departure from his past renown as a mellow singer/songwriter.[1]

The song was one of the few John-Taupin songs that Elton said wasn't a "typical piano number." According to John's recollection in Elizabeth Rosenthal's "His Song: The Musical Journey of Elton John," it may have been written on the piano at first, but the song ended up being recorded somewhat in reverse to the normal way he records, with the band putting their tracks down, and Elton overdubbing his piano afterward. (John's typical process at the time, and to a large extent before and since, was to either record the piano first or play along with the band. "Saturday Night ... " represented a departure from that process.) Elton called the song "hard to record."

The song was released in 1973 (see 1973 in music) as the album's first single, and entered the Top Ten in the UK and the Top 20 in the U.S. Despite only being a modest success compared to his other hits, it remains one of his best-known songs.

Composition and inspiration

"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" is a lively throwback to early rock and roll with a glam edge; the lyrics discuss a night out in town in which the narrator plans to "get about as oiled as a diesel train." Taupin has said that the song was meant to be an American rock & roll song, set in Britain, and was inspired by his raucous teenage days, in particular in the fights happening in his local pub, the Aston Arms[2] [3] in Market Rasen. This song was the only song that came out of Elton's time in Jamaica, where he was going to record the album, but only a version of this song was recorded, due to the poor quality of the recording equipment. John described the sound of the Jamaican recording of "Saturday" as sounding like "it had been recorded on the worst transistor radio." This prompted the band to return to France to finish the album. Apart from his contributions, in the Eagle Vision documentary, "Classic Albums: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," Taupin said the song also features what he called of the great "strident" guitar riffs in rock and roll.

Cover versions

The rock band Queen has covered it numerous times in their concerts. In 1988, it was covered on Flotsam and Jetsam's album No Place for Disgrace. In 1991, The Who covered it for the album Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin (a year later, both John and The Who's lead singer Roger Daltrey would perform at the tribute concert for Queen's lead singer Freddie Mercury). In 2003 it was also performed by Nickelback (featuring Kid Rock and Dimebag Darrell) and included in the soundtrack for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle as well as certain copies of The Long Road and as the B-Side of their C.D. single, Gotta Be Somebody. It is also used by the U.S. cable network Showtime as introduction music for its Showtime Championship Boxing series (as the series airs on the first Saturday of each month). An edited version of the song is used at the end of the opening tease for the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, as that series airs on Saturday nights. It is also used as the theme song for TBS's Saturday Night College Football. In the show's open, the song is accompanied by a drumline and cymbalists, while clips of the two teams playing the night's featured game are interspersed throughout. [1]

The song was also covered (both studio and live versions are available) by hardcore punk/crossover band Verbal Abuse.

In November 2003, the song was covered in France by the Star Academy 3 and reached #5 in France, #8 in Belgium (Wallonia) and #37 in Switzerland.[4]

Louisiana State University plays a mash-up version of the song beginning with Elton John's original and ending with Nickelback's rendition at the beginning of every home football game, with highlights from yesteryear played on the big screens in the in stadium during the Elton John portion and new highlights shown during the Nickelback part.

Track listing

All songs written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin


Side one

  1. "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" - 4:12

Side two

  1. "Jack Rabbit" - 1:50
  2. "Whenever You're Ready (We'll Go Steady Again)" - 2:50

Chart & sales performance

In the U.S., the song entered the Billboard Top 40 the week of 11 August 1973, rose to #12, and stayed in the Top 40 for nine weeks. It was the only single by Elton John that failed to make the Top 10 in the three-year, 13-hit period between May 1972 ("Rocket Man") and October 1975 ("Island Girl"). It was the only Elton John single that failed to go gold or platinum in the three-year, 11-hit period between December 1972 ("Crocodile Rock") and October 1975 ("Island Girl").

In the UK, the song entered the Music Week Top 50 the week of 7 July 1973, rose to #7, and stayed in the charts for 9 weeks.

Chart (1973) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 12
UK Singles Chart 7


  1. ^ Classic Rock Gold (liner notes).
  2. ^ Aston Arms Pub - On This Very Spot
  3. ^ Elton town in yob ban | The Sun |HomePage|News
  4. ^ "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" by Star Academy 3, in French, Belgian (Wallonia) and Swiss Singles Charts (Retrieved June 19, 2008)


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