25 Songs About Saturday Night

Juli Thanki | January 4th, 2010

A lifetime spent listening to music has taught me a lot about Saturday night. It is, for example, all right for fighting or going to the movies, not to mention a good night to simultaneously keep dancing to the rock and roll and work on one’s spelling, and those are just the pop songs. Nobody does a Saturday night song quite like a country singer, though, so here are 25 of ‘em.

Honorable mentions: Brad Paisley, “American Saturday Night,” Don Rich, “Saturday Night,” Jo Dee Messina, “Saturday Night,” John Fogerty, “Almost Saturday Night,” Robyn Ludwick, “Saturday Night,” Rodney Hayden, “Living Everyday Like It’s Saturday Night,” Scott Miller & The Commonwealth, “Ciderville Saturday Night.”

  • 25. “Songs About Saturday Night” – Aaron Watson

    A song about a country singer who “never got the big hit.” He did, however, have an extensive library of songs about mamas, trains, dogs, and yes, Saturday nights. Watson’s twang and irresistibly catchy chorus make this one (from 2005′s Live From the Texas Hall of Fame) a keeper.

  • Horseshoes & Hand Grenades24. “She Knows What To Do (With A Saturday Night)” – Trent Summar & The New Row Mob

    She ain’t bright enough to find the knob on a washing machine, but she can mix a mean margarita and just might pop out of a cake. That’s a pretty fair trade off. Billy Currington recorded “She Knows…” for Doin’ Somethin’ Right, but Summar’s version is the better one. Be sure to check this one out from one of the best under-the-radar country singer/songwriters out there.

  • 23. “Every Night’s A Saturday Night” – Lee Roy Parnell

    Here’s a piano thumping rafter rattler from 1997 that’s perfect for any rowdy Saturday soundtrack. According to Parnell, when you’re in love, every night is a Saturday. Just wait ’til the honeymoon is over: then every day’ll be a Monday morning.

  • Desperado22. “Saturday Night ( LP Version)” – Eagles

    Supported by Bernie Leadon’s mandolin, the harmony-driven country rockers reach new levels of mellow on this cut from Desperado.

  • The Ballad of Calico21. “Calico Saturday Night” – Kenny Rogers and The First Editi

    Kenny Rogers Concept Album. Depending on your proclivities in country music, these are either the greatest or the most horrifying four words you’ll read all day. The (underrated) 1972 album about the silver mining town of Calico, California, and its inhabitants includes this five minute instrumental which incorporates everything from peppy harpsichord and horns to classical string arrangements.

  • Still Your Man20. “Saving All My Saturday Nights” – Paul Burch

    Alt-country Burch, joined by his excellent band the WPA Ballclub, sounds simultaneously timeless and modern on this Cajun-tinged shuffle from Still Your Man (one of the best releases of the past year). The goodtime fella in this song has changed his ways, now choosing to reserve Saturday nights for one woman.

  • Joe Ely19. “Treat Me Like A Saturday Night” – Joe Ely

    Here Ely tells his significant other “I’m going out where the lights don’t shine so bright/When I come back you can treat me like a Saturday night,” later realizing that “knowing she’s going to lose/might give my baby the blues.” Perhaps this isn’t the healthiest relationship in the world, but a little dysfunction goes a long way in creating a good country song.

  • Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind18. “Honky Tonk Saturday Night” – George Strait

    Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind is one of country music’s essential albums. Written by Sanger D. Shafer (who cowrote “That’s the Way Love Goes”), “Honky Tonk Saturday Night” is a classic Strait ballad, and when it comes to killer opening lyrics, you can’t get much better than “Angels and devils share the same tables/And that’s not so wrong if you get it done right.”

  • The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd17. “Saturday Night Special” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

    On the opening track from the Southern rock band’s 1975 album Nuthin’ Fancy we learn that firearms, gambling, intoxication, and poor impulse control don’t mix. But maybe you already learned that the hard way.

  • The Young Big Bill Broonzy16. “Saturday Night Rub” – Big Bill Broonzy

    Broonzy influenced countless country, rockabilly, and blues singers; this upbeat instrumental is one of his best known tunes. What’s a Saturday night rub? Probably what you think it is.

  • Montgomery On My Mind - The Hank E.P.15. “Church On Saturday Night” – Arty Hill & the Long Gone Daddys

    “Church on Saturday Night” (from the Hank Williams tribute EP Montgomery on My Mind) has old soul Hill longing for the days when Hank, Red, and Minnie Pearl filled the pews at the Ryman. Opry-goers might worship the Lord on Sunday, but back then, “church was Saturday night.” Fan of the Hillbilly Shakespeare? Be sure to give this one a listen.

  • Thunderstorms and Neon Signs14. “Friday and Saturday Night” – Wayne Hancock

    If you, Wayne Hancock’s girl, treat him right, he’ll take you out dancin’ two nights a week and then sing about it in his trademark juke joint swing style. Because you can never have too much Wayne the Train, check out “It’s Saturday Night” as well.

  • Reinventing The Wheel13. “Saturday Night Fish Fry” – Asleep at the Wheel

    Western swingers cover the late ’40s tune (you probably know the Louis Jordan version.) Who hasn’t gone to a New Orleans fish fry and ended up in the pokey?

  • Good Thing Going12. “Bluegrass Saturday Night” – Rhonda Vincent

    On one of my favorite tracks from Good Thing Going, the All-American bluegrass girl sings about doing what she loves best: cage fighting. Or singing bluegrass for the fans, backed by a crack band and a busload of Martha White products.

  • Conway Twitty Greatest Hits Volume III11. “Saturday Night Special” – Conway Twitty

    A fella goes into a pawnshop to buy a gun and witnesses the pawnshop owner trying to cheat a lady hocking her wedding ring. I don’t want to spoil the ending, so just listen to it.

  • Revolutions Of Time...The Journey 1975-199310. “Texas On A Saturday Night” – Willie Nelson and Mel Tillis

    I’ve never been to Texas on a Saturday night, but Willie and Mel sure make it sound like a good time. Enjoy this version of the Mundo Earwood song from the Time Jumpers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIfcOAjZh50&hl=en_US&fs=1&

  • 9. “Saturday Satan, Sunday Saint” – Ernest Tubb

    The title’s a bit of a tongue twister, but the message in this song from Tubb’s 1969 record Saturday Satan, Sunday Saint is crystal clear: you ain’t foolin’ anybody with your impeccable church attendance; they see what you do the other six days of the week.

  • One Long Saturday Night8. “One Long Saturday Night” – BR5-49

    Remember the halcyon days of 1996 when retro-enthusiasts BR549 burst onto the scene with their debut album? Frontman Chuck Mead wrote this excellent Saturday song about sleeping all day, playing all night.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYKZg2ITXug&hl=en_US&fs=1&

  • 7. “I Got Religion on a Saturday Night” – Webb Pierce

    The legendary Pierce may be ragged, but that’s all right: besides Saturday night religion, he’s got a silver dollar-studded Bonneville and a guitar-shaped swimming pool.

  • The Heart Of Saturday Night6. “The Heart Of Saturday Night” – Tom Waits

    Waits is one of music’s finest lyricists, conjuring up crystal clear mental pictures of urban ennui: “You comb your hair and shave your face/Tryin to wipe out every trace/Of all the other days in the week/You know that this’ll be the Saturday you’re reachin’ your peak.”. His extra gravelly voice seems to be an acquired taste, so if he’s not your cup of tea, try Jerry Jeff Walker’s cover.

  • Tennessee Saturday Night5. “Tennessee Saturday Night” – Red Foley

    There’s a little hideaway in Tennessee whose residents are normal, civilized folk, at least until Saturday night, when they “go native,” to the sound of fiddle and guitar. There’s square dancing, moonshine, and maybe a funeral if somebody gets out of line. Foley took this Billy Hughes-penned song to #1 back in ’49; since then, several acts have covered it; be sure to check out Jerry Lee Lewis’ mighty fine version.

  • Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans ON4. “Louisiana Saturday Night” – Mel McDaniel

    Don Williams may have recorded this Bob McDill song first, but McDaniel’s version was one of his most successful singles. If you’re in the mood for more Louisiana Saturday nights, Dave Dudley has a different song with the same title.

  • Let's Kill Saturday Night3. “Let’s Kill Saturday Night” – Robbie Fulks

    The title track from Fulks’ 1998 major label debut might just be the best working man’s rock anthem since “Livin’ On a Prayer.”

  • The Complete Capitol Hits Of Faron Young2. “I’ve Got Five Dollars And It’s Saturday Night” – Faron Young

    In 1956, the Singing Sheriff took this single to #4. Crappy job? Ragged pants? Pshaw! You’ve got a couple bucks and a long, boozy night in front of you. Let those other folks worry about what the future might bring.

  • Greatest Hits1. “Small Town Saturday Night” – Hal Ketchum

    This single from Ketchum’s major-label debut Past the Point of Rescue went all the way to #2 in 1991. Those from a small town will feel the sharp pang of recognition as Ketchum sings “Lucy, you know the world must be flat/’Cause when people leave town they never come back/They go 90 miles an hour to the city limits sign/Put the pedal to the metal ‘fore they change their mind.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V81rCycelU&hl=en_US&fs=1&

  1. J.R. Journey
    January 4, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Great read. I always enjoy your blurbs on songs, Juli. The Twitty and Mel McDaniel songs are among my favorites from them.

  2. Leeann Ward
    January 4, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Yes, great read. I don’t know a lot of these songs, but as usual, I plan to fix that. Love your number one and the Trent Summar and the New Row Mob entries.

  3. Noeller
    January 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I didn’t mind Lonestar’s “Saturday Night” from the Lonely Grill album, either. Certainly LOTS of great Saturday Night tunes out there – great topic!

  4. Tim
    January 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    What?! No “American Saturday Night”!

  5. Andrew
    January 4, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Honorable mentions: Brad Paisley, “American Saturday Night,”

    Reading comprehension FTW!

  6. Rick
    January 4, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Its great to see the Red Foley song so high on the list. Red isn’t much remembered these days but he sure had his own unique style back in his day. I just love his World War II song “Smoke on the Water” and its inspired me to compose my own modern day version titled “Smoke In The White House”…

    PS – Extra brownie points for including songs from other great artists who were big during the 50′s like Faron Young, Webb Pierce, and Ernest Tubb. They sure don’t make ‘em like that any more.

  7. Bob
    January 4, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Agree with Leeann on #1 and the Trent Summar version of “She Knows What to Do (With a Saturday Night)”. I also like “Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio” (is like being nowhere at all) from the “An Evening with John Denver” LP and Billy Dean’s cover of “Saturday Night” by the Eagles on the “Common Thread” cd.

  8. Leeann Ward
    January 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Ha…I’m with Bob on the John Denver song.

  9. Sheep
    January 4, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Great list, although I was expecting “American Saturday Night” on here. Oh well, atleast it’s an honorable mention.

  10. stormy
    January 4, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Billy Dean also did a lovely cover of Whatever Happened to Saturday Night on Common Threads.

  11. idlewildsouth
    January 4, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    I bought that Robbie Fulks cd yesterday. Crazy world.

  12. Dave D.
    January 5, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Good list, and the Paul Burch and Robbie Fulks’ songs are among my favorites in any category. Only glaring omission IMO is Lefty Frizzell’s “Shine, Shave, Shower (It’s Saturday)”

  13. Erik
    January 5, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I would’ve added Jo Dee Messina’s “Saturday Night”. I really like that one, but Juli, your list was excellent.

  14. TobySooner
    January 5, 2010 at 9:06 am

    “Happened On A Saturday Night”…Jason Michael Carroll.

  15. luckyoldsun
    January 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    “A Honky Tonk Saturday Night” is a great song, alright, but the best version hands down is the original by John Anderson on his “Wild and Blue” album from 1982.

    John Anderson makes you believe that he lived the story in the lyrics. George Strait just sings it.

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