SATURDAY NIGHT (Cold Chisel song)

Saturday Night (Cold Chisel song)

Released March 1983

Format 7″ vinyl

Recorded 1983

Genre Pub rock

Label WEA

Writer(s) Don Walker

Producer(s) Mark Opitz and Cold Chisel

“Saturday Night” was a 1984 single from Australian rock band Cold Chisel, the second released from the album Twentieth Century and the first to be issued after the band’s official break-up. The vocals are shared between Ian Moss and Jimmy Barnes. Reaching number 11 on the Australian charts, it was one of Cold Chisel’s highest charting songs.

The album track features ambient noise recorded in Sydney’s Kings Cross district, including the sound of motorbikes, strip club spruikers and crowds of drunks, recorded by author Don Walker on a portable stereo. Also recorded are Walker’s favourite busker and a snippet of Dragon’s “Rain”.This version appears on later greatest hits album and is most frequently played on radio. The original single version omits the street sounds. Although Walker was unhappy with many of the songs from the Twentieth Century album, he later said he was particularly pleased with the production on “Saturday Night”, which he was mostly responsible for

A video clip for the track, directed by Richard Lowenstein,[3] was filmed in Kings Cross in February 1984, three months after the group disbanded. Part of the clip features Moss and Barnes mingling with the participants of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Lowenstein said the idea came from his friend Troy Davies. “At the time it wasn’t so accepted for straight guys to go there. I think Troy was worried how they’d deal with his extrovert gayness. It was brave at the time to have the gay Mardi Gras in a Cold Chisel video on Countdown. That was Troy, he was a mischief maker. But Cold Chisel lapped it up,” Lowenstein said. Other sections of the clip showing the band members (minus Barnes) moving through the crowd of the Darlinghurst Road red light district. Lowenstein said, “I had a camera on the back of a station wagon, we’d just drive up and down the Cross and film in slow motion. The song suited that kind of imagery so well, I thought it was a no-brainer to put the down and outs and all the characters in. It was a quick shoot, maybe two nights.”

Don Walker has said of the song, “The band I’d been in for ten years was breaking up. I think it’s just a ‘kissing all that goodbye and moving on into the unknown’ song. He later said, “The song is actually about walking away from a Saturday night. The song was pretty much built before the other guys cottoned on to what I was doing. I can remember Mark Opitz suddenly saying, ‘I get this, this is really good.'” Early drafts of the song were titled, “Show Me A Light”.

Author Michael P. Jensen said, “These guys were supposed to be bogan heroes, but they slip a little French into their songs. ‘L’esclavage D’amour’ is “the slavery of love’. The deep longing of the man walking his way around the city on the busiest night of the week is matched by his loneliness.”[6]

“Saturday Night” spent 14 weeks in the national charts, peaking at number 11. The art work for the single was done by Chilean artist Eduardo Guelfenbein, who had also done the artwork for the album and a number of videos for the band.

In 2007, Grinspoon covered “Saturday Night” for the tribute album Standing on the Outside.