Feb 13

WHIGFIELD – “Saturday Night”

Popular78 comments • 10,023 views

#710, 17th September 1994

209390716;encoding=jpg;size=300;fallback=defaultImage DEE DEE NANANA!

“Saturday Night” has two big things going for it. The main thing is that it’s one of those iconically simple pop hits, like a “Louie Louie” for the Thomas Cook set. How can you tell when something is iconically simple and not just, er, simple? I’d say when it never actually ends up irritating you. Obviously that’s entirely subjective and I expect to be swamped with annoyed Whigophobes in the comments, but for me this record has lucked onto something sweet and primal. Not, though, irresistible – I’ve generally been pleased to hear “Saturday Night” and am content that it has made the world a happier place in some small fashion, but I wouldn’t own it, or put it on for fun, or even learn the dance. If anything, I like this most for its influence – the enduring post-Whigfield school of plinky-plonk smilecore Eurodance which produced feelgood gems (Ang Lee’s “2 Times”, ATC’s “Around The World”) through the rest of the decade.

But actually “Saturday Night”‘s resistibility is its second fine quality. It is that rare holiday smash which doesn’t hustle its listener. Most of them – from Conga to Macarena – carry a strong tang of coercion amidst the Piz Buin and Pina Colada, a vampiric need to co-opt their audience into the Fun. Not so “Saturday Night”, which is charmingly unassuming, thanks mainly to Whigfield’s matter-of-fact performance. If you do stick around, your reward is a lovely bit of house piano heading for the fade. But this song is never pushy. It’s Saturday night. Whigfield is having a great time. Maybe you are too. You don’t have to be. It won’t spoil anything. Have fun if you like. It’s up to you.



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  1. 61
    wichita lineman on 26 Feb 2013 #

    As Marcello pointed out, Saturday Night is DEFINITELY lifted from the Equals’ Rub A Dub Dub, which means it can’t also be lifted from Fog on the Tyne. I’d say Alan Hull was lucky, but then I doubt his royalties came through in time for him to appreciate them.

  2. 62
    swanstep on 27 Feb 2013 #

    Hmm, that Equals song reminds me a hell of a lot of Manfred Mann’s Do Wah Diddy which Tom gave 2/10. I know which of SN and DWD I’d rather have written and/or originally performed.

  3. 63
    Patrick Mexico on 27 Feb 2013 #

    This is growing on me now, though I think the song’s appeal to people who can remember it at the time lies mainly in the reign of terror it ended. Sure, Wet Wet Wet kindly waved the white flag anyway. Definitely, maybe a PC Pyrrhic victory – but you’ve got that “glass of pure fruit juice cutting through the worst hangover ever” vibe.

    And it sounds nothing like Fog on the Tyne! You’re dead right about Rub-a-Dub-Dub though.

    We’ll have plenty more from this genre to talk about, though I’m not sure if the next Eurodance number 1 will prompt the same fond “just good pop” memories..

  4. 64
    hectorthebat on 27 Feb 2013 #

    As well as the Equals, there’s also a sample of The Rockets – One More Mission. The song has also been re-released as Saturday Night 2013.

  5. 65
    swanstep on 28 Feb 2013 #

    @hectorthebat. Good spot! (I wouldn’t have picked the duck quack as a sample.)

  6. 66
    Erithian on 2 Jun 2013 #

    Blimey, only just heard the Equals song and yes there’s no way that can have been a coincidence. Though if I’d been Eddy Grant (who I presume wrote it) I’d have been embarrassed to have that piece of guff exhumed after I’d spent the 80s establishing myself as a well-respected writer and musician – maybe that’s why he didn’t?

    I certainly wasn’t indifferent to “Saturday Night” – utterly hated it, mainly for its repetitiveness with the one musical phrase and that house piano (not a favourite thing of mine in any context). Then it popped up on TOTP2 shortly afterwards, and in the voiceover Johnnie Walker said something about her refusing to do the line dance for the video, which apparently made her (IIRC) “one of the most independent people in rock”. I was spluttering, “who the flip writes this stuff?”

    Looking at it again now, she’s an engaging personality, and although the song hasn’t improved there have been worse things since. But yes, “Think Of You” was a lot pleasanter.

  7. 67
    Mark G on 3 Jun 2013 #

    I looked it up a while back: he didn’t write it.

  8. 68
    Patrick Mexico on 7 Nov 2013 #

    I’m baffled how anyone over 10 can like Ann Lee – 2 Times.

  9. 69
    Will on 7 Nov 2013 #

    Be baffled. I was 30 around the time it charted and loved it. Still do, in fact.

  10. 70
    Patrick Mexico on 8 Nov 2013 #

    I don’t intend any offence to anyone over 10 (or 30) who does like it, it’s just always left me cold; nine times in every ten I can’t get in touch with pop’s “innocent childhood” side, blame me on getting into the charts just as Girls and Boys carpet-bombed us with chewing gum stuck to the school desk (and “DAZ 4 ZOE” crudely carved in them), but there needs to be some lust to it for me. Some teenage angst., teenage lust. (I mean about actually *being* a teenager, don’t Yewtree me please.)

    I doubt it somehow, but maybe I might change my mind for a sasquatch-named 1999 bunny.

  11. 71
    Patrick Mexico on 17 Apr 2014 #

    I’m so glad I’ve been clean of anti-anxiety medication since New Year. The posts I made here while under the influence… sorry.

  12. 72
    weej on 30 Jan 2015 #


  13. 73
    hectorthebat on 14 Apr 2015 #

    Critic watch:

    1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010) 1002
    Gary Mulholland (UK) – This Is Uncool: The 500 Best Singles Since Punk Rock (2002)
    Face (UK) – Singles of the Year 37
    New Musical Express (UK) – Singles of the Year 15
    Select (UK) – Singles of the Year 33

  14. 74
    Mostro on 14 Apr 2015 #

    With respect, I have to disagree about the “lovely” house piano!

    Even at the time I remember thinking that had to be the flimsiest, least convincing and most dated-sounding “piano” I’d ever heard on a commercial record. It’s like someone used a £200 home keyboard bought from Dixons in the 1980s! (*)

    For some reason I’d remembered this from the instrumental solo in what I thought was the middle-eight, but it actually comes in a lot earlier- just after the one minute mark- and following its moment in the sun continues backing the rest of this equally underproduced song. It’s a lot cheaper sounding than even those somewhat of-their-time late 80s house tracks.

    It’s actually so flimsy, it’s almost likable now. Almost.

    Yet it’s a long way down from “Ride on Time’s” still-great Italian house piano from five years previous, and it seems to have been one of the last hits to feature that sound. Did it jump, or did Saturday Night help push it?

    (*) We’re talking a low-end FM synth (with 32 preset auto-accompaniment rhythms) here, no £2000 sample-backed Roland D50 sounds for you, Saisho boy.

  15. 75
    flahr on 14 Apr 2015 #

    Not to rile the bunny too much, but doesn’t the current #1 single feature some top-drawer off-the-shelf Italohouse piano?

  16. 76
    Abzolute on 9 Jan 2017 #

    Surprised that no one actually mentioned that the REAL vocalist was indeed Ann Lee herself. At the time (as they did with most euro-dance acts) they drafted in a model to front the band (Black Box & Cappella being two of the more famous examples), so it’s no surprise Ann Lee was part of the same stable where Whigfield also emerged from.

    Funnily enough Sannie Charlotte Carlsson (Whigfield was just the stage name of the act) eventually went in to porn apparently.

    Still, a great mindless track that makes most people feel good.


  17. 77
    Mark G on 10 Jan 2017 #

    #76 citation, dude?

  18. 78
    Gareth Parker on 3 May 2021 #

    5/10 would be my limit here, although I find it gets less annoying as the years pass.

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