Album: Ain’t That Good News
. . .
Because he had that voice, those looks and was also charismatic as hell, Sam Cooke never lacked for female companionship, and indulged in behavior that would have gotten him cancelled — and eventually got him dead — had it surfaced at the time. And so, it’s kinda ironic that one of his greatest songs was well, total horseshit.
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
Opening with the chorus and driven by the great Hal Blane’s drum rolls, “Another Saturday Night” had its genesis from an incident during Sam’s 1962 London tour with Little Richard: apparently the London hotel they were staying in was too hoity-toity to let Sam, er, entertain women in his room. Of course, they immediately went out and found a second, less fancy, hotel strictly for sex. As you do. So out of a single night of being cock-blocked, Sam wrote a great set of lyrics.
I got in town a month ago, I seen a lotta girls since then
If I could meet ’em I could get ’em but as yet I haven’t met ’em
That’s why I’m in the shape I’m in
With Blane’s drumming pushing “Another Saturday Night” more to the rock ‘n’ roll side of things — his stop times on “that’s why I’m in the shape I’m in” — are a thing of beauty, and the ache Sam had in his voice remembering that one time he didn’t get laid made “Another Saturday Night” feel incredibly universal, where even getting set up is a disaster.
Another fella told me he had a sister who looked just fine
Instead of being my deliverance
She had a strange resemblance
To a cat named Frankenstein
And sure while could make the joke about Frankenstein being the doctor, blah blah blah, I’d rather talk about the awesome rhyme scheme of that verse, especially the internal “deliverance / resemblance”, which is utterly brilliant. Also really cool, his apparent decision to change “someone to talk to” to “some chick to talk to” in all of the subsequent choruses after the backing vocalists had already recorded their parts.
After a spoken-word boast that if he was home, he would have two chicks with him — the truest line in the whole song — Sam makes the only logical decision:
It’s hard on a fella, when he don’t know his way around
If I don’t find me a honey to help me spend my money
I’m gonna have to blow this town
“Another Saturday Night” wasn’t Sam’s biggest hit — it peaked out at #10, though it did top the R&B charts — and if you’re my age, you probably heard this song through Yusuf / Cat Stevens’s weird Caribbean-light version, which disposed entirely of the boasting part in favor of a modulation at the end. Somehow that version was an even bigger hit than Cooke’s, making it all the way to #6, because at that point, people would buy anything from him, I guess.
“Another Saturday Night” Official Lyric Video
Did you miss a Certain Song? Follow me on Twitter: @barefootjim
The Certain Songs Database
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.
Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)
Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page