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Elton's songwriting partner Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics. Taupin called it his "first attempt to write a Rock And Roll song that was totally English." Until then, most of his songwriting focused on American culture.
This song is about Taupin's teen years going to British dance clubs, where fights were common. Many of Taupin's songs are written to relate to Elton's life, but not this one - it's unlikely that Elton would be fighting in a club.
In the liner notes to Elton John's boxed set, it explains that he recorded his vocal while leaping around and "going crazy." It was the first time Elton recorded a vocal standing up, and he made the most out of it.
There is a rather clever reference to getting drunk in the lyrics: "Get about as oiled as a diesel train."
The song features in the 2010 Ricky Gervais film, Cemetery Junction. Gervais told The Guardian why he wanted to use it: "I got permission from Elton John to use this track for the opening credit sequence two years before we started writing the film. I'd always wanted to use the song and it fits the mood and themes of the movie perfectly. Growing up seemed to revolve around Saturday nights. You'd worked hard for someone else all week and now it was your time."
Part of the recording sessions for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road took place in Jamaica. Bernie Taupin explained to Rolling Stone: "The climate was hospitable, but the natives weren't. To use the terminology of the time, it was not a 'good vibe.' I remember a lot of barbed wire around the studio and armed guards. We spent a lot of time congregating around the pool area of the hotel, feeling there was safety in numbers. The Stones did manage to record there, but in retrospect I think they had a mobile unit with them. The only thing I remember trying to record was 'Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting.' It was an aborted attempted, just atrocious." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Songs Discussed in Movies
, Reservoir Dogs
, Willy Wonka
. Just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.