This is a simple song expressing the values of the night, relationships and ultimately life. The singer is going to go away the next day and he wants to cherish this one last night spent with his love. He explains that you can't fight changes, all you can do is accept them.
John - Sydney, Australia
The Swedish-born singer, son of jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, released this first in his homeland in the fall of 1997, where it slowly gained steam before crossing over to the UK and US charts. Almost a year and a half after its release, it peaked at #5 on the Hot 100.
This was the last song Cherry wrote for his debut album and he wanted it to be special, "something that would stand the test of time." He achieved his goal - two decades later, the song is still in rotation on throwback radio stations and is a fixture on the setlists of countless cover bands. "People point at me and say 'Save Tonight?' like it's my name," Cherry told GQ in 2017. "Which I guess it kind of is."
At first Cherry thought the song was too good and was convinced he inadvertently ripped off another musician. "When I wrote the riff in the chorus, I was racking my brain, thinking I had stolen it," he explained. "I thought that someone must have used this because it was too good."
The single's success prompted a case of life imitating art as Cherry was suddenly leaving his quiet life behind to go on tour. "Once the song took off, my life became that: constantly having that last night before I leave."
The black-and-white music video was filmed in Sweden and follows Cherry in the roles of several different characters whose lives intersect, including an amiable young man, a bespectacled butcher, a robber, a truck driver, a busker, and a homeless man.
Cherry is actually a trained actor, having attended New York City's School of Performing Arts, with credits that include a bit part on The Cosby Show and a stint as an ex-con on the short-lived TV drama South Beach. He abandoned his aspirations as a thespian when he grew tired of playing the same old roles in support of white protagonists.
Cherry's career hit a standstill when his second album, Living In The Present Future, was released in the wake of 9/11 and largely ignored outside of his home country. He continued to tour but eventually moved back to Sweden. Although "Save Tonight" was a big hit there, peaking at #2, the singer tells GQ he lives a quieter life in Stockholm, where he's rarely recognized and can work on music in peace.
This was used in several TV shows, including Felicity in the 1998 episode "Cheating," Daria in the 1999 episode "Through A Lens Darkly," Roswell in the 1999 pilot episode, and Cold Case in the 2004 episode "Resolutions." It was also featured in the 2005 comedy/drama A Lot Like Love, starring Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet.
Cherry performed this on Saturday Night Live on November 7, 1998.