This is a "let's get up and dance" song, taking place on ladies night at some favorite hangout. In the United States, ladies' nights are popular promotions at bars and nightclubs, offering free admission and other incentives for women to show up. Any money the establishments lose on their female customers are offset by the increase in male patrons.
In the United States, ladies' nights are popular promotion at bars and nightclubs, offering free admission and other incentives for women to show up. Any money the establishments lose on their female customers are offset by the increase in male patrons.
If commas save lives ("Let's eat grandma!" vs. "Let's eat, grandma!"), then what do apostrophes do? In the case of "Ladies Night," an apostrophe should be used after the 's' to show possession. It's a night belonging to the ladies, after all. According to sociologist Lisa Wade
, omitting the apostrophe has some pretty hefty implications. She explained after a Canadian bar had a Ladies Night: "It is advertised as a night of ladies, not a night for ladies. To put it more bluntly, the ladies are not guests, they're bait."
The original cover art for "Ladies Night" did include the apostrophe, but the press materials and chart listing did not (neither did the 1995 rerelease). But let's cut Kool & the Gang some slack as the song is clearly giving the night to the ladies, not inviting creepy interlopers: On disco lights your name will be seen
You can fulfill all your dreams
Party here, party there, everywhere
This is your night, baby, you've got to be there
In 2003, the girl group Atomic Kitten recorded a version of this song with Kool & the Gang, turning it into a girl-power song. This version was included on Atomic Kitten's album Ladies' Night and hit #8 in the UK. Atomic Kitten (formerly known as Automatic Kitten), split within a year, although they re-united again temporarily to record a single for charity in 2006 and permanently in 2008.
Liz McClarnon of Atomic Kitten explained to the BBC children's program Newsround why they covered this track: "Kool & the Gang asked us to do a collaboration with them for their duets album which has got Mary J Blige, Wyclef and people like that. They wanted us to do 'Ladies Night.' We asked them if we could have it [for our album] and they said yes. So we called it after Ladies Night the song."
Ladies Night marked an upswing in Kool & the Gang's waning career after the increasing popularity of disco left no room for their signature funk sound on the charts. They hadn't cracked the Top 10 in three years. After the disco-oriented album Everybody's Dancin' failed to make a commercial impact, the group realized they had to make a change in order to survive. Bassist Robert "Kool" Bell told Record: "It was a rough time. I guess you could call it a searching period for us."
They enlisted the help of Brazilian producer Eumir Deodato who helped them revamp their sound with pop and R&B elements and gave them an identifiable lead vocalist in James "J.T." Taylor. The result was the group's first platinum album.
The band was excited about the concept of "Ladies Night," but they struggled to come up with a hook. Sax player Ronald Bell remembered a piece of advice from his mother. He recalled to Billboard: "My mother, Aminah, had a hand in that one. Because she would say to me, 'Always give the people nursery rhymes. Give them something they remember.' She liked the Dells' song, 'Oh, What a Nite,' so I put that in. When we were finished, we were all in tune that this was it. We just didn't know how big!"
This was sampled by Heavy D and The Boyz on their 1994 song "This Is Your Right," which reached #30 in the UK.
In the '90s, this was used in commercials for Bud Light beer, where four guys dress up as women to take advantage of a ladies' night promotion at a bar.
Some states - California, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Wisconsin - have outlawed ladies' nights at nightclubs and other establishments, citing gender discrimination against males who are expected to pay full price for drinks and services while women receive a special discount purely based on their sex. The Illinois court dismissed the complaints, stating that ladies' nights are intended to attract more female customers, not to deter male customers.
This was featured in several movies, including 200 Cigarettes (1999), starring Ben Affleck and Christina Ricci; Little Nicky (2000), starring Adam Sandler and Patricia Arquette; Sorority Boys (2002), starring Barry Watson and Michael Rosenbaum; Undercover Brother (2002), starring Eddie Griffin and Chris Kattan; Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004), starring Lindsay Lohan; Shark Tale (2004), starring Will Smith; Charlie Wilson's War (2007), starring Tom Hanks and Amy Adams; Made of Honor (2008), starring Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan; and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009), starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner.
This was also used on the TV series The Vampire Diaries in 2015 (episode: "I'll Leave My Happy Home for You").
The female vocal group Something Sweet provided backing vocals on this, as well as other Kool hits like "Celebration