Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright)

Album: A Night On The Town (1976)
Charted: 5 1
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  • Stewart makes his intentions clear on this song, as he lures a young lady to the bedroom:

    The secret is about to unfold
    Upstairs before the night's too old

    The lascivious lyrics got the song banned by the BBC, which objected to the line, "Spread your wings and let me come inside." The ban was later lifted due to public demand; the song became a UK hit, and later, a US #1.
  • Stewart's girlfriend at the time, the Swedish actress Britt Ekland, sings the French part at the end of this song. In the May 1995 issue of Mojo magazine, Stewart said: "I was going out with Britt Ekland. I'd just moved here. So that's 20 years ago. I remember I got her drunk, pissed as a fart to sing that old French bollocks on the end, because she didn't want to do it."

    When asked if he paid her a royalty, Stewart replied, "Bollocks! I bought her a nice frock."
  • The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section played on this song. They were a group of four musicians who started their own studio - Muscle Shoals Sound - in 1969 after doing sessions at FAME studios for Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and many other popular soul acts. The famous story the musicians tell is that when Stewart arrived at the studios and saw them getting ready, he refused to believe they were the band - he was sure the guys he heard playing on those records were black, and had a hard time accepting that four white guys could deliver so much soul.
  • The phrase "sex rock" entered the lexicon in 1975, thanks to an article in Time magazine about the rise of songs like this one that are clearly about a seduction. With the genre defined, various groups started protesting it, including Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity). This song was a target and used as an example of one that was loosening the morals of young people.
  • Britt Ekland starred in the video as the object of Stewart's seduction, although we never see her face in the clip. the video is very literal, as we see the couple go upstairs and start the lovemaking process.

    Like many of Stewart's early videos, it was directed by Bruce Gowers. Stewart was an early adopter to music video; he made many of them in the '70s that were broadcast on various programs throughout Europe, often truncated as promotional clips. When MTV went on the air in 1981, Stewart got a lot of airtime because they had more videos from him than from any other artist.
  • This is one of Stewart's live favorites, finding its way into his setlists more than any other song except "Maggie May." When performed live, Ekland's French cooing is replaced with guitar licks.
  • In 2003, a musical called Tonight's The Night opened in London. The show featured Rod Stewart's hits in much the same way as Abba's show Mamma Mia! and Billy Joel's Movin' Out. Tonight's The Night didn't do nearly as well, closing a year later. Tim Howar, who played the lead role ("Stuart Clutterbuck"), later joined Mike + The Mechanics.

Comments: 32

  • Voice from The Sane Side"Creepy" and "rapey". LOL. What a bunch of snowflakes.
  • John from LeedsFell in love with his video reflection.
  • Unknown From Usa from UsWasn't this the song that David Mitchell sang to Elizabeth Smart the night he abducted her?
  • Unknown from UsaDisturbing lyrics, hard to believe this was okay with listeners and it sold records. Yikes!
  • Ellen from UsaBeing a product of the 70’s, I never thought it was creepy. I considered it more about an inexperienced young woman with her boyfriend. However, I hadn’t seen the video. It was the theme to my senior prom! Our parents had no clue.
  • Greg From Us from United StatesAccording to the Australian girl (In the comments here) it is a romantic song because the "virgin child" could be any girl between 16 and 25. During the present time of Jeffery Epstein one should easily be able to recognize that a 16 or 17 year old virgin child is being raped in this song. It does not matter that the virgin child is not upset or giving consent about what is taking place. It is a thoroughly disgusting and vile song!
  • Melinda from AustraliaI’m the opposite. I’ve always found this song very romantic. What the lyrics describe is far more more romantic than the usual way women lose their virginity.

    For that reason I don’t see it as creepy. Because there’s consent. And a plan. And it’s obviously within a relationship. Back then, that’s not usually how things happened. It was a Post 1960’s period.
    In the era this song was written, the expression ‘virgin child’ could have referred to anyone from 16 to 25. Non specific. There was no such thing as Political Correctness. Though it’s interesting that this song was banned by the BBC.
    Unlike everywhere else, the BBC were still trapped to an extent in a 1950’s mentality.
    This song is a good example of how the sexual revolution had already just happened. In the 1960’s.
    This song was written in 1977.
    1970’s adults had very casual attitudes about sex. And believed that it was healthy. Attitudes to sex today were born from the 1960’s, 1970’s generation. Sexual freedom people enjoy today, is because of that era.
    Also, I think the French lyrics at the end really make this song. Rod Stewart is an excellent lyricist.

    Britt Ekland did have had a serious live in relationship with Rod Stewart at that time. But she was quite a bit older than him too.
    He dumped her 2 years later, for Alana Stewart.
    Was Britt Ekland exploited by Rod Stewart ... in this song or anything else?
    No I don’t think so. As she was far more experienced than him. And in his autobiographies, he admits he learned quite a lot from her.
    It was a general era of bad attitudes to women though I admit. But Britt Ekland was far more mistreated by English Comedy Actor, Peter Sellers. Her former husband. Than Rod Stewart.

    For a start. She got no financial support from Sellers for her daughter, Victoria.
    By the time Britt Ekland met Rod Stewart. She had 2 children by 2 different men. She met and moved in with Rod Stewart in 1975. She was hardly a victim or virgin. Even though she looks it in the music video she appears in.
    Her other child was from a relationship with Lou Adler, the famous Record Producer.
    And Britt Ekland wasn’t French. Though obviously spoke it fluently. She was actually Swedish.
    Overall it’s a sexy, slow romantic song about love. Not exploitation, as people mistakenly perceive it to be.
    And also virginity was still considered a special thing back then.
    You couldn’t claim that of today.
  • Ets from London, UkI played the video to my daughters in their 20's and it totally grossed them out. One said it was "rapey" and they both found the virgin child thing horrible. They were amazed anyone got away with a song like that played on radio and video. How times have changed.
  • Debby from UsaRod admitted in his 2012 autobiography that Britt was a bit nervous in the recording studio but a pinch of cocaine seemed to give her the courage to put the finishing touch on the song. And indeed the words at the end in French mean that she is a young girl about to lose her virginity to her boyfriend and is afraid of being caught or found out.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyConcerning an earlier post; the Shirelles did have a hit single titled "Tonight's the Night", it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart on September 6th, 1960 at position #97, and six weeks later it peaked at #39 {for 1 week} and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #14 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    The quartet's record that succeeded it on the Top 100 was "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"; it peaked at #1* {for 2 weeks} on January 30th, 1961...
    * The week it peaked at #1 the next three records on the Top 100 were all instrumentals; #2 was "Calcutta" by Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra, #3 was "Exodus" by Ferrante and Teicher, and at #4 was "Wonderland By Night" by Bert Kaempfert.
  • William from Donora, PaHe does say he loves her and I think he wants everything shut down because he wants privacy or maybe I'm just gullible???
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, Sc@Andy:

    Apparently, I did not think to check before I posted, I apologize for jumping to conclusions and stating that you're wrong. You're right in stating that there's a Shirelles song called Tonight's the Night. It's different from this song though, and imo thankfully so; I also think this song is creepy, but I maybe would like it better if it weren't Stewart singing.
  • Diafel from Nowhere, BcHere's the original French lyrics:
    J'ai un peu peur
    Je que c'est que va dira maman
    Mon amour viens plus prus, embrasse-moi.
    Oh, Je t'adore beaucoup
    Cette nuit mon ami
    oui cette nuit mon ami
    Je t'aime Je t'aime Je t'aime ....

    I'm scared
    What will my mom say
    My love come closer, kiss me.
    Oh, I adore you a lot
    Tonight my friend
    Yes tonight my friend
    I love you I love you I love you....
  • Kim from Hawkhurst, United KingdomIt says in the songfacts that this was not released in the UK as a single. It WAS it reached No.5 in the charts in June 1976 - and I am looking at a copy of the single now!!!!
  • Songfacts from Pittsburgh, PaI agree with the other posters that think that this song is CREEEEEEPY !!!! I've heard this song a million times, but never listened to the words before. I always thought it was a cheesy Rod Stewart song (as most of his songs are), but then I actually listened to the lyrics for the 1st time today when I heard it on the car radio. If you listen to the words, it sounds like the older man is suggesting that he get this virgin alone in his apartment (because a guy this creepy probably doesn't even own a house) & tells her to stay away from all of the exits and to not even think about going anywhere. Jeesh! Talk about creepy older guy!! Did Rod Steward write this himself? EEEEEEW.
  • K from Jackson, , CaThis song is creepy. It bothered a lot me when I was a virgin and I heard it on the radio in the 70's. I mentioned it to a friend years later and she loved Rod Stewart but never listened to the words. I always listen to words of songs. The words seem to advocate child sex.
    Also there is a part where it sounds like he says the dick is coming. Very disturbing. Society has gotten way worse in terms of sexualizing everything. I am no prude but I think prudes has a point. Let the innocent stay innocent. They people that aren't having much sex are the ones that want it spread thoughout out culture don't you think>
  • Jeanie from Alto, GaWell, thank you Nicolas Bern of Switzerland. You gave the best answer so far. If you're right, it does make better sense than the other proposed translations but I don't see why these lyrics were considered so risque that they were deleted from the song. I haven't heard those lyrics on the radio since sometime in the 70's.
  • Nicolas from Bern, SwitzerlandThe French says "I'm a little scared, what is my mother going to say(to think)? Come a little closer, kiss me. I adore you so very much. Oh, it's him, it's him I love you I love you I love you...." The words are perfectly clear. I would assume any French speaking person would be able to translate them. Jessica in NY better check to see if her boyfriend is really French. LOL I love this song. Ciao (Italian for Bye)
  • Karen from Melbourne, FlJessica, that's interesting that your boyfriend translated one of the phrases as "what will my husband say?" because according to the song, she is supposed to be a virgin. Hmmm... I suspect Dave's translation may be more accurate.
  • David from Lakeland, FlThe riff and rythym of this song is identical to Jerry Garcia's "Sugaree" which was written in 1971 and released in 1972 on his first solo album.
    Did Rod borrow this sound or did it just come out that way? Both songs are great.
  • Jeanie from Clarkesville, GaI came to this site hoping to find out what Britt is saying in the end. I still don't know cause there are a few differing opinions on what was said. What I would like to know are what are the French lyrics, not the perceived translation of the lyrics? I would like to go to a translation site and translate them myself but I don't know what French words she is using so I don't know what to enter on the translation site. Someone have those somewhere? Like Jerry in Brooklyn said the French lyrics aren't ever a part of the lyrics when you look them up.
  • Dorie from Mission Viejo, CaThis song always gets me "in the mood" no matter where I am when I hear it !
  • Jessica from Ny, NyActually, the French lyrics are "oh my God, what will my husband say" and "come here and kiss me"...courtesy of my French boyfriend
  • Dave from Palm Bay, FlOn Rod Stewart's "Tonights The Nite", Britt Eckland's predictable quotes include: "I'm Scared" and "what will my Mother think?", thats according to my French girl friend at the time.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScAndy the Sherells song is called "Will you Still Love me Tomorrow" not "Tonight's the Night."
  • Pete from Nowra, AustraliaI believe Britt, is saying and i qte "Rodney have you put the garbage out" but don't qte me on that, my French is a bit rusty
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScWell... Brit Ekland is exactly singing at the end. In the literal sense of the word at least.
  • Frenchie from Morristown, TnI would also like to know the french words that are spoken at the end, if anyone has them, please post?
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI don't know why but this song always creeps me out. I'm usually not offended by songs with similar lyrics... I listen to ones like the Lemon Song for instance. Maybe it's because I never really dug Rod Stuart. Something about this one creeps me out though.
  • Andy from Arlington, VaThe Shirelles released a song called "Tonight's the Night" in the early '60s, basically about the same thing from the woman's perspective.
  • Jerry from Brooklyn, NyWhen the song first came out, I thought Rod sang "spread your legs and let me come inside". Of course, that is what he meant anyway.
    BTW, does anyone have the French lyrics that Britt Ekland is saying at the end? I've seen several postings of the rest of the lyrics but the French part is never there.
  • Ari from Elizabeth, NjJanet Jackson covered this song on her Velvet Rope album.
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