#1043: 1974, Tom Waits, The Heart of Saturday Night

by Charlie_East_West on October 20, 2015

All That’s Left Committee, correct me if I am wrong, but we appear to have only one Tom Waits song listed within 1043 songs in the vaults of Songs To Learn And Sing. This is a pretty disgraceful oversight and one that I am going to rectify with immediate effect.

So, tonight’s song of choice is the wonderful The Heart of Saturday Night taken from the Waits’ sophomore album by same name in 1974. At this stage in his career, Waits was the personification of the late night barroom crooner, with songs that absolutely reeked of 3am last orders, smoke and strong whisky. His voice and lyrical street tales from America at this early stage in his career is reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen. But come back a few years later and his voice is a hollering beast ravaged by an 80 day smoking habit.

What I love about Tom Waits (like Springsteen) is his ability to completely transport you to the setting and imagery of his song.

Then you comb your hair, you shave your face
Trying to wipe out every trace
Of all the other days in the week
You know that this’ll be the Saturday you’re reaching your peak

Stopping on the red, you’re going on the green
Cause tonight will be like nothing you’ve ever seen
And you’re barreling down the boulevard
You’re looking for the heart of Saturday night

Tell me, is it the crack of the pool balls, neon buzzing
Telephone’s ringing, it’s your second cousin
Is it the barmaid that’s smiling from the corner of her eye
Magic of the melancholy tear in your eye

Makes it kind of quiver down in the core
Cause you’re dreaming of them Saturdays that came before
And now you’re stumbling
You’re stumbling onto the heart of Saturday night

A Saturday night out with Tom Waits would be one to remember. But it would probably end up being one that you can’t remember.

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