1973 Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
The second single from Elton John’s Madman Across The Water surprisingly didn’t even reach the top forty on the Hot 100 in 1972. While Tiny Dancer may have found acceptance years later (thanks in part to the song’s use in the film Almost Famous), it initially stalled at #41.
Things immediately got better with Elton’s release of the album Honky Château: all but one single he released until 1976 made it into the US top ten. It was the second single from Rock of the Westies that peaked at only #14 that cut his streak short.
The one single in the three years that that stalled at #12 on the Hot 100? The 1973 release of Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.
Many radio stations banned the song for fear that it might encourage violence, a not unreasonable worry at the time. Bernie Taupin’s lyrics were not intended to incite violence, they merely reflected his memories of fistfights in a British pub he frequented as a teenager.
Elton’s band recorded the song in Jamaica, where they had intended to record an entire album. The equipment available to them turned out to be so poor that after finishing that song, the band relocated to France.
The next single Elton released was the title song from the same album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. That single peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, kept from the #1 spot by Top Of The World by the Carpenters and then The Most Beautiful Girl In The World by Charlie Rich.
Bennie and the Jets would return Elton to the top of the chart the next year.
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