"Saturday Night" as written by and Don Henley Glenn Frey....
Seems like a dream now, it was so long ago
The moon burned so bright and the time went so slow
And I swore that I loved her and gave her a ring
The bluebird was high on the wing

Whatever happened to Saturday night
Finding a sweetheart and holding her tight?
She said, tell me, oh, tell me, was I alright?
Whatever happened to Saturday night?

The years brought the railroad
It ran by my door
Now there's boards on the windows
And dust on the floor
And she passes the time at another man's side
And I pass the time with my pride

What a tangled web we weave
Go 'round with circumstance
Someone show me how to tell the dancer
From the dance

What ever happened
To Saturday night?
Choosin' a friend and loosin' a fight
She said, tell me, oh, tell me, are you alright?
Whatever happened to Saturday night?
Whatever happened to Saturday night?


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"Saturday Night" as written by Don Henley Glenn Frey

Lyrics © Cass County Music / Wisteria Music / Privet Music, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Red Cloud Music

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Saturday Night song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThis song is one of the most amazing songs ever. It hits hard to the core of a man's (and possibly a woman's too) hollow feeling of the death of his individuality to marriage. Knowing too well that if he tried to keep his individuality it would never work out, so it never works out anyway because he becomes a shell of what he used to be. This song takes you through the highs of falling/thinking you have fallen in love and the lows of becoming engaged and married and unceremoneously losing your identity. As equivalent as your spouse saying you are starting your new life together, is the death of the life that you currently love. The key illustration in this is 'Saturday Night' as Saturday night is the night where your individuality and creativity and lust for life is/was at its peak. Your partners blind jealousy attacks your indivuality because they have no control over that. Before you know it, your individuality and 'Saturday night' are gone because you don't feel like putting up with the screaming/crying/jealousy/threats/etc. anymore. Now it just seems like a dream of your past. You are now a shell of a human, passionate about nothing. Dead inside. The key in the first stanza is that when he gave her the ring, that was the beginning of the end of his life of individuality and enjoyment of life. She seems to be wondering what is wrong with him, and why he is so despondent. He cannot tell her why he is despondent as he does not want to hurt her and open up that can of worms. But she is finally tired of his lingering depression over his life being over, that she is now out cheating on him. He is not wanting to do whatever it takes to get her back and possibly end up looking foolish, so he passes the time with his pride. Now when he talks about going round with circumstance that is basically just figuring out who/what to blame for the downfall, or if things may have been different here, or that decision was different there things would have worked out. All of that is moot.

    The key to this song, one that has a designed abruptness to the lyric is when he says, "someone tell me how to tell the dancer from the dance". This is very very important. There are some women out there that want to get married so much they can taste it. The institution of marriage is the dance. Now, there are others out there that wait for the right one before marriage because they do not want to "settle". Who you marry is the dancer. The problem with the dancer scenario is that you will never find another that has the perfect balance with you. Just different levels of acceptability. Once time goes on, those levels of acceptability become smaller. Once your partner is outside of that level of acceptability separation occurs. I don't know how many times I have been in the situation in a relationship when I am trying to figure out if she wants to be married in the general sense of the term, or if she wants to marry me because she couldn't imagine being with someone else? If she wants to get married vs. marry me, then I can see separation right down the road quickly. If she wants to marry me, then that is a different story. If you marry the dance, it won't work out, if you marry the dancer it has a higher probability. But how can you tell which one you are doing before it is too late?

    The fact that this song is on the 'Desperado' album says a lot. This song ties in very tightly with the song 'Desperado'. 'Desperado' saying you have to take care of business before it's too late and you end up in a life of misery; 'Saturday Night' saying that when you do that, you are just changing your avenue to a different form of misery. This song is a definite slap in the face by reality. All of this brought on by the jealousy of the woman not being secure enough to let her man have his 'Saturday Night'.
    individual delusionon April 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^ That's an awesome explanation, if you can post more of those comments to other Eagles songs, that would be really nice.
    MookieBomberon March 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPerhaps it’s a matter of perspective, but naturally I've taken a completely different take on the songs meaning. Firstly, it’s nearly impossible to give an interpretation of a song's true meaning, without being the writer. So, all interpretations are subjective. Particularly that of "individual delusion" who the song seems to have stricken a personal chord with.

    1st stanza: In the 1st stanza, an image of bliss is painted between the two characters in the song. Love, happiness, and fulfillment are projected. Hence, the bluebird reference, who symbolizes all of these things in both literature and common mythology (old wives tales, the bluebird is an omen). From here we hear the chorus, a chorus of longing for something once familiar, but now lost. In the interpretation above, he suggests that this loss of Saturday night represents his loss of freedom to marriage. This does work, and fits quite nicely. As well, it could also represent a loss of innocence. Life has become fast pace and more stagnate, an environment difficult for love to flourish. Perhaps the writer is expressing distaste for industrialization, suggesting that it makes life cold, and loveless. A common thread among many people who oppose such a revolution. As well, its represents the changing times, with industrialization and the change in lifestyle. This would work well with the next stanza, which portrays a common image of this, the building of the railroad.

    2nd stanza: We see the image of a railroad being built. The railroad brings death to the simple country life once enjoyed, changing small towns into busy, industrial, monopolies. Thus, the railroad destroys the simplicity & innocence of life, and the home in which they shared is boarded up. Now, as the small town life dies, so does their relationship. His woman is now with another man, and he spends the time with his pride. Pride shouldn't be regarded as a positive here. The singer has too much pride to take his woman back, suggesting the means of their break-up was petty.

    3rd stanza: The singer portrays the situation has gotten out of control. The times when something is over, and you look back and wonder how it got so bad. The line "someone show me how to tell the dancer from the dance" is one of my favourites of the song. Essentially its means, what is the dancer without the dance? Nothing, just another member of the audience. The dance can represent many things, as it commonly does in music. It can represent their relationship (how can you separate the lover from the love), it can represent living (can you separate humans from their life). Thus, in my opinion, the dancer is the dance. We are our actions. At the end of the day, we are not judged on what we could have done, but what we did. We are judged on the life we lived, not the one we could have lived. The dance we danced. It’s a dilemma, how do you see past what someone does in their lives, to know the true person inside. Or do you judge them based on how they act, no matter what psychologically aspects are involved.

    4th stanza: From here, the chorus appears once again. Unfortunately, I do not know what significance the line "choosin a friend and losing a fight” holds. However, it perpetuates this idea of the conflict between two people who share closeness.

    Overall my interpretation is that the love that has died, representing the greater theme of the death to passion, life, and the vitality that people once had to the change of lifestyle. This change of circumstance, representing the greater change of life that occurred when the simplicity of life was interrupted by the need for wealth. And when business and work took seniority over happiness and people. The death of the love is just a parallel to the deeper loss of innocence that occurred when the world changed. Thus, the laid back Saturday night is now gone. Saturday has become a time to unwind from the work in solidarity. That's just what I took from it, and I'm sure some will think I'm entirely off. However, once again, interpretation is subjective, and should always remain that way.

    Besides analyzing and entirely killing the effect of the song, I absolutely love this song! Its one of those songs that when you’re driving in the car, and even if people are around, you just can't help to sing along! Hope this interpretation helps, even though I should have put more thought into it. If there are any visible holes, comment and fix them.
    paigepeachon September 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell put simply, I think this song is just about unforeseen consequences, in a love relationship the singer, thought would be for life but ended up being for not, after so many years passed, as well as the claustrophobic imprisoning feeling a lot people can get when settling down with someone and having to devote themselves to only that one person and family they had with that person. The second verse kinda says it all. The singer sounds like he feels maybe he rushed things too much with this women, and didn't really realize it until after many years passed. Its kinda funny how I can relate to this song a bit. Now that I'm almost 24, I always see the people I grew up with, all getting married, having kids, buying a house, settling down. The funny thing is a lot of the people I still talk to, really seem unsatisfied with that kinda life. They were all in such a rush to get married and have kids, and then all of a sudden they start to think "what now?" "sit here as me and my wife get older and less attractive looking?" over time that really can ware a person down, and in this case, the singer ended up divorced because of it, and now he's trying to repress his guilt and regret for all of it by "passing the time with his pride". The whole "how do you tell the dancer from the dance" is another thing that's actually a very simple meaning. Hes simply asking "how could he have seen any of this coming?" "how do you know when you first meet a man or women you really really like, that you're gonna feel that way a couple years from now or more?" There are a great many dancers in the world, all with different dances, some more spectacular than others. How do you know you're going to like a certain dance after seeing in 1000 times? Its something you really must look at choose very carefully when you do, as is love. If you try and rush love this song will more than likely be your fate.
    Faintofheartson June 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI don't agree with the above interpretations of "the dancer" and "the dance" reference. If you listen to that last part of the stanza, he is asking for help, "Someone show me how to tell..." because his life and relationships have gotten so complicated and confusing that he can no longer objectively distinguish the true feeling of love for someone (i.e., for the dancer), from the game of love (i.e.,the dance).

    Henley also references love as a dance in "Waiting in the Weeds" -- "If finding love is just a dance...proximity and chance...you will excuse me if I skip the masquerade..." In Saturday night, the meaning is similar, "What a tangled web we weave...Go 'round with circumstance." His life has gotten complicated, and his relationship is going in circles, like a spider spinning a tangled web.

    Proximity, chance, circumstance, love as a dance, etc. the imagery in both songs are very similar. The conclusion in "Waiting in the Weeds" is clear. If this is what trying to find love is all about, I'll take a pass.
    TheVeinon April 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere are some interesting interpretations here, and I think they've got some real merit. I'm wondering, however, whether context comes in. This was from the Desperado album, and the band was very much into a western outlaws theme.
    slowhand1on January 22, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm adding a feminine perspective, as I think all previous comments were from guys (and absolutely helped me understand lyrics better.)
    First and Second Stanza about beautiful and innocent love and loving--he's happy, so is she and she wants to make sure he feels good. She's part of what he loves about Saturday, the best day and night of his week, particularly making love with her.
    Third Stanza: They're married, and he hates the changes in his life; particularly the loss of freedom and self-expression ("Saturday night"). They divorce, she marries another and he "pass(es) the time with (his) pride"
    Fourth Stanza: He's alone, and wonders whether it was marriage ("the dance") or the woman he married ("the dancer") that was killed his spirit
    Fifth Stanza: She still cares about him. He still wants what he had when he had "Saturday night" and had her.
    karen10195on October 09, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm adding a feminine perspective, as I think all previous comments were from guys (and absolutely helped me understand lyrics better.)
    First and Second Stanza about beautiful and innocent love and loving--he's happy, so is she and she wants to make sure he feels good. She's part of what he loves about Saturday, the best day and night of his week, particularly making love with her.
    Third Stanza: They're married, and he hates the changes in his life; particularly the loss of freedom and self-expression ("Saturday night"). They divorce, she marries another and he "pass(es) the time with (his) pride"
    Fourth Stanza: He's alone, and wonders whether it was marriage ("the dance") or the woman he married ("the dancer") that was killed his spirit
    Fifth Stanza: She still cares about him. He still wants what he had when he had "Saturday night" and had her.
    karen10195on October 09, 2017   Link

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