(Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night

(The Heart Of Saturday Night studio version, 1974)

Well, you gassed her up, behind the wheel
With your arm around your sweet one in your Oldsmobile
Barrelin' down the boulevard
You're lookin' for the heart of Saturday night

And you got paid on Friday, your pockets are jinglin'
Then you see the lights and you get all tinglin'
Cause you're cruisin' with a six(2)
You're lookin' for the heart of Saturday night

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

Stoppin' on the red, you're goin' on the green
Cause tonight'll be like nothin' you've ever seen
And you're barrelin' down the boulevard
You're lookin' for the heart of Saturday night

Tell me, is it the crack of the poolballs, neon buzzin'
Telephone's ringin', it's your second cousin
Is it the barmaid that's smilin' 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 dreamin' of them Saturdays that came before
And now you're stumblin'
You're stumblin' onto the heart of Saturday night

You gassed her up and you're behind the wheel
With your arm around your sweet one in your Oldsmobile
Barrelin' down the boulevard
You're lookin' for the heart of Saturday night

Is it the crack of the poolballs, neon buzzin'
Telephone's ringin', it's your second cousin
And the barmaid is smilin' from the corner of her eye
Magic of the melancholy tear in your eye

Makes it kind of special down in the core
And you're dreamin' of them Saturdays that came before
It's found you stumblin'
Stumblin' onto the heart of Saturday night

And you're stumblin'
Stumblin' onto the heart of Saturday night

Written by: Tom Waits(1)
Published by: Fifth Floor Music Inc. (ASCAP), 1974 & Warner Bros. Music Ltd, 1986
Official release: "The Heart Of Saturday Night", Elektra/ Asylum Records, 1974 &
"Anthology Of Tom Waits", WEA/ Elektra, 1984 &
"Asylum Years", WEA International Inc., 1986



Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night

(Kansas City live version. October 8, 1979)

Well thankya... . I used to work in an Italian restaurant in a small place called National City. And it was right across the street from the Golden Barrel. It was right next to a place called the Westerner. There was a place called Ybu Ima Eddie's tattoo-parlour. Burge Robert's Mortuary... And I had this 1958 Buick Super at the time and eh.. it kinda made everything a little easier to handle... And on Saturday nights, well I was going with a girl called Margaret Tarrentino. Her father owned this big restaurant and eh... I asked her to the prom... it was the biggest mistake in my life... (laughter). Huh, huh, huh... Her parents couldn't stand me, they said I'd never amount to nothing. So this one's for you Margaret! (huge roar)

Well, you gassed her up, you're behind the wheel
with your arm around your sweet one, Oldsmobile.
You're Barrelin' down the boulevard,
lookin' for the heart of Saturday night.

You got paid on Friday, your pockets are jinglin',
then you see the lights and you get all tinglin'.
You're cruisin' with a six,(2)
lookin' for the heart of Saturday night.

And you're combing your hair, oh you're shaving your face.
Tryin' to wipe out every trace. All the other days in the week,
this would be the Saturday reachin' your peak.
Stoppin' on the red, goin' on the green.
Oh and tonight'll be like nothin' you ever seen.
You're barrelin' down the boulevard
lookin' for the heart of Saturday night.

Tell me, is it the crack of the poolballs or the neon buzzin'.
Telephone's ringin', it's your second cousin.
The barmaid she's smilin' from the corner of her eye.
Magic of the melancholy tear in your eye.

It makes it kind of special, down in the core.
And you're dreamin' of them Saturdays that came before.
And they found you stumblin',
stumblin' on the heart of Saturday night.

And you gassed her up, you're behind the wheel
with your arm around your sweet one in your Oldsmobile.
Barrelin' down the boulevard,
lookin' for the heart of Saturday night.

Tell me, is it the crack of the poolballs or the neon buzzin'.
Or the Telephone ringin', it's your second cousin.
Well the barmaid is smilin' from the corner of her eye.
Magic of the melancholy tear in your eye.

Makes it kind of special down in the core.
And you're dreamin' of them Saturdays that came before
they found you stumblin' oh you're stumblin'
on the heart of Saturday night.

Stumblin', stumblin'. Stumblin' on the heart,
oh now you're stumblin' on the heart of Saturday night.
Stumblin' on the heart, stumblin' on the heart of Saturday night... .

And there's some cat walking down the street, and he's singing "Since I Fell For You". Ohhh and I'm huddled in front of this liquor store, I'm pumping dimes into the phone. Ohhh and they're lonely on Sunset and Vine. Ohhh and they're lonely on 32nd and Downing. Lonely on Broadway tonight. Oh, and they're lonely on 5th and Main. They're lonely on Harlem 125th Street, Lennox Avenue, and they're lonely on 23rd street and 8th Avenue. And they're lonely on 12th Street and Vine (applause)(3) They're lonely on Gordon, they're lonely on Bandit(?). And they're lonely on Bourbon Street tonight baby. Oh, they're lonely on Canal Street...

So put your arm around the one you love. You gotta hold her tight, on this lonely, lonely Saturday night. They're lonely on Hollywood Boulevard baby. Someone's all alone and blue. All they need is you, on this lonely Saturday night. They wanna be stumblin' baby, they wanna be stumblin' on the heart, on the heart of Saturday night. Stumblin' on the heart... stumblin' on the heart of Saturday night.

All you need is a full tank of gas... to be with the one that you love... A lot of times you think you can make it all by yourself... They're lonely on Sunset and Boulevard tonight and they're stumblin'... stumblin' on the heart, on the heart of Saturday night...

Known covers:
It's A Good Night For Singin'. Jerry Jeff Walker, 1976. MCA - MCA2022
The Return Of The Wanderer, Dion DiMucci. 1979/ 1996. Lifesong (1979)/ Ace (Return Of The Wanderer & Fire In The Night 1996)
Fjorton Sånger. Bad Liver & Hans Brustna Hjärtan. 1989. Nonstop Records (1989), City Records (re-release May, 1993) NSM 33-15 (in Swedish: "Lördagshjärtat")
Long Term Lovers Of Pain. Hue And Cry. 1991. Circa YRCD71
Paper Doll. The Picketts. October, 1992. Popllama Records
Is My Love Enough. Chris Daniels & The Kings. September, 1993. Flying Fish Records
Cover Girl, Shawn Colvin. 1994. Columbia/ Sony 477240 2 (live version)
Street Corner Singers. Reunion. June, 1994. Collectables Records (Doo-Wop/ a-cappella version)
You Must Ask The Heart. Jonathan Richman. April, 1995. Rounder Records
Step Right Up (The Songs Of Tom Waits). Various artists. November, 1995. Manifesto Records. Performed by Jonathan Richman
Temptation. Holly Cole, 1995. Blue Note Records/ Capital (Japan/ USA)
Stained Glass. Steve Gibbons. 1996. Incog Records IncogCD001 (UK, 1996), Havic Records HirCD7003 (USA, 1997)
Bloodied But Unbowed. Desperado. 1996. Destroyer
You. John Joseph Nolis. 1998. Nolis Internationale Records
Poultry Motion. Amazing Rhythm Chickens. 1998. Big Medicine Records (June 16, 2004)
Collection. Holly Cole Trio. September, 1998. EMI (Australia)
Joe's Pub. Rickie Lee Jones. 1999. Great Big Island
Heart Of Saturday Night. Showvinistics. May 18, 1999. Forevermore Records (a cappella)
Limbo: Motion Picture Soundtrack. Various artists. June 1, 1999. Sony (performed by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio)
This Time From The Heart. Marie Mazziotti. May 2, 2000. The Orchard
Nach mir die Sintflut - Ambros singt Waits. Wolfgang Ambros. October 9, 2000. Ariol/ Gig Records 74321 797002 (in German: "Samstag Nacht")
Mosquitoville (revisited). Frenchy Burrito. 2002. Self-released
Action Packed: The Best Of Jonathan Richman. Jonathan Richman. February, 2002. Rounder Records
Traveler. Steve Hass. October, 2003. The Orchard
Using That Thing. Reet Petite & Gone. August, 2002. Terra Nova/ UK
Double Back. Lannie Garrett. 2003. Self-released
Careless Love. 2 Blue Shoes. 2004. Self-released (re-release in 2006)
Greatest Hits Live at the Bottom Line. Lou Christie. August 3, 2004. Varese Records
Bittersweet And Blue. Gwyneth Herbert. September, 2004. Ucj
On The Road - Chicago, IL - October 30, 2004. String Cheese Incident. 2005. Self-released OTR11.103004
Kindred Spirits. Billy Davidson and Steve Webb. 2005. Self-released
We Get A Kick Out Of Jazz. Various artists. January, 2005. Verve Records (performed by Diana Krall)
The Wanderlust Diaries. Mary Karlzen. June 5, 2006 (re-released on March 20, 2007). Dualtone
Half The Perfect World. Madeleine Peyroux. September 3, 2006. Universal Music
Way Past Ready. Tim Pritchett. February 28, 2007. Self-released
Bangin' On The Table With An Old Tin Cup. Pascal Fricke. April 12, 2007. Self-released (Germany)
The Very Best Of Diana Krall. Diana Krall. September 18, 2007. Verve Records
5 am. Steve Crawford and Spider Mackenzie. March 22, 2008. Self-released
Don't Let Go. Jack Williams. April 30, 2008. Wind River
Nobody Wins. Gemma Vicens Band. May 20, 2008. Temps Records
Live At the Anchorage 2.0. Niagara Rhythm Section. October 30, 2008. Shed Records
Saturday Freedom. Bruce Stephens. November 19, 2008. Rear Window Music
My Name Is Hope Webster. Karen Lano. October 1, 2009. BeeJazz (France)
Love You Forever. Catherine Reed. January 30, 2010. Winterwood Records
Ride The Times. Iain Matthews & Ad van der Veen. May 14, 2010. Turtle Records
Trio. Rita Bolton. October 15, 2010. Self-released


Waits performing "The Heart Of Saturday Night". Taken from Soundstage Show #208 (1975).
PBS television show on Tom Waits and Mose Allison. Chicago/ USA.
Aired December 22, 1975, recorded November 3, 1975 or earlier.

Notes:

(1) The Heart Of Saturday Night:
- Tom Waits (introducing The Heart Of Saturday Night, 1973): "It's a new song, I'm anxious to play it, it's kind of about driving down Hollywood Boulevard on Saturday night, Bob Webb and I were kicking this around one afternoon, Saturday afternoon it was, the idea of looking for the heart of Saturday night, hadn't really worked on any tune about it yet, we're both real Jack Kerouac fans and this is kind of a tribute to Kerouacians I guess." (Source: Folkscene 1973, with Howard and Roz Larman (KPFK-FM 90.7). Los Angeles/ USA. August 12, 1973)
- Barney Hoskyns (2009) quoting from a letter to girlfriend Bobi Thomas: “In one letter Waits mentioned the possibility of upcoming studio dates for his second album. Determined to be truer to his vision of himself as a jazz centric Beat poet, he was busy writing songs that depicted the American street life he'd absorbed from Kerouac and others. Pride of place went to "(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night," a wistful slice of streetwise optimism born one Saturday afternoon as Waits and Bob Webb drove along Alvarado Street and then cruised Hollywood Boulevard in search of kicks and inspiration. The idea of "looking for the heart of Saturday night" came directly from Visions of Cody, in which Kerouac's eponymous hero was "hurrying for the big traffic, - ever more exciting, all of it pouring into town - Saturday night.' Waits claimed he'd written the song in five minutes. "We struck on Kerouac's concept of wanting to be at 'the cen¬ter of Saturday night in America,"' Bob Webb recalls. "We got caught up in that literary notion and decided that each of us would create something around the theme. I drove home and stayed up all night writing a short play about some denizens of a backstreet poolroom. Some time after I left, Tom picked up a guitar and wrote the lyrics and music for ‘Heart of Saturday Night.’ He had it the next day(Source: “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

(2) Cause you're cruisin' with a six: this would probably refer to having a six-pack of beers while driving, in a time drink-and-drive wasn't regarded to be such a crime yet. Jerry Yester (2007): "He liked to buy a six-pack of Coors and go park somewhere and just talk. He'd talk about whatever was on his mind, and I'd talk about what was on my mind. I really liked that part of the relationship. He was real genuine, absolutely down to the nickel" (Source: Jerry Yester interview June 8, 2007 as quoted in “Lowside Of The Road: A Life Of Tom Waits" by Barney Hoskyns. Faber/ Broadway, 2009)

(3) 12th Street and Vine: A reference to the W. Harrison song "Kansas City", which says: "I'm goin' be standin on the corner. Twelfth Street and Vine. I'm goin' be standin on the corner. Twelfth Street and Vine. With my Kansas City baby. And a bottle of Kansas City wine." Wilibert Harrison also penned "Let's Stick Together" which appears on the "Down In The Groove" Bob Dylan album. In the actual city of Kansas City, there is no corner of 12th Street and Vine. The two streets do not intersect. (Thanks to Mikael Borg, as sent to Tom Waits Library, December 15, 2003)