Why Elton John’s 1st Version of ‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’ Was ‘Aborted’

Elton John‘s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” wasn’t an easy song to create. During an interview, one of the writers of “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” revealed the first version of the song was “aborted.” He also said he and John tried to create the song in a studio surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards.

Elton John on a couch
Elton John | D. Morrison/Express/Getty Images

Why Elton John and Bernie Taupin wanted to craft ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ in Jamaica

One of the most famous albums of the 1970s is John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. It features numerous classic songs, including the title track, “Candle in the Wind,” and “Bennie and the Jets.” All of the songs on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road were co-written by John and Bernie Taupin. During an interview with Rolling Stone, John discussed where he worked on the album with Taupin. “We went to Jamaica to write and record at Dynamic Studios in Kingston,” he said. 

John said other popular artists used the same studio. “That’s where The Rolling Stones had done Goats Head Soup and Cat Stevens had done Foreigner,” he recalled. “And we thought we’d have a change of climate from the chateau where we’d done the last couple of albums.”

‘Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting’ is the only song Elton John and Bernie Taupin tried to record in Jamaica

Taupin said their time in Jamaica wasn’t great. “To use the terminology of the time, it was not a ‘good vibe,'” he said. “I remember a lot of barbed wire around the studio and armed guards. 

“We spent a lot of time congregating around the pool area of the hotel, feeling there was safety in numbers,” John said. “The Stones did manage to record there, but in retrospect I think they had a mobile unit with them. The only thing I remember trying to record was ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.’ It was an aborted [attempt], just atrocious.”


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The way the world reacted to ‘Saturday Night’s All Right for Fighting’

The album version of “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” became popular. The song reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 12 weeks. The song’s parent album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, was an even bigger hit. It topped the Billboard 200 and spent 111 weeks on the chart.

“Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” was also a hit in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song peaked at No. 7 and remained on the chart for nine weeks. Meanwhile, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road topped the chart and lasted on it for 102 weeks. “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” appeared in John’s cameo scene from Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle. “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” became a classic song even if it was difficult to create.