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Saturday Gigs

I have a hunch that Ian Hunter’s departure from Mott the Hoople was, perhaps subconsciously, triggered more than anything else by his own sense that this phase of his career was over.
One of the odd things is that Saturday Gigs, the band’s last single, sounds so much like a valediction.
The song indulges what is perhaps Hunter’s central theme throughout his work – that life is a grey business to which rock ‘n’ roll (and Mott the Hoople in particular) provides some temporary relief.
After Honaloochie Boogie, All the Way from Memphis, The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll and Roll away the Stone, Hunter knew how to write hit singles, but Saturday Gigs does not sound like one; it is too slow and downbeat.
As Mott the Hoople’s farewell though, it is perfect. Listening to it now, it is hard to believe that it was ever intended otherwise.

Saturday Gigs

Sixty-nine, cheapo wine,
Have a good time,
What your sign?
Float up to the Roundhouse
On a Sunday afternoon.

In Seventy we all agreed
A King’s Road flat was the place to be
’cause Chelsea girls are the best in the world for company.

In Seventy-one all the people come
Bust a few seats but it’s just in fun
Take the Mick out of Top of the Pops
We play better than they do
(yeah, yeah, yeah)

In Seventy-two we was born to lose
We slipped down snakes into yesterday’s news
I was ready to quit
But then we went to Croydon

Do you remember the Saturday gigs?
We do, we do
Do you remember the Saturday gigs?
We do, we do

The tickets for the fantasy were twelve and six a time
A fairy tale on sale

Oh, Seventy-three was a jamboree
We were the dudes and the dudes were we.
(oh oh oh oh oh)
Did you see the suits and the platform boots?
(oh dear, oh boy, oh my oh)

In Seventy-four on the Broadway tour
We didn’t much like dressing up no more
Don’t wanna be hip – but thanks for a great trip.

Do you remember the Saturday gigs?
We do, we do
Do you remember the Saturday gigs?
We do, we do

But now the kids pay a couple of quid
‘Cause they need it just the same
It’s all a game
A grown-up game
But you got off on those Saturday gigs
And we did, we did
‘Cause you got off on those Saturday gigs
And we did, we did
And we got off on those Saturday gigs
And you did, you did
And we got off on those Saturday gigs
‘Cause you did, you did

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye …

Notes
1. Roundhouse. Train turntable house made into a rock venue in North London.
2. King’s Road – a main road in Chelsea, a district of London
3. Top of the Pops – a weekly pop charts show on BBC TV
4. Croydon – a town south of London where Mott the Hoople had a strong following, venue for its best live album, Live at Fairfield Halls Croydon
5. Broadway tour – the band’s triumphant 1974 week on Broadway, New York

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