There has been many pop songs which mention the days of the week, some which mention all of them. The year 2000 alone gave us Craig David’s number one single – ‘Seven Days’ and a contestant in the first series of Big Brother Nichola Holt had a number 72 smash hit with ‘The Game’.
But this blog post will be more about how individual days have been represented in the UK singles chart top 100, with the help of archives from polyhex.com and Official Charts Company website. Many of these songs mention every day anyway.
Monday tends to be the most unpopular day of the week, due to people starting yet another week of school or work. Even those who don’t do either seem to hate it, such as Garfield the cat, in his case because weird stuff happens to him then, everything from random pies splatting him in the face to him looking in a mirror and seeing Snoopy from Peanuts there instead.
Monday songs tend to be melancholy, but still quite nice to listen to. I suppose the idea is to ease you into the working week.
‘Monday, Monday’ by The Mamas and the Papas, number 3 in 1966, is quite sweet, with a hint of sarcasm, saying “it is so good to me, all I hoped it would be”, and noting that “Every other day of the week is fine”.
Reggae song ‘This Monday Morning Feeling’ by Tito Simon goes through all the days of the week, how you need to work to pay rent and support your children. Friday is pay day, on Saturday you’re shopping, Sunday is a day of rest, and the cycle begins again. But musically it’s quite pleasant.
The Monday song with the darkest subject matter is the 1979 number one single ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ by The Boomtown Rats, about a real life school shooting by a 16 year old girl, with her excuse being “I don’t like Mondays”.
Duran Duran’s ‘New Moon On Monday’ is notable for it’s peculiar video. It features some guy spluttering in French in a theatre, people on leather jackets and motorcycles, then horses and carts, axes, flaming torches, fireworks and a silver foil satellite in some sort of military dictatorship. Apparently one version of the video is a whopping 17 minutes long! By all accounts, Duran Duran hate the video and always have. They had to cut short their Christmas holiday to film in cold, dark January in France and spent most of the time getting drunk.
1997 saw two Britpop songs titled ‘Monday Morning’ which grazed the top 40. One by The Candyskins reached number 34 is really good, talks of staying in bed on 6AM on a Monday morning. The album it was taken from is called Sunday Morning Call.
The other reached number 37 and was ‘Monday Morning 5:19’ by Rialto, with the 5.19 referring to waking up at that time knowing you have to get up at 6.
I have a lot of Monday songs that I really like.
‘Manic Monday’ by The Bangles is rather lovely. It was written by Prince and reached number 2 in 1986. Waking up from a dream and reality setting in that you have to go to work and wishing it was Sunday.
I absolutely love ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ by The Carpenters. I’ve listened to it on many a Monday or rainy day or just a sad day. It really speaks to me, and shows Karen Carpenter’s beautiful voice. It was recorded and released in America in 1971, but didn’t chart in the UK until 1993. It was however a big hit in the US, reaching number 2. The B-side in the US was a polar opposite, called ‘Saturday’ and filled with lyrics about happy sunshine, bluebirds and flowers.
I hate that a lot of people think of “Blue Monday” nowadays as that nonsense pseudoscience advertising influenced repackaging of the third Monday in January.
In UK chart terms, the first song titled ‘Blue Monday’ is appropriately enough a blues song, by New Orleons singer Fats Domino, it reached number 23 in 1957. While that isn’t a bad song, for me, ‘Blue Monday’ will always be the New Order track.
It’s an all-time classic electronic song and the biggest selling 12 inch single of all time. ‘Blue Monday’, by the former Joy Division, first charted in 1983 and stayed on the charts for ages, charted several times in remixed forms in 1988 (which gave it its highest peak, number 3), 1995 and 2006 and has been mashed up with several songs over the years.
Monday may be considered the worst day, but Tuesday is often considered the least significant day of the week. That said, spoiler alert, it doesn’t do as bad in the UK singles chart as some other days. If anything, it’s mundanity seems to work in its favour. I guess it’s a case of there’s no such thing as bad publicity, even if the publicity is saying you’re dull.
The biggest Tuesday song is ‘Ruby Tuesday’ by the Rolling Stones, although it’s not about the day, but a person, possibly his one-time girlfriend Linda Keith. It was a US number one and reached number 3 in the UK in 1967. They also released a live version that was released in 1991. A couple of cover versions charted too. In 1970 American folk singer
Melanie Safka released one, and in 1993 Rod Stewart released a version.
Similarly, there’s the 1971 soul song ‘Everything’s Tuesday’ by Chairmen of the Board which is about being in love with a girl apparently named Tuesday. It was written and produced by the Motown songwriting/production team Holland–Dozier–Holland.
Just judging by the song title and the artist name, I expected ‘Sun Comes Up It’s Tuesday Morning’ by The Cowboy Junkies to be a dance track, but it’s harmonica and guitar strumming country-ish song about everyday humdrum life. Forgetting to close
the blinds last night, tea and toast for breakfast, doing nothing in the afternoon. Though the bit where she casually mentions her friend getting a black eye from her husband as if that’s just normal is very unsettling…
The 1993 track ‘Tuesday Morning’ by The Pogues is about the protagonist lying with his girlfriend on a Tuesday morning. It also mentions Monday evening. Monday finds it’s way into a lot of other day’s songs doesn’t it?
It wasn’t until 1999 until we got to ‘Tuesday Afternoon’. A six year long Tuesday?!? That is a long day! ‘Tuesday Afternoon’ was by Swedish R&B singer Jennifer Brown. The ‘just another day’-ness of Tuesday is the main theme, and is about her flatmate going to bar and having an embarrassing mistake of a drunken unprotected sexual encounter.
1997 saw ‘On A Tuesday’ by alternative band Linoleum, with a spy themed video and moody vocals, with the lyrics “funny how you never call me on a Tuesday”.
My favourite Tuesday song though is probably ‘Gentle Tuesday’ by Primal Scream, from 1987. It is from their debut album before they had more commercial success in the ’90s, and a bit of Early Installment Weirdness, as it’s quite sweet for them and more indie rock than the rougher and dancier stuff they became known for.
Wednesday is the least represented day of the week in the UK top 100 singles chart. There has only been ever one song which has charted with Wednesday in the title! Wednesday always been a day I’ve quite liked, but perhaps being midweek it has the least identity. Wednesdays child is full of woe I suppose, perhaps it’s the awkward middle child of the week.
Anyway, the song is ‘Wednesday Week’ by The Undertones. As with Primal Scream’s ‘Gentle Tuesday’, this track is more mellow than what the band was known for. In The Undertones case they were mostly known for punk rock. The track refers to “Wednesday week”, that is Wednesday the following week, and how one week it’s love, the next week it “never happened at all”.
The late David Bowie (it’s still sad having to write that) had a ballad titled ‘Thursday’s Child’ released in 1999. The song title is inspired by the title and book cover of a biography of Eartha Kitt, but the song itself isn’t about her.
In 2013, the Pet Shop Boys collaborated with Example. The track was simply titled ‘Thursday’. When people talk of a “4 day weekend”, they tend to mean Friday till Monday, but this has the weekend starting at Thursday, presumably until Sunday.
Friday is traditionally the last day of work, and as soon as work is over then people are free to start their weekend.
‘Friday On My Mind’ by Australian ’60s band The Easybeats goes through all the days of the week looking forward to Friday. It had a couple of cover verions within a year of each other in the ’80s, one by Gents in 1986, which was more dramatic and spooky sounding, and a rockier version by Gary Moore in 1987.
1979 saw Generation X, a punk rock band Billy Idol was in before he went solo, with a track called ‘Friday’s Angels’.
Friday the 13th is considered to be an unlucky day and a horror movie franchise was named after it. In 1981 goth-punk band The Damned had an E.P. with the ‘Friday the 13th’ as a title track.
‘Good Friday’ by the Modern Romance from 1983 is not about the Friday before Easter Sunday, but is another “going out on a Friday night” song.
Friday night is followed by Saturday morning, and a song ‘Ed’s Funky Diner (Friday Night, Saturday Morning)’ by It’s Immaterial has a really weird surreal video featuring among other things some angel that’s a dummy with mechanical wings and electronic halo and an animatronic toy black and white cat, an astronaut, close-ups of beans and doughnuts, a bloke who’s painted blue, a woman who has a poodle in a pram, people with cameras and jet engines for heads, and a drawer in a TV screen.
’90s boyband 911 took ‘Party People Friday Night’ to number 5 in 1997, and it takes the “counting down all the days of the week until we get to Friday” approach for Friday songs.
Britpop band Shed Seven reached number 11 in 1998 with ‘She Left Me On Friday’, the key lyric being “She left me on Friday and ruined my weekend!”. In 2003, Daniel Bedingfield reached number 28 with ‘Friday’ which was about a girlfriend who was “coming back on Friday”. Maybe they’re talking about the same girl?
‘Friday’s Child’ by Will Young was partly inspired by the nursery rhyme ‘Monday’s Child’. It references the lines “Monday’s child is fair of face” (“Monday’s got a beautiful baby”), “Wednesday’s child is full of woe” (“Wednesday’s Child will never win”),
“Saturday’s child works hard for his living” (“Saturday will work till he’s crazy “), and
“Friday’s child is loving and giving” (“Friday’s child was born to give”).
So with David Bowie representing “has far to go” Thursday’s child, that just leaves “bonnie and blithe and good and gay” people born on a Sunday and “full of grace” people born on a Tuesday unrepresented.
McFly’s ‘Friday Night’ was quite Blink 182-ish compared to what they usually did, though it sounds more about nightmares than most Friday songs. It was from the soundtrack to the film Night At The Museum.
But of course, the most infamous Friday song is from 2011, ‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black, with her terrible autotuned… well, it would generous to call it “singing”, and cheesy inane lyrics, the cheap, tacky video and the rent-a-rapper. In fairness, it was at least hilariously awful, so it wasn’t completely worthless, but it was more of viral You Tube hit than a hit single. It only reached number 60. The Glee Cast did one of their seemingly billions of cover versions in same year, and it charted higher at number 46. While it’s an improvement on the original I suppose, it’s still teethrottingly obnoixous.
I guess it’s fitting that Glee’s spiritual ancestors, The Kids From ‘Fame’, charted with a Friday song, ‘Friday Night (Live Version)’, number 13 in 1983. While it is an original song rather than a cover version, it’s still rubbish.
But back to 2011, and there would be another Friday, and Rebecca Black appeared in the video. ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’ by Katy Perry which made number 9 in the UK and number 1 in the US. I really enjoy this song, it’s one of my favourite Friday songs, and it has a very funny ’80s teen movie inspired video.
My all-time favourite Friday song though is ‘Friday I’m In Love’ by The Cure which reached number 6 in 1992. It’s another “going through all the days of the week” song, and is rather nice.
Saturday Night is generally when people go out on the weekends, as a result there are a lot of songs called Saturday Night, or variations of it.
‘Saturday Nite At The Duck-Pond’ by The Cougars made number 33 in 1963. “Cougars” is referring to the big cat rather than the 21st century slang term for glamorous older women after a hot young stud. I think there should be a cougar girlgroup though. Anyway, ‘Saturday Nite At The Duck-Pond’ was an instrumental song with a guitar riff and was based on the music of Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky. It was a thing at the time, for many ’60s musicians to include classical melodies in their music. B Bumble and the Stingers got to number one in 1962 with ‘Nut Rocker’ which used elements from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.
‘Another Saturday Night’ is about not being able to get a date on Saturday night. It was first a hit for Sam Cooke in 1963, peaked at number 23, then for Cat Stevens in 1974, peaking at number 19. The lyrics refer to “a cat named Frankenstein”. Is this where Rob Grant and Doug Naylor got the name of Lister’s pet cat Frankenstein in Red Dwarf?
Vocal group The Drifters have ‘Saturday Night At The Movies’ as a double A-side with ‘At The Club’. It was originally released in 1965 peaking at number 35, but wasn’t a big hit until it was re-released in 1972, peaking at number 3. ‘Saturday Night At The Movies’ is about going with your girlfriend to the cinema (or “the picture show”). The Drifters have another Saturday night song, ‘Every Nite’s A Saturday Night With You’, which got to number 29 in 1976. It features the lyrics “Even on a Monday we can have a party too”. Once again, Monday worms it’s way into a lot of other days of the week doesn’t it?
It was the 1970s that was the biggest decade for songs about Saturday Night. It is famously rembered as the decade of disco, and the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta and the Bee Gees providing most of the soundtrack. The title track ‘Night Fever’ doesn’t mention Saturday though.
Terry Dactyl And The Dinosaurs had a track called ‘On A Saturday Night’. I saw a clip of them performing it. The lead singer has an accordion and a straw hat, another guy has a mandolin, there’s a bloke wearing a t-shirt covered in buttons and banging a stick with a cartoon monkey’s head on top and a boot at the bottom. I had heard of Terry Dactyl And The Dinosaurs, as they always seem to get mentioned when UK ’70s pop music is discussed. Looking it up, they were one-hit wonders with number 2 hit ‘Seaside Shuffle’. It’s odd because you never see them get bought up among one hit wonders, only among novelty ’70s acts. It could be because a lot of one hit wonders are never seen again in the charts in any form, whereas here the lead singer would become Jona Lewie and had a slightly more successful solo career with the hits ‘You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen at Parties’ and the Christmas favourite ‘Stop The Cavalry’ in 1980.
With David Bowie’s 1973 number 3 hit ‘Drive-In Saturday’, you might think it’s another Saturday song about going to the movies on a date, a drive-in, but it’s not, it’s actually a post-apocalyptic future where people no longer know how to have sex so have to learn from old porn films.
Also from 1973, one of the most famous Saturday night songs, ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ by Elton John, which made number 7. It’s a bit rockier than most of his other songs, about fighting drinking on Saturday night outs.
Yet another from 1973 is ‘Dancing On A Saturday Night’ by Barry Blue, which is all but forgotten now but was a number 2 hit! It’s incredibly cheesy. There’s a video clip of him lip-syncing badly, dancing even worse, and with the audience looking bored out of their minds. He has a glittery blue costume with B sewn on it and a silver lightning bolt. Apparently, his real name was Barry Green, is it similar to Priscilla White becoming Cilla Black? In any case, Barry Blue’s career as a pop star didn’t last long, but he had more success when he became a songwriter for other acts.
There are loads more from the ’70s, we’ll be here all day going through them all. One of the ones I liked the most is ‘Saturday Night (Beneath The Plastic Palm Trees)’ by punk rock band The Leyton Buzzards in 1979, about about how some places you go on nights out can be a bit naff and trashy.
The 1970s influenced other decades for Saturday night tracks too. While it didn’t chart, ‘Saturday’ by Chic vocalist Norma Jean Wright was covered in 1997 by East 57th Street featuring Donna Allen, making number 29, and re-worked as ‘Just Can’t Wait (Saturday)’ in 2004 by 100% featuring Jennifer John, making number 28.
In the ’80s Saturday night songs took a more R&B-ish direction. ‘Get Down Saturday Night’ by Oliver Cheatham made number 38 in 1983, and has a message of you work all week, so you should make sure to have fun at the weekend, even if you’re staying at home.
The track would later have a second lease of life in the early 2000s. It was included on the soundtrack to the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002, and it has been sampled multiple times, most famously for Room 5’s 2003 number one hit ‘Make Luv’, and also ‘The Weekend’, a number 7 hit by Michael Gray in 2004.
‘Saturday Love’, a duet with R&B singers Cherelle and Alexander O’Neal made number 6 in 1985, and has reappeared in various guises. It charted again in 1990, it was covered in 1991 by Illegal Motion featuring Simone Chapman (making number 67), and was sampled in 2008 on rapper Sway’s track ‘Saturday Night Hustle’ which featured Lemar interpolating lines from ‘Saturday Love’.
‘A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays’ by De La Soul which made number 22 in 1991 was a hip hop track about going to a roller-rink rather than a disco. Indie rock band Kingmaker had ‘Saturday’s Not What It Used To Be’ in 1993, about how they “could never find a jukebox that has my favourite songs”. But the 1990s was more electro dance when it came to Saturday night tracks, such as ‘Saturday Night Party (Read My Lips)’ by Alex Party.
But THE saturday night song of them all has to be ‘Saturday Night’ by Whigfield, a number one hit in 1994. Growing up in the ’90s in West Yorkshire I heard this countless times, and when I was a kid I used to think she was called Wakefield! If like Charley from Big Brother 8 you haven’t heard of it, Wakefield is a city in West Yorkshire where Channelle from Big Brother 8 is from, (well, I think she’s technically more from the Pontefract area, but she said Wakefield, so I’ll just go with that).
Anyway, ‘Saturday Night’ was by Whigfield, a Danish Eurodance singer. The song is remembered for the duck quacking sound in the background. It hasn’t aged well, but
that can be part of nostalgia appeal I suppose. This sort of track wouldn’t be made or at least wouldn’t be a hit today. This video is so very 1990s, not least the hairstyles of Whigfield herself and of the guys in photos she’s looking at. If it were made today it would probably be more glossy and sexually explicit than the more down-to-earth “getting ready to go out” video it has.
Whigfield is also remembered as a one hit wonder, but she wasn’t really. She had 4 other top 40 entries, including two top tens!
‘Saturday Night’ even spawned a pointless karaoke cover version a couple of years later by Sindy (or Sin-D), who looked a bit like a Sindy doll which had been bought to life. It was produced by Stock Aitken Waterman (or maybe it was just one of them rather than all three). Actually, seeing as I’ve mentioned Big Brother 8, if Sindy’s version reminds me of anything, it reminds me of BB8 twins Samanda’s cover of Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’.
Bernard Butler and David McAlmont collaborated a few times as McAlmont and Butler, and both have charted separately with Saturday songs. Bernard Butler just scraped in
at number 100 with ‘Saturday’ in 1995, which was an ode to Pride. In 1997 David McAlmont charted as part of Suede with ‘Saturday Night’ making number 6. The video is notable for featuring actress Keeley Hawes before she was more famous, eating a bag of chips in a subway.
Erasure have a Saturday song (‘I Love Saturday’, number 20 in 1994) AND a Sunday song (‘Sunday Girl’, number 33 in 2007). It’s not a cover of the Blondie classic though.
A couple of other tracks I quite like. There’s dance-pop track ‘Saturday Night’ by UD Project, which made number 19 in 2004. It is very, very generic, but I have a soft spot for it. And apparently ‘UD’ project stands for Underdog! Then there’s ‘Saturday Superhouse’ by rock band Biffy Clyro which got to number 13 in 2007, and has a fairly standard message of not worrying so much about your choices and trying to live in the here and now.
Sunday’s dreariness is different from that of other days of the week. It’s more specific. It’s a kind of cosy, humdrum sugary type which can be nice, but can make you feel bored and glum after a while. Washing your car, doing the lawn, the odd barbecue, white picket fence, suburban comfort. People tend to have a mixed opinion on it. On one hand,it’s pleasant, comfortable and content, on the other hand, dull mediocrity and quietly oppressive conservatism can drive people nuts sometimes. So yes, Sunday of all days is the most contentious day in terms of how the singles chart has characterised it!
The first chart entry with Sunday in the title was ‘Never On Sunday’ in 1960 which is a song in a film called, well, Never On Sunday. The film is a romcom set in Greece about an American tourist and a hooker with a heart of gold.
The music is rather nice and sounds very “holiday romance”. There were FIVE versions of the song to chart in the UK in 1960. None were the original, which was in Greek, by Manos Hadjidakis. Nor were any actually used in the film, the English language version in the film was by Melina Mercouri. But at this time it wasn’t that unusual for different versions of a song to compete to which would be the bigger hit. This view that you should never, ever cover a song and it’s a crime to do so seems to be a fairly recent one. But there is certainly an argument that few of us need multiple different versions of the same song.
The ones that charted in the UK were Manuel And The Music Of The Mountains (reached number 29), Don Costa And His Orchestra And Chorus (number 37), Makadopolous And His Greek Serenaders (number 36), Chaquito Orchestra (number 50), which are all instrumentals, and a vocal version by Lynn Cornell (number 30).
The lyrics to the vocal version of ‘Never On Sunday’ has the protagonist say her lover can kiss her every day of the week, but she wants a rest on Sunday. In 1961 ‘My Sunday
Baby’ by the Dale Sisters, a doo-wop English vocal trio of sisters from Yorkshire, had the opposite, they look forward to seeing their boyfriend on Sunday.
In 1976 Wirral band (I’ve been told plenty of times by Scousers not to say Liverpool and Wirral are the same) Buster had a track called ‘Sunday’ in which the protagonist
says he doesn’t want to have to wait until Sunday to see his girlfriend. Not sure if it’s an answer record to the Dale Sisters. But Yorkshire-Liverpool is plausible as a long distance.
‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ by The Monkees from 1967, was a disillusioned, cynical take on Sunday suburbia Pleasentville, mowing the lawn, checking the roses are in bloom suburban, being comfortable, and “keeping up with the Joneses”.
‘Lazy Sunday Afternoon’ by The Small Faces from 1968 reached number 2. It is about living in the East End, lazing around on Sunday and not getting on with your neighbours. Apparently, it inspired Blur – ‘Parklife’!
Speaking of Blur, they had their own quite funny Sunday song, ‘Sunday, Sunday’ in 1993, with all the usual Sunday stuff, reading newspapers, hanging around in a caravan, walking in the park, washing your car, barbecues and Sunday roasts. I have shamelessly included the video primarily because Damon Albarn was so pretty back then.
‘All The Myths On Sunday’ by Leicester band Diesel Park West from 1989 also takes a sneery look at white picket fences, washing cars and sitting in the sun in deckchairs, but
their main target is right wing Sunday papers who pander to the prejudices of middle aged, middle class, middle of the road Middle England, the types who are constant complainers but describe themselves as the “silent majority”.
‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’ by Morrissey talks of seaside towns where every day is Sunday, “every day is silent and grey”. The video features actress Billie Whitelaw and clips from Carry On Abroad. While I don’t remember much of the ’80s, given that I wasn’t even born
during most of it, this video looks so familiar! Probably all those British seaside resorts we used to go to, and yes I have to admit I am old enough to remember Sundays where pretty much nothing was open.
‘What Are You Doing Sunday’ reached number 3 for Dawn featuring Tony Orlando in 1971, which was about proposing to a woman to get married in a park Sunday afternoon.
‘Beautiful Sunday’ by Daniel Boone from 1972 was also about going to the park with a loved one, listening to the birds singing.
In 1993 Vanessa Paradis charted with ‘Sunday Mondays’, which is a quite sweet, has jangly guitars and brass sounds, lyrics about walking through the park seeing blue skies. Vanessa Paradis has a gorgeous voice. It seems most of the positive views of Sundays involve going
to a park! Though I think this particular track is talking about Mondays which feel like a Sunday.
Sunday songs took an alternative rock turn in the ’90s.
One of my favourite songs with Sunday in the title, certainly one of my most played is ‘Sunday Morning’ by No Doubt. It’s a bitter break-up song, but a strangely happy upbeat one.
‘Sunday’ by New York rock band Sonic Youth was from 1998 and featured Macauly Culkin in the video.
Then in 2000 we had ‘Sunday Morning Call’ by Oasis, which was rumoured to be about Kate Moss.
For the ultimate Sunday song, I’d still have to go for ‘Easy’ by The Commodores. It’s a bit of a cheat as it doesn’t technically have Sunday in the title, but many people know the song as “Easy like Sunday morning” anyway.
It is THE Sunday song for a lot of people. A number one US hit, number 9 here, ‘Easy’ is a soul song about being content despite heartbreak. Lionel Richie said it was inspired partly by small Southern American towns around where he grew up.
Rock band Faith No More did a cover version in 1993, re-titled as ‘I’m Easy’. It charted higher than the original in the UK surprisingly, and their highest charting UK single, peaking at number 3.
My other contender for best Sunday song is ‘Sunday Girl’ by Blondie. I adore that “Cold as icecream but still as sweet” line. For me this is a perfect pop song. It was never released in the US, but one of their most famous UK number one hits, and there’s also a version in French.
I hope you enjoyed this post, even if it’s taken you a whole week to read all of it!