Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)

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"Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)"
Single by Rod Stewart
from the album A Night on the Town
B-side "The Ball Trap" (UK)
"Fool For You" (US)
Released May 1976
Format 7" single
Genre Soft rock[1]
Length 3:56
Label Riva Records
Writer(s) Rod Stewart
Producer(s) Tom Dowd
Rod Stewart singles chronology
"This Old Heart of Mine"
"Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)"
"The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II)"

"Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)" is a song by Rod Stewart, recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama for his 1976 album A Night on the Town. The song became his second US chart topper on the Billboard Hot 100, peaked at #5 in UK, #3 in Australia and charted well in other parts of the world as well. It was the number 1 song in Billboard's 1977 year-end chart.

The song features a French spoken part from Britt Ekland who was Stewart's girlfriend at the time.[citation needed] While primarily recorded at Muscle Shoals, the final vocal was recorded at Caribou Ranch studios, where Stewart, Ekland and producer Tom Dowd spent several days. Some radio stations play edits of the song, shortening the coda, as well as the whispers, because they were deemed to be too suggestive for airplay, where the songs could be banned from being played on the air.

Background and lyrics[edit]

The singer is addressing a girl (later it states that she is a virgin), encouraging her to do various acts that one normally associates with preparing for sex, such as drawing the blinds, removing her shoes, and the like. One particular line is a relatively blatant double entendre referring to sex:

'Cmon Angel my heart's on fire
Don't deny your man's desire
You'd be a fool to stop this tide
Spread your wings and let me come inside 'cause
Tonight's the night (gonna be alright)

Some listeners have interpreted the song as an incestuous pedophile's successful seduction of his daughter. Stewart's persona explicitly refers to his partner as his "virgin child," and among her French comments at the end, she asks, "What is Mama going to say?" The implication that she is a minor appears visually in the video when he begins to offer her a glass of wine, but rescinds it and drinks the glass himself, waving her off as if she is too young to partake.

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been remade by such artists as: Betty Wright, Linda Clifford, Nicky Moore, and sung by Anthony Kavanagh, Terry Steele, who reached number forty-four on the R&B singles chart,[2] and Alison Crawford on Grease is the Word.

In Janet Jackson's cover, the lyrics imply that she and her partner are about to share a threesome with another woman. Indeed, Janet begins the song by saying, "This is just between me and you...and you." Additionally, each chorus addresses a different person, as she sings, "'Cause I love you, boy" in one and "'Cause I love you, girl" in another. "She even makes a bid for gay icon status…" wrote Neil McCormick in The Daily Telegraph's review of The Velvet Rope, "climaxing (if that's the right word) with a bizarre lesbian reinterpretation of Rod Stewart's 'Tonight's the Night'."[3]

The song was often included in Tina Turner's 1980s live set and features with another Rod Stewart song on her 'Nice n Rough' video.


  1. ^ "The 10 Ickiest Soft-Rock Hits of the '70s - Oldies Music". 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 550. 
  3. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 18 October 1997
Preceded by
"Rock'n Me" by Steve Miller Band
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
13 November 1976 – 1 January 1977
Succeeded by
"You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)" by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.
Preceded by
"Silly Love Songs" by Wings
Billboard Hot 100 Year-End number one single
Succeeded by
"Shadow Dancing" by Andy Gibb