Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)

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"Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)"
Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright) cover.jpg
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 (International)
September 1976 (US)
Format 7" single
Recorded December 1975
Genre Soft rock[1]
Length 3:56 (album version)
3:34 (edit)
Label Riva
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 Sheffield, 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 No. 5 in the UK, No. 3 in Australia and charted well in other parts of the world as well. It was the number 1 song on Billboard's 1977 year-end chart. It became the best-selling single of 1977 in the United States.

Background and lyrics[edit]

According to Dan Peek of America, Stewart's inspiration for "Tonight's the Night" was America's Top 30 hit "Today's the Day": Peek recalls that one evening when he and his guest Rod Stewart were playing together in Peek's home recording studio: "I played 'Today's the Day', the song I had been working on. Rod said that he liked it and that it gave him an idea for a song. Of course after his recording of 'Tonight's the Night' came out I laughed when I remembered what he'd said. I'm sure I probably smacked my forehead and said: 'Why didn't I think of that?'"[2]

The song features a French spoken part from Britt Ekland who was Stewart's girlfriend at the time.[3] 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.

The singer is addressing a girl (whom he calls "my virgin child"), 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.

Chart performance[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

In 1993, Stewart recorded a live version of the song during his session for MTV Unplugged. This version was included on the album Unplugged...and Seated.

The song has been remade by such artists as: Linda Clifford, Nicky Moore, and sung by Anthony Kavanagh, Terry Steele, who reached number forty-four on the R&B singles chart,[8] 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'."[9]

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. ^ Peak, Dan (2004). An American Band: the America Story. Xulon Press. ISBN 1-594679-29-0. 
  3. ^ Robert Windeler (1977-02-21). "Romantic Rod". People. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  4. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1976 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". 1963-12-08. Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 550. 
  9. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 18 October 1997

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Rock'n Me" by Steve Miller Band
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
13 November 1976 – 1 January 1977 (eight weeks)
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