Monday, March 05, 2007


Don French, Lonely Saturday Night.
Don French, Goldilocks.

As ominous as it is ridiculous, Don French's "Lonely Saturday Night" captures a certain aspect of adolescence--the belief that a temporary bout of misery is somehow eternal.

The singer doesn't have a date for Saturday night, as the girl he likes stood him up. But as the song goes on, he moves from desperation to panic to, eventually, near-hysteria, with French's (at-times comically) deep vocal countered by dry guitar and minimal bass. The track goes full-tilt berserk in the bridge, when French, after writhing with jealousy upon seeing happy couples walking by, envisions his female counterpart, just as miserable as he is, but separated from him. Forever!

But don't worry too much--the b-side, "Goldilocks," finds French hanging down on the docks, back in the game.

French demonstrates the limits of half-hearted research: all I managed to find is this site, which has him born in 1940 in Media, Penn. (which I'll take as fact, for why would you make up the place of birth for an obscure '50s pop singer?). French apparently made only two singles--"Saturday Night/"Goldilocks" and the latter's possible sequel "Little Blonde Girl." And then down the memory drain he goes.

Released in March 1959 as Lancer 104. "Saturday Night" is on Golden Age of American Rock and Roll Vol. 4; "Goldilocks" is on Solid Stroll Vol. 2.


Margo French said...

Obviously you have not done your homework regarding the history of the recording artist, Don French. He was a rising star in the late 50's who was exceptionally talented. His career was impacted by the payola scandal, when the disc jockey;s were demanding payoffs to play the records of new artists. When the scandal erupted, new recording artists had to resort to going on tour constantly, something that was difficult for young artists who were in college,like Don French. He could not go on tour without giving up his college education. He attempted to tour while continuing his studie, which proved to be impossible. His manager then concentrated on promoting his other clients who were willing to devote their entire lives to their craft. Don French remained extremely popular in Europe - his song Lonely Saturday Night was a huge success there. Recently, he was contacted by an English radio station, that flew to the states to interview him. My son has a copy of the interview. Your critique of the song "Lonely Saturday Night" is amusing, since obviously thousands of people loved it and bought his record, as well as "Little Blonde Girl". Don French chose to complete his educatiion, graduating from the prestigious Wharton Business School, and went on to become very successful in the business world. He made a tough decision as a young recording artist. The fact that he was still remembered in Englland, 52 years later, indicates how popular he was in Europe, without tours of any kind. Obviously,thousands od people do not agree with your assessment of his singing style.He appeared on Bandstand several times, and performed on stage at the Motown Theater where the fans mobbed him. He was a rising star who put his education before his career. He also didn't disappear into obscurity, as you have indicated, for his popularity continued on for years in Europe without him ever performing on stage there. His records continue to be sold on-line. His songs speak for themselves.

Country Paul said...

I remember seeing him on Dick Clark and appreciating the intensity of Lonely Saturday Night - and its reality in my teenage life! (It's also one hell of a great record.) Happy to hear he is as smart and successful as he is. It does not diminish the fact that the cat could rock; I've been enjoying discovering other songs by him around the internet. Was there ever an album or CD collecting his recorded work? I bet it'd be pretty darn good!