♫ We’ve Got Tonight ♫

This is next on the list of requests for Kenny Rogers’ tribute week, and as I listened to it, I noticed that something about it bothered me.  I listened again, checked out a couple of other versions, but something still didn’t sound quite right.  And then, I figured it out.  Now, you all know I love Kenny Rogers, he is in my top ten favourites (Stevie Wonder is in the #1 slot), but for this song, I prefer the original done by Bob Seger.  However … this is a week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, not the still-living Seger, so …

Seger wrote this and first recorded it on his 1978 album Stranger in Town. Seger wrote the song after seeing the movie The Sting, starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. In the film, there’s scene where Redford puts the moves on a waitress, who says, “I don’t even know you.” He replies: “You know me. I’m the same as you. It’s two in the morning and I don’t know nobody.”  According to Seger …

“That just hit me real hard. The next day I wrote ‘We’ve Got Tonight,’ this song about two people who say ‘I’m tired. It’s late at night. I know you don’t really dig me, and I don’t really dig you, but this is all we’ve got, so let’s do it.’ The sexual revolution was still going strong then.”

In 1983, Kenny Rogers recorded the song as a duet with Scottish pop star Sheena Easton, and made it the title track of his album We’ve Got Tonight.  Said Rogers …

“I liked the idea of recording with Sheena: I thought the contrast in styles – I’m so throaty and she’s so trained and pure – would really work well.”

Easton’s contribution to the track would prove a bone of critical contention: whereas Rolling Stone critic Christopher Connelly would dismiss the Easton/Rogers duet of We’ve Got Tonight as “shrieking [and] insensitive”, and Jerseyite critic Jim Bohen would lament how Rogers “who usually sounds good duetting with women” was defeated by “Easton’s nails-across-the-blackboard voice”, Dennis Hunt (Los Angeles Times) would prefer the Rogers/Easton take to the Seger original due to a “very appealing blend of sharply contrasting voices, his deep and hers very high” adding that “Rogers, never known for his vocal power, stretches to match Easton, [attaining] his finest vocal performance”, and AllMusic critic Joe Viglione would opine that Easton’s “splendid voice reaching the high registers over Kenny’s familiar monotone…really makes [the track] special.”

We’ve Got Tonight
Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton

I know it’s late, I know you’re weary
I know your plans don’t include me
Still here we are, both of us lonely
Longing for shelter from all that we see
Why should we worry, no one will care girl
Look at the stars so far away
We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t you stay?

Deep in my soul I’ve been so lonely
All of my hopes fading away
I’ve longed for love like everyone else does
I know I’ll keep searching even after today
So there it is girl, I’ve said it all now
And here we are babe, what do you say?
We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t you stay?

I know it’s late, I know you’re weary
I know your plans don’t include me
Still here we are, both of us lonely
Both of us lonely

We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
Let’s make it last, let’s find a way
Turn out the light, come take my hand now
We’ve got tonight babe
Why don’t you stay?
Why don’t you stay?

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Seger
We’ve Got Tonight lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

15 thoughts on “♫ We’ve Got Tonight ♫

  1. Jill, thanks. Bob Seger ranks as one of my favorite performers. Yet, the Rogers/ Easton duet adds dimension with the female perspective. Her voice lifts the song and Rogers hangs with her. Still, I have always liked Seger’s raspy, plaintive voice a little better. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Passion? I call it desperation. My nights may have been long and lonely, but at least I didn’t hate myself the next morning. And if I did spend a night with someone,at least I knew her name when we said goodbye.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Let us agree to disagree on this one. As much as I love Bob Seeger and am so grateful that he wrote this song…in my opinion, for what it’s worth, it is owned by Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton! Those critic’s opinions be dam***, not you, those in the last paragraph! Kenny and Sheena’s voices exude passion and to me that is what this song is about, not love but a passion founded in the desperation of loneliness. Their two voices together give this song life and it comes across visibly in this video! Kenny did this song with Dolly Parton during their 1985 Live Tour. I was very fortunate in 1985 that a very old and dear friend gave me the gift of accompanying her to see them in New York City. Their camaraderie during the performance of the song was wonderful, but it lacked the necessary element of passion…mayhaps just as well, as Kenny had a problem with staying married until #5. I’ll not add another word except…Thank-YOU!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This has always been one of those songs (which I usually heard sung only a man, presumably Bob Seger) where the theme was a little too opportunistic for me as a young person who was often getting hit on just in case I’d say yes to someone sometime. It was sort of like Lay Down Sally and others where the dude seemed to be trying his luck with someone, anyone, and at that point in my life I wanted More Meaningful Something. The inclusion of the actual female who is the subject of the conversation makes this version seem more like a dialogue instead of a heavy pickup attempt by a dude, so it seems a lot less creepy to me and more mutual than just a male-only version. The explanation above by Seger is also honest and was not anything I knew about then.

    Sheena Easton was never a superfave for me, although in some songs she seemed the right singer for it, and sometimes she looked gorgeous to me. I’m not hearing her be the ideal singer for this for my personal taste at the time it was made–I mean, best wishes to them for a hot night, but… Sorry if I sound picky, but somehow your posts bring out the honest-reviewer/conversation aspect of me, which I hope is okay. If not, please tell me to just nod my head yes or no in reply to posts!

    Like

    • I watched a lot of my male friends doing the rounds near closing time. They made me sick to be a male myself. One night stands were never my thing, though I guess I had a couple. I won’t say that I wanted meaning, but I at least wanted to know something about the person I was with. Otherwise I was just masturbating inside of a warm body, and it hurt my spirit, and probably hers.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Bob Seger is the man! I didn’t know he wrote this song, wow! This is such a lovely rendition, I don’t understand the critics objection over Sheena Easton’s higher pitch voice. She doesn’t sound shrill or “shrieking and insensitive” at all. I enjoyed the contrast, it highlights the vulnerability of too lonely strangers with nothing in common hooking up. This is a really good song, first time hearing it, thank you for sharing! ❤

    Like

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