Throwback Jam: Hal Ketchum’s “Small Town Saturday Night”

By Emily Wagner

Call it a one hit wonder. Call it the quintessential 90’s country song. Call it whatever you want but you would be remiss to mention the great songs of the 1990’s and not name “Small Town Saturday Night.”

In all fairness, it may not even be accurate to describe this as a one hit wonder, as Hal Ketchum had a handful of other singles that made it to #2 on the charts and 17 others that cracked the charts. He’s also a member of the Grand Ole Opry. But there’s something about this song.

Something about those opening guitar strings and the fact that everyone knows at least one Bobby and Lucy in their life; they’re a dime a dozen in the small town world.

The song was written by Hank Devito and Pat Alger (name a Garth Brooks song and Alger probably wrote it). Released in April of 1991 it peaked at #2 that August, stuck behind Trisha Yearwood’s “She’ In Love With The Boy.”

The relatability of the lyrics is I believe what the songwriters get right and what helped the song become an iconic song of the 90’s; except that part about putting a dollar’s worth of gas in your truck. Today that might get you just down the road.

Other than the price of gas being different nearly 30 years ago, the song hits it on the head when it comes to the depiction of small town life. The big catch and most clever line comes right at the end; “Lucy you know the world must be flat/‘Cause when people leave town, they never come back.” It’s so good because it’s so true and honest, and yet the song keeps on with its fun and lighthearted tune. 

So while it didn’t win any awards and perhaps you’ve long since left it off your 90’s country playlist, “Small Town Saturday Night” is still out there and it still brings a comfort that perhaps only small town hometowns can.