Last Night (Mar-Keys composition)

"Last Night"
Single by The Mar-Keys
from the album Last Night!
B-side "Night Before"
Released June 1961 (1961-06)
Format 7"
Genre R&B, instrumental rock
Length 2:35
Label Satellite

"Last Night" is an instrumental recorded by The Mar-Keys. Released in 1961, it reached #3 Pop and #2 in the R&B charts in the United States.[1] It also appeared on Last Night!, the first LP released by the Stax label.

It was written by Charles Axton, Floyd Newman, Gilbert C. Caple, Jerry Lee Smith and Chips Moman. The tune was covered by Georgie Fame on his 1966 Sweet Things album and by the jazz ensemble The Bum Notes for the closing credits of the BBC sitcom Bottom in the early 1990s. It was also used as the backing music to "Viaduct", a game played on the Chris Moyles radio show.

The song is in a 12 bar blues form, with brief stops, where one of the Mar-Keys intones "Last Night" before the saxophone solo, which is followed by the same Mar-Keys intoning "Oh!!!!!! Yeah!!!" before the last three choruses, including the pauses, before the song's fade.

According to Steve Cropper, in an interview with Paul Nassari of the Sunday Mail newspaper (Adelaide, Australia), "Jerry Lee ‘Smoochy’ Smith came up with the piano riff that was played on organ. Since [producer Chips] Moman didn’t want a guitar on it for whatever reason, I wound up playing the hold-down on the organ on the root note. "It hurts me in the Mar-Keys history when people say I wasn’t in the Mar-Keys because there’s no guitar on Last Night but I have to differ with them."

Use in films, radio and television programs

During the 1960s, "Last Night" became the title tune for the French radio show "Salut les Copains on Europe 1.

The music was used during telecasts of the NBA on CBS in the 1970s (roughly around 1975-76) as the play-by-play announcer gave a preview to the featured game.

It featured in the 1988 Keanu Reeves film The Night Before.

In the early 1990s a cover version by Adrian Edmondson's band The Bum Notes was used for the closing credits of the BBC sitcom Bottom, which starred Edmondson and Rik Mayall.

It appeared in the 1998 film Blues Brothers 2000, re-recorded by the Blues Brothers Band, and during the closing credits of the 2007 film Rush Hour 3.

The music was also used in the legal comedy-drama Ally McBeal (1999, episode "Sideshow", second season).

Cover versions

The Ventures released a version on their 1963 Dolton album The Ventures Play Telstar and the Lonely Bull, BST 8019.

Laurel Aitken & The Soulmen released a 45 single version in 1966.

Ace Cannon opened his 1967 album Memphis Golden Hits with his version.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins released a risqué version entitled "Bite it" on his record Because Is in Your Mind in 1970.[2]

Rhode Island based band Roomful Of Blues covered the song for their 1983 album Blues Train (with Big Joe Turner & Dr John), for Muse Records


  1. Galloway, A. Scott (1994). Rock Instrumental Classics Volume 4: Soul (p. 14) [CD booklet]. Los Angeles: Rhino Records.
  2. Because Is in Your Mind, Discogs
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