Convincingly Sung By A Gay Man: Freddie Mercury (Queen) “Fat Bottomed Girls”
A classic, some would say THE ode to Rock & Roll groupies. “Fat Bottomed Girls” is such a timeless singalong chorus, I’m even willing to bet the Queen of England has rocked out to this at least once.
Come on Liz, fess up.
Long before Sir Mix–A–Lot rapped of his selective approbation on derrières, Freddie Mercury sang appreciatively of their Prodigal Son–esque magnetism after seeing every blue eyed floozy on the way. That being said, it’s a safe bet Hitler would not have been a fan of this song nor a Fat Bottomed Girl. That’s his loss for turning the other cheek on bigger cheeks.
Queen had already wrote what became 2 internationally popular sports anthems: “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” on their 1977 album News Of The World. As a secret DJ rule, these songs are usually played back to back on radio stations.
What better way to crown a trilogy with an anthem about the back?
“Fat Bottomed Girls” is a track off the 1978 Queen album Jazz. It sounds heavier than most Queen songs because Brian May used drop D tuning for the recording over standard guitar tuning. Instead of the guitar strings being tuned to the standard E A D G B E, drop D lowers the two E strings one whole step down to D, so the strings will be tuned D A D G B D.
The album version of “Fat Bottomed Girls” on Jazz is unedited. When the single was released to radio, they shaved off some guitar between the verses and the fade out ending. The edited version is on Greatest Hits albums and in the official music video while the unedited version is on Jazz as heard below.
Oh, and incidentally Roger Taylor has 2 pretty cool drum rolls launching us into the build for the anthemic Big Spoon lover’s chorus:
But wait…that’s not Freddie Mercury singing the chorus on the album—it’s guitarist Brian May!
Yes we’ve been fooled again despite Roger Daltrey’s well intentioned optimism by what I like to call the “Golden Earring Effect.” This happens When you have 2 singers who can overlap in range and vocal timbre, sounding similar enough where most listeners think it’s the same person’s voice.
With Golden Earring, it’s lead singer Barry Hay and guitarist George Kooymans. On their classic rock track “Twilight Zone” they trade vocals and no one seems to notice obviously because they’re in the Twilight Zone and nothing is as it seems.
And what pray tell was our Astrophysics degree I built my freaking guitar luthier mofo lad Brian May thinking when he penned this one? That along with fellow Brits he don’t need no education or thought control—he just needs a Fat Bottomed Girl. That would round things out nicely for him so to speak.
Regardless, that Astrophysics degree (or Asstrophysics?) sure came in handy here as Brian May sings of the Newtonian Physics of Fat Bottomed Girls making us privy to how they make the rockin’ world go round. It’s not a thesis Galileo would have agreed with however although Freddie repeatedly called to him in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Regardless of the ongoing Gluteocentric Theory debate, Queen are the second highest selling act in UK music history right behind another group of lads with 4 members: The Beatles.
Furthermore, Queen were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Their Greatest Hits album sealed their crown as the best selling album in the history of the United Kingdom dethroning The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Queen is also the only group in which not only did every bandmember write songs, but each bandmember wrote more than one single which actually topped the charts. How’s that for batting average?
So let’s get this straight even though the band is named Queen and the lead singer was gay—The studio recording on the Jazz album has Brian May singing lead on the chorus, pleading for the Fat Bottomed Girl of his affection to take him him home tonight.
Live however, Freddie Mercury sang the entire song with Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor harmonizing just for the chorus as you’ll see in the live video posted below. Freddie Mercury provides the autobiographical narration in the verses of his torment of being glued to the glutes and on the verge of checking in to Fat Bottomed Anonymous.
As listeners, we’re supposed to sympathize with the protagonist being left alone with big fat Fanny (a double meaning of her name and certain measurements) who was such a naughty nanny (these days perhaps a sexual harassment lawsuit but back then a badge of honor to a schoolboy).
The verse then concludes with a certain Buttocks Boomerang Effect described thusly as “Take me to them naughty ladies every time.” The second verse finds our narrator later in life with “mortgages and homes, stiffness in the bones” yet still recalling the same fondness and preferences of his earlier cradle robbing romp with Fanny: “Heap big woman you done made a big man of me.”
It’s about as “Amazing Grace” as the Rock and Roll world allows for: Deliverance via derrière.
“Fat Bottomed Girls” and another single from Jazz, “Bicycle Race” were released together on those black frisbee looking things called records as a double A–side.
The two songs both contain mirror lyrical references to the other song. “Fat Bottomed Girls” has Freddie commanding “Get on your bikes and ride” to perhaps engage in the fetish of watching Fat Bottomed Girls ride bicycles. Historically, the mass popularity of the thong was still years away and British lads had to make things work with what they had.
“Bicycle Race” actually mentions our subject matter here in the song’s lyrics “Fat bottomed girls, they’ll be riding today, So look out for those beauties, oh yeah.”
As a tourist in England it’s hard enough getting used to the traffic pattern moving in the opposite direction of North America and numerous other parts of the world. For your safety, I’d recommend to forego sightseeing for said beauties riding bicycles right away as it’s going to take you a few days walking around London to cross the street safely like a local.
NOW GET THIS!!! If you are a Fat Bottomed Girl, take pride knowing certain countries appreciated your anthem more so than others. Queen’s Gluteus Maximus Opus charted higher in England, France, Ireland and Norway (go figure).
It also scored high on Dutch music charts which would include Denmark and Belgium since the northern half of Belgium is Dutch speaking. In America “Fat Bottomed Girls” only reached number 24 on the Billboard top 100. Boo!
Perhaps even that acceptance was bolstered a bit by the popularity of Disco and lyrics like “Shake Your Booty” by KC & The Sunshine Band so white people that didn’t listen to Parliament or the Commodores could hear about the wonders of big booty from people they were more likely to see in their neighborhood during trick or treating.
And if you weren’t good with math like the Commodores “Brick House” requires (“36 24 36 oh what a winning hand”), “Fat Bottomed Girls” laid it right on the table clear as day for listeners far and wide.
1984 saw English parody Metal band Spinal Tap also making further inroads for Fat Bottomed Girls with their landmark track “Big Bottom.” All valiant efforts on many fronts for curvier backsides but we’re still a ways away from Fat Bottomed History Month however.
I’ve been to the Queen star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in Los Angeles. I’ve done photography of London’s Royal Albert Hall and the magnificent statues of Albert Memorial across the street in Kensington Gardens. Unfortunately I never got to see the original members of Queen perform live although I’ve heard the legends from people who have.
Concert footage and music videos are as close as myself and many will ever come to seeing Queen in their heyday and the amazing Freddie Mercury at the top of his game. The music video here (pre MTV, and no doubt further inspiration for it as with “Bohemian Rhapsody”) for “Fat Bottomed Girls” was done in Dallas, Texas back in 1978, shortly after the song was released.
Sans further ado, get on your bikes and enjoy the video—“Fat Bottomed Girls” is definitely a track to swipe right on your Musical Tinder app.
© Composer Yoga
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