An Ode to ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’: Rock’s Big Girl Banger
Queen had their “Fat Bottom Girls.” U2 had their b-side tribute to the wonder that are pregnant women with “Big Girls Are Best.” However, the definitive rock anthem for plus-size ladies everywhere is AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie.”
Featured on Let There Be Rock, the band’s fourth studio album released on March 21, 1977, “Whole Lotta Rosie” brings the LP to an epic close and has become one of the most beloved tracks in AC/DC’s catalog.
And for one smart, funny, fat girl (aka: yours truly), it became an unlikely source of inspiration.
Like presumably other AC/DC fans, I got into the band while coming-of-age in high school. Their music brought me joy. It brought me comfort. Most importantly, and to put it bluntly: AC/DC’s music was what my burgeoning sexuality sounded like. I remember hearing Angus and Malcolm Young’s guitars and thinking, “Hey! My loins have a soundtrack! Cool!”
Of course, in high school, the boys don’t exactly line up for the smart, funny, fat girl. I was in high school in the early oughts, too, so we were still far away from the body positivity that’s more commonplace today.
And yet, through it all, “Whole Lotta Rosie” gave me hope.
The story behind “Rosie” is a bit murky, and there are a lot of versions of how the song came to be. Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC and Bon: The Last Highway: The Untold Story of Bon Scott and AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’, has a very comprehensive account of the various stories lending themselves to the “Rosie” legend.
One account states Bon met Rosie while on tour with AC/DC in 1976, and Rosie pulled him into a room where she was with one of her friends.
Another account has Bon being propositioned by Rosie and him being too afraid to turn her down because “She’d have broken my arm if I’d refused.”
Another account involved Rosie tallying celebrity conquests, and Bon was going to be number 29…or 37. It’s not quite known.
There’s the recording of Bon talking about Rosie that appears on the 1997 AC/DC box set Bonfire where he said, “She was so big she’d sort of close the door and put it on you… she was too big to say no to. So I just sorta had to succumb… I had to do it. Oh my God, I wish I hadn’t.”
And then there’s the account where Angus and Malcolm alluded to Bon actually having a fetish for big women. If that’s true (or even if that’s false), he probably still would get a kick out of the inflatable Rosie that now appears on stage when AC/DC performs “Whole Lotta Rosie.”
Whatever the real story is, here’s what is likely safe to presume: Bon had sex with a not-so-thin woman, and he had such a good time that he wrote a now-iconic song about it.
So, how did all of this give a teenage me “hope”? Despite my then-sexual frustration, I knew that one day my thicc self would get laid, and maybe, just maybe, it’d be with a rock star. (Admittedly, yes, this was a shallow goal, but what are your teen years about other than shallow goals?)
When I hear “Whole Lotta Rosie” today, I can’t help but think of my teenage self and smile. I smile thinking about how much I’ve grown and changed and how small those teen problems were in hindsight.
One thing hasn’t changed, though, and that’s how I feel whenever I listen to AC/DC. It still brings me joy. It still brings me comfort. And yes, it still delivers the thunder down under. I hope it always will.