AC/DC – Whole Lotta Rosie

This is one of the first AC/DC songs I was familiar with when I was around 11 years old. My older cousin was a huge fan and would play the live If You Want Blood You’ve Got It album constantly. It was a few years later before I heard the studio version of the song.

As with most of their songs it started with an excellent guitar riff and doesn’t relent.

The song was originally on the Let There Be Rock album released in 1977. It was released as a single in 1978 as a live cut and didn’t do much but then the live cut was reissued again in 1979 and peaked at #36 in the UK in 1980.

This song is about a large woman that lead singer Bon Scott had relations with early in the band’s career. I’ll let Bon and Angus tell the tale.

Bon Scott: “We were all staying in the same hotel and this chick Rosie lived across the road. She was so big she sort of closed the door and put it on ya’, half your body, and she was too big to say no to. Then she used to look up and see what band was in town and say “hi over there boys” and we’d go over and have a party. She came to one of our shows, she was from Tasmania actually, and she was in the front row. She was like 6’2 and like 19 stone 12 pounds (around 266lbs). That girl was some mountain. So you can imagine the problems I had. So I just sorta had to succumb … I had to do it. Oh my God, I wish I hadn’t.”

Angus Young: We’d been in Tasmania and after the show [Bon Scott] said he was going to check out a few clubs. He said he’d got about 100 yards down the street when he heard this yell: ‘Hey! Bon!’ He looked around and saw this leg and thought: ‘Oh well!’ From what he said, there was this Rosie woman and a friend of hers. They were plying him with drinks and Rosie said to him: ‘This month I’ve slept with 28 famous people,’ and Bon went: ‘Oh yeah?!’ Anyway, in the morning he said he woke up pinned against the wall, he said he opened one eye and saw her lean over to her friend and whisper: ’29!’ There’s very few people who’ll go out and write a song about a big fat lady, but Bon said it was worthy.

From Songfacts

 In a 1976 interview with the band for Sounds magazine, their guitarist Malcolm Young prodded Scott to tell the story about “the fat one.” Scott explained that backstage at a show in Australia, a rotund woman they called “Big Bertha” came forward when he asked, “Who wants it?” Too frightened to refuse, he did the deed with Bertha, who then called to her friend, “that’s the 37th this month,” and produced a black book where she recorded her conquests. Scott turned the incident into a song, this time naming the woman “Rosie.”

In their early days, the band shared a house in Australia where lots of unsavory incidents occurred. This gave them material for songs like this one and “The Jack.” Bon Scott had great affection for the full-size girls, and occasionally put his conquests in his songs. Another song on the album, “Go Down,” mentions Ruby Lips, who is another real person. This is confirmed in the Let There Be Rock liner notes.

The music is based on the Chuck Berry song “No Money Down.” 

Originally released on the Let There Be Rock album, this song didn’t get much publicity until AC/DC re-released it a year later on If You Want Blood, You Got It when the band became internationally popular.

This song was covered and performed live by Guns N’ Roses. Nearly a decade later, Axl Rose cited an article in Melody Maker comparing the original AC/DC lineup to Guns N’ Roses as the inspiration for covering this song.

Originally, there were two versions of this song. The first was called “Dirty Eyes” and was eventually released in 1997 on the Bonfire boxed set.

Whole Lotta Rosie

Wanna tell you story
About woman I know
When it comes to lovin’
She steals the show
She ain’t exactly pretty
Ain’t exactly small
Fourt’two thirt’ninefiftysix
You could say she’s got it all

Never had a woman
Never had a woman like you
Doin’ all the things
Doin’ all the things you do
Ain’t no fairy story
Ain’t no skin and bones
But you give it all you got
Weighin’ in at nineteen stone
You’re a whole lotta woman
A whole lotta woman
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
And you’re a whole lotta woman

Honey you can do it
Do it to me all night long
Only one who turn me
Only one who turn me on
All through the night time
Right around the clock
To my surprise
Rosie never stops
She was a whole lotta woman
Whole lotta woman
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
A whole lotta woman

Whole lotta woman
Whole lotta woman
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta woman-man-man yeah
Whole lotta Rosie
Whole lotta woman
Whole lotta woman