Behind the Classics: Whole Lotta Rosie

AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie is a song that a casual rock music fan would just assume is about sex. It is, but there’s a bit more to it than that.

The Rosie that portrayed in the song was actually a real woman that AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott had a one night stand with. Scott later claimed that Rosie was a Tasmanian and weighed 305 pounds. Which is actually heavier than the 19 stone measurement that is in the lyrics for the song.

In 1998, AC/DC Guitarist Angus Young gave more details into Bon Scott’s encounter with Rosie.

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.

The song wasn’t that popular when it was released on the Let There Be Rock album. It was the live performances of the song that got it attention. When it appeared on their live album If You Want Blood, You’ve Got it people can be heard shouting ANGUS in the space between intro riffs. That caught on and it still happens at AC/DC concerts today and even some performances of the song that are done by other bands. The band have also been known for bringing a big inflatable “Rosie” on tour with them.

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There is also a early version of the song called Dirty Eyes that had a similar riff but completely different lyrics. It wound up on a rarity album called Volts in 1997, but unfortunately I couldn’t find a Youtube video. You can probably find it on Apple Music or Spotify.