I'm Too Sexy
September 29, 2017
Todd plays "I'm Too Sexy" (and a bit of "Look What You Made Me Do") on the piano
RIGHT SAID FRED - I'M TOO SEXY
A one-hit wonder retrospective
Todd: Welcome back to One Hit Wonderland, where we take a look at bands and artists known for only one song. And folks, we're crossing a, big one off the list today.
Video plays for "I'm Too Sexy" while Todd just dances
Richard Fairbrass: I'm too sexy for my shirt,
Too sexy for my shirt...Todd: I've, resisted covering Right Said Fred on this show for a long time.
Todd (VO): Lately I've been trying to cover more, obscure one-hit wonders; Right Said Fred is, you know...
Todd: ...too obvious.
Todd (VO): This is like, the exact type of thing you hear and go: "yep; that's a one-hit wonder".
Todd: And when you think of one-hit wonders, one of the first people you think of is usually, Right Said Fred.
Richard: On the catwalkTodd (VO): It's like come on; I don't want this show to be that predictable. And besides I already, basically reviewed this a while back, when I looked at (Video for "Sexy and I Know It" by...) LMFAO's inferior knockoff. Jesus that was a long time ago.
Todd: But I think it's time.
Richard: And I'm too sexy for your body,
Too sexy for your body...Todd (VO): It's time, to finally get to Right Said Fred. Seeing as they're having their big comeback; having...
Todd: ...co-written the number-one song in the country!
Video for "Look What You Made Me Do" by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift: Oh, look what you made me do,
Look what you made me do...Todd (VO): OK, no they didn't really. Taylor Swift just had to give them a writing credit cause, ever since Robin Thicke got sued, everyone's watching their back.
Todd: I don't even really think it's that similar.
Todd (VO): I mean if Taylor Swift has to give them a credit, Right Said Fred might wanna think about suing other songs like, (Video for...) "My Humps",...
Todd: ..."Du Hast".
Mashup of "I'm Too Sexy and "Du Hast" by Rammstein plays
Rammstein: Du. Du hast. Du hast mich.Todd: It's, it's a really simple beat; it resembles a lot of things.
Fred: ...I'm too sexy for my hat...Todd (VO): There's just no denying that "I'm Too Sexy" has an outsize place in pop culture for... such a goofy little song. It's, 25 years later and (Image of a t-shirt that says "I'm too sexy for my shirt") we still got that phrase. (Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin shirtless, with the phrase...) "I'm too sexy for my shirt".
Todd: I-me-I-j...it just gets in there you know? It's not just an ear-worm; it's a mind-worm.
Todd (VO): It's the catchphrase, that defined a generation. These guys; they were just, too sexy. For their shirt. Their car. Their hat, their everything.
Todd: See, they weren't just, very sexy. Or even extremely sexy, they were...
Todd (VO): ....overtly sexy. They were, sexy, beyond acceptable parameters.
Todd: We have a strict, upper limit of sexiness; it tops off around (Photo of...) Jon Cryer, and these guys were well beyond it.
Richard: I shake my little tush on the catwalk.Todd (VO): You couldn't escape it. I know every word of this song.
Todd: And I'm just realizing; I've never even listened to it all the way through I'm pretty sure.
Todd (VO): And even still you can just, instantly picture it in your head. There are these two, buff, Mobys, partying with a bunch of hot chicks, proclaiming their shirt ruining sexiness. Who were these guys, what was their deal?
Todd: Why did they hate shirts so much?
Richard: ...too sexy for my... (huh!),
Too sexy for my... (huh!) (Bass riff).Before the hit
Todd (VO): (Images of the band) Okay, the two guys are brothers, Richard and Fred Fairbrass. And there's a third guy, Rob Manzoli, he plays guitar.
Todd: But he's not one of the bald guys, so who cares?
Todd (VO): (Vintage picture of Fred with Bob Dylan) Richard and Fred kicked around with some bands in the '70s. (That's Fred with Bob Dylan!)
(Clip of David Bowie - "Blue Jean")Todd (VO): Richard was a bass player for like, Boy George and David Bowie.
David Bowie: Jazzin' for Blue Jean! (Richard is shown in the next clip after Bowie)Todd (VO): See? There he is.
Todd: And they also had their own band on the side, Right Said Fred.
(Image of Bernard Cribbins' single "Right Said Fred")
Todd (VO): It's named after a novelty single by, British actor and, (Image from the second Peter Cushing Dr. Who film "Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 A.D.") future Doctor Who companion Bernard Cribbins.
(Footage from the "Right Said Fred" animated short film plays)
Todd (VO): It's about three movers who can't move a piece of furniture...
Todd: ...cause it's too heavy!
Bernard Cribbins: Right said Fred, have to take the feet off
To get them feet off wouldn't take a 'moTodd: (In bad Cockney accent) Good ol' British comedy!
Bernard Cribbins: So Fred said, "Let's have another cuppa tea"Todd (VO): I think eh, yeah. This, this tells you quite a bit about the kind of band Right Said Fred turned out to be.
Todd: Think of them as, like, shirtless, 90s, (Image of...) Benny Hills. Anyway they wrote this stupid rock song that Richard came up with while flexing in the mirror, and they got it to a music promoter who convinced them to turn it into a dance track. Let's get to that.
The big hit
Todd: Every so often, there comes along an idea. (Image of a light bulb with the word "idea") Could be any kind of idea, just a phrase that is so goddamn stupid that it can't help but to take the world by storm (Images of...) Pet rocks, (Teenage) Mutant Ninja Turtles, "where's the beef?" (back to Todd) And it's not like it's something you enjoy exactly, it's (clip of people doing the Harlem Shake in costumes) it's just that it's just so perplexingly stupid that you can't stop thinking about it. It becomes like a splinter in your brain. "What's going on here? What's the point of this?" And no one can forget it and suddenly it's a pop culture phenomenon. (back to Todd) Anyway that's my best guess to what happened here.
Richard: I'm too sexy for my love
Too sexy for my love, love's going to leave me(Todd dances to the opening drum riff)
Richard: I'm too sexy for my shirt
Too sexy for my shirt...Todd (VO): "I'm Too Sexy" only reached #2 in the UK in 1991. Prevented by Bryan Adams' [clip of...] reign of terror, which affected several continents as it turns out. [back to "I'm Too Sexy"] But "I'm Too Sexy" did go to #1 in [image of Fred Fairbrass' face in front of the Billboard Hot 100] America a year later as well as several other countries.
Todd: You have no idea how big "I'm Too Sexy" was if you weren't there in 1992. I was a small child who didn't even really listen to music and I knew it front to back.
[Clip of "Family Matters"]
Steve Urkel: I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my pants
Too sexy for my shoes
Laura Winslow: Steve...
Steve: I'm too sexy for my cat, too sexy for my bugs...Todd: Thank you for that, Urkel.
Richard: I'm a model...Todd (VO): Trying to review it feels kinda pointless, it was barely a song to begin with and at this point, it's just a fact of life like gravity or the color of the sky. So it's kinda hard to analyze. But first off, let's be clear...
Todd: The song's a joke. It's not serious. It's a parody of egomaniac male models.
Todd (VO): Seems obvious, right? Well, I don't know that it was. It's one of those jokes that can be mistaken for sincere. If you go back to 1991, a romance novel cover model was one of the biggest celebrities in the world and the biggest hits were by preening dopey beefcakes like [clips of...] Rico Suave and Marky Mark.
Todd: And plus, it was foreign!
Richard Fairbrass: And I'm too sexy for Milan
Todd (VO): Now, Right Said Fred are British, but I honestly thought they were German. I mean, with their voices that low, they just (image of shirtless German guys) sound Teutonic. [Clips of "I Got the Power" by Snap...] Plus, a whole lot of dance pop was coming from Germany at the time, so I can imagine people mistaken them for actual Eurotrash. It's like... [...and "Gangnam Style"] "Gangnam Style", it's meant to be funny but it was already kind of what we thought those crazy foreigners were doing over there anyway. [Back to "I'm Too Sexy"] The brothers have said since that they didn't realize people would just assume they actually were a couple of gym queens.
Todd: And for the record, he is allowed to say that: Richard came out as bisexual early on...
[Clip of Richard performing in a gay club]
Todd (VO): To the shock of no one. [back to clip of "I'm Too Sexy"] But even for the ridiculousness of early '90s Europop, "I'm Too Sexy" stands out for just straight not making any goddamn sense. It starts off okay.
Richard: I'm too sexy for my shirtTodd: Okay I get that. His sexiness is so great...
Todd (VO): ...that he can't help but take his shirt off.
Todd: And for what it's worth, the guys that are so buff [quick image of shirtless guy greeting two women at a street] that they're always going shirtless, everyone hates you, go away!
Richard: Too sexy for Milan, New York and Japan.Todd (VO): And I get that too. He's more sexy than even the international centers of fashion can handle.
Todd: And then the narrative starts to fall apart.
Richard: I'm too sexy for my car, too sexy for my car
Too sexy by farTodd (VO): Okay, are you saying you have a lame car or...
Todd: Does your car actually fall apart? Does it explode from pure sexiness? [Clip of a car blowing up with the caption "Too Sexy" below]
Richard: I'm too sexy for my hat, too sexy for my hat
What you think about thatTodd: Not much. Can't say I have many thoughts about it at all.
Richard: I'm too sexy for my love, too sexy for my love
Love's going to leave meTodd (VO): In fact, maybe we're interpreting this wrong. Maybe, he's not bragging, maybe it's a curse!
Todd: His life is being destroyed because nothing and no one can handle his sexiness.
Richard: Too sexy for my cat, too sexy for my cat
Poor pussy, poor pussy catTodd: [long beat] Okay, what's going on there?
Richard: I'm too sexy for my catTodd: Just like [doing a gyration] gyrating in front of your cat? [Clip of scared cat with a meow sound and the caption of "Too Sexy!" below]
Todd (VO): Look, once this song hit, everyone was saying they were too sexy. [Images of shirts and slogans with "I'm Too Sexy" in them] It was like a pre-internet meme, you can essentially just plug whatever you want in there.
Todd: Like uh, like me. Uh... [singing] I'm too sexy for my face, too sexy for my face, go faceless all over the place. I'm too sexy for a job, too sexy for a real job, I make YouTube videos. And then it just... it just stops!
Richard: I'm too sexy for this song.Todd: I mean, really, they had to end it that way. If they had ended it any other way, it would've been a missed opportunity.
Todd (VO): Most of all, it's just fun. Admittedly, it's kind of a forced fun but still...
Todd: [imitating Cockney accent] Jolly old good time!
Todd (VO): Honestly I like that they were kind of a dance act with a, you know, with a rock edge. They were like really a doofy Pet Shop Boys. They just wanted to goof around and make silly music.
Todd: So why couldn't they have another hit?
The failed follow-up
Todd: Well, the reason the follow up failed is obvious. [image of the Billboard Hot 100 with the "No" symbol with the caption "Too Sexy!" below it] Too sexy. But seriously, you have to understand: when "I'm Too Sexy" blew up, Right Said Fred were nothing, they were nobodies.
[Clip of Right Said Fred performing "I'm Too Sexy" on Top of the Pops]
Todd (VO): Their hit came out of nowhere, they didn't even have a label. Their manager was just one of their girlfriends. They were not prepared for this at all, so when they did get snapped up by the record companies, they didn't really think too hard about a long term career so yeah, duh, of course they weren't able to follow it up.
Todd: Except they totally did.
[Clip of Right Said Fred - "Don't Talk, Just Kiss"]Todd (VO): Yes they were quite successful in their home country, at least for a little while. You know, that's a recurring theme on One Hit Wonderland: these acts that turned out to be more successful abroad but...
Todd: ...if there's one act in history who didn't have a second hit anywhere, it should be the "I'm Too Sexy" guys, right? Right? I mean it just stands to reason!
Richard and Jocelyn Brown: So don't talk, just kiss
Richard: We're beyond words and soundTodd (VO): Whether or not they originally intended to, it looks like they went all in on the image that "I'm Too Sexy" created, this is their second hit, "Don't Talk, Just Kiss".
Richard: Let your tongue fool around
Richard and Jocelyn: Let's fool aroundTodd (VO): It's much closer to an actual song than "I'm Too Sexy", which of course means it's far more disposable, but you know, it's alright.
Todd: And then there was their third hit, "Deeply Dippy".
[Clip of Right Said Fred - "Deeply Dippy"]
Richard: Deeply dippy bout the curves you got
Deeply hot, hot for the curves you gotTodd (VO): This is their only UK number one hit.
Todd: This, this is their number one hit in the UK.
Richard: Oh my love, I can't make head nor tail of passion
Oh my love...Todd: Why this?
Todd (VO): For what it's worth, I think this is closer to the real Right Said Fred. Like, you gotta understand, they were already pushing 40 at that point. They're not Euro models, they're blokey, corny guys making dad jokes.
Todd: Another thing I'm discovering: while many things about "I'm Too Sexy" were a joke, the vocals were not.
Richard: Deeply hot, hot for the curves you gotTodd (VO): That's just what they sound like. They legitimately can't sing.
Todd: And after that, I think the entirety of Europe just suddenly realized... [image of Right Said Fred's album, Fredhead, with ????? in red in front of it], "wait a minute, what the hell are we doing?" And the Right Said Fred story mostly comes to an end.
Did they ever do anything else?
Todd: Oh yeah yeah, they released [image of the album, Sex and Travel...] album after album, [...and cover of the single, Hands Up (4 Lovers)] single after single, very few of them did much.
[Clip of Right Said Fred - "Bumped"]
Richard and background singers: All I needed was your love
Even though it's obvious
All I needed was a turtle dove to make it rightTodd: The hell kind of nightmare is this?
Todd (VO): This appears to be a serious song with even a sorta spiritual sound to it. I don't feel like Right Said Fred was built for that.
Todd: In fact, if you want a good gauge of how quickly their stock dropped, here is the sophomore album's second single, "Wonderman".
[Clip of Right Said Fred - "Wonderman"]
Background singers: Wonderman
Richard: He is a Mister Wonderman
Background singers: Wonderman
Richard: He is a Mister WondermanTodd (VO): Now you may ask yourself...
Todd: "Hey, who is this 'Wonderman' they're singing about?" You'll never guess.
[Clip of the intro to Sonic the Hedgehog]Todd (VO): Yes, Sonic...
Richard: So fast it hurts you'll get a slap
If you take a nap he'll spin attackTodd (VO): To be clear, this song was not originally about Sonic the Hedgehog. But they rewrote it and re-recorded it to be a promo single for Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
Todd: Imagine that, you have three top ten singles and then just two years later...
Todd (VO): ...Sega goes up to you and says "hey we like you to rewrite your song to be about our stupid blue cartoon mascot and you have to say 'yes' because you got nothing else at this point."
Richard: He is a Mister WondermanTodd: It doesn't even make sense! [Image of Sonic] Sonic isn't a man! Call it "Wonder Hedgehog" at least!
[Clip of Right Said Fred - "Living in a Dream"]Todd (VO): Even in the mid-90s, when bubblegum pop started to become really popular, there wasn't much room for Right Said Fred. This is the worst episode of Lazy Town that I've ever seen.
Todd: Now to be fair, they did manage one more Top 20 UK hit. A pop song about the power of friendship called "You're My Mate".
[Clip of Right Said Fred - "You're My Mate"]
Richard: I'll tell you what I think
I think she's a cow
She's let you down too many times now
Let's go for a drinkTodd (VO): Bitch girlfriend dumped you? Boyfriend being an ass? Why don't we go drink it off?
Todd: Never a bad time for a song like that.
Richard: You're my mate and I will stand by youTodd (VO): This was a couple of years after Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping" by the way. So I can imagine them seeing that get popular and thinking they got a path back into stardom.
[Clip of Right Said Fred - "Stand Up (For the Champions)"]Todd (VO): They also released a sports anthem that year that became popular in many countries. But after that...
Todd: It just gets sad.
[Clip of Right Said Fred - "Sexy Bum"]
Richard: I like a peach, I like a pear
Oh I go bananas when your bottom's bare
We've all got one
But some are really hot
They're halfway from the bottom and halfway from the top
Sexy bumTodd (VO): This is yet more evidence to support my theory:
Todd (VO): ...and are only vaguely aware of what they are.
Todd: Let's see what else... [image of The Smurfs 2 poster], looks like they recorded a song for the Smurfs 2.
[Clip of Right Said Fred - "I'm Too Smurfy for My Love"]
Richard: I'm too smurfy for my shirt, too smurfy for my shirt
So smurfy it hurts
I'm too smurfy for Milan, too smurfy for Milan...[Todd just stares in disbelief]
Todd (VO): I don't know if Right Said Fred are degrading the Smurfs or if the Smurfs are degrading them.
Todd: And then of course, there was the worst single they ever made.
[Clip of Taylor Swift - "Look What You Made Me Do"]
Taylor: (Oh!) Look what you made me do
Look what you made me doTodd: How dare you, sirs?
Did they deserve better?
Todd: No. No they didn't deserve better. They were just too sexy to deserve better ["Too Sexy!" caption briefly appears].
Richard: I'm a modelTodd (VO): I think it's fair to say that Right Said Fred got more out of life than they really merited, but man, they had one great idea and they milked the shit out of it. Someday, if I ever come up with a phrase that popular, I hope to ride it as well as Right Said Fred did. God bless you two beefy, oiled up baldies.
Todd: Yeah, yeah, let's finish it there. We're done. We are too sexy to continue.
[Gets up and leaves]
Richard: I'm too sexy for this song.Closing tag song: I'm Too Sexy by Roxanne Potvin
"I'm Too Sexy" is owned by Virgin Records.
This video is owned by me.
THANK YOU TO THE LOYAL PATRONS!