Rewinding the Charts: In 1992, Right Said Fred Wasn’t ‘Too Sexy’ for No. 1
The British group topped the Hot 100 by lampooning fashion models, and returned in 2017 courtesy of Taylor Swift.
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS BEFORE TAYLOR SWIFT brought “I’m Too Sexy” back into fashion by working elements of the tune into her 2017 hit “Look What You Made Me Do,” the song’s originators strutted the catwalk to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1991, British brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass and Rob Manzoli — who had dubbed themselves Right Said Fred — released their debut song, “I’m Too Sexy,” a Eurodance number satirizing the narcissism of fashion culture. Coming just a year after George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” music video, starring a bevy of supermodels including Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, the song took the point of view of a model and extolled the virtues of being “too sexy” for all kinds of things — clothing, pets and even the song itself.
Promoted with a tongue-in-cheek video in which the muscular and often bare-chested Fairbrass brothers preened their way through various chic scenarios, the single rose to No. 1 in its eighth week on the Hot 100, dated Feb. 8, 1992, and reigned for three total weeks.
Right Said Fred never repeated the success of “Sexy,” reaching the Hot 100 just once more with “Don’t Talk Just Kiss,” which peaked at No. 76 in May 1992.
But the act has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance since Swift brought “Sexy” back in “Look What You Made Me Do,” co-crediting the Fairbrass brothers and Manzoli as writers. “Look” likewise topped the Hot 100 for three weeks last September.
“She has channeled a lot of [the song’s] original cynicism, which I think is quite cool,” Fred Fairbrass told Billboard in 2017. “I like the darkness of it.”
Manzoli has since left the group, but the Fairbrass brothers continue to tour and record, and in early 2017 released the single “Sweet Treats.” Sparked by the success of Swift’s “Look,” Right Said Fred released its mash-up of the two No. 1s last Sept. 20.