In the early nineties, Right Said Fred and their song, “I’m too Sexy,” were tearing up the charts. The song would make it to number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 13 on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1992. It was a phenomenon and it was hard to turn on a radio without hearing the song. For those not familiar, here is the song in all its glory.
Original 1992 video for “I’m too Sexy” by Right Said Fred
For those curious about the origin of the song.
The idea for the song came about when the Fairbrass brothers were running a gym in London, where according to Richard there was “lots of narcissism and posing”: one day he took his shirt off and started singing “I’m too sexy for my shirt” in front of a mirror as a joke.
I remember hearing this song for the first time after visiting the arcade at the Willowbrook Mall in New Jersey. My friend Kevin was driving me home and this song came on the radio. Kevin was a big fan and he cranked it up to 11. By then of the song, my ears ached and I liked Kevin a whole lot less. More importantly though, the song was stuck in my head.
When people ask me why this song was so popular, I think back to this night. It was a miserable listening experience, but the song was so catchy, I could not stop singing it my head.
I would have plenty of opportunity to learn the lyrics and hear the song again. It was played so often throughout 1992.
When the song started to wain in popularity, which is right about the time my mother discovered it, it appeared in this lipstick commercial for Ultima II and JC Penney. Its is a pretty low concept commercial. A model dances around to the song and you get lots of rapid cuts and some voice over.
Watch the Ultima II/JC Penney “I’m too Sexy” Commercial
No big deal, but this commercial ran in our market for what felt like an entire year. So while Right Said Fred was fading away in the rest of the United States, they were gaining steam in our household. I am pretty sure my Mother even picked up a cassingle of the song during the Christmas season of 1993. I am not sure which of my sister’s bought it for her, but I am sure they got a pretty good deal.
The song would be used in other commercials, TV shows and movies over the years. Yet, it is this throwaway ad for a makeup counter deal at JC Penney that continues to stick with me after all these years.