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Friday, August 18, 2006

Get On Your Bikes and Ride: Classic Video Redux - Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls"

Song Trivia:

    Fat Bottomed Girls was a hit single for the British rock band Queen. It was released in 1978 on the album Jazz. The song was written by Queen guitarist Brian May and was one of the few Queen songs played in an alternative guitar tuning commonly called "drop D". The lyrics are expressing the point of view that beautiful women aren't always as nice as they may look.

    The studio version contains Brian May's most (in)famous recording mistake, when he hit a G/F dissonance during the break (before the third verse). This is the result of playing a regular G voicing with the dropped 6th string (D) of the alternate tuning.

Interesting post.

I too have been a musician for over twenty years and though rarely would I tune to dropped D, that tuning has spurned major contracts to other-wise less than professional acts.

For those not familiar with the standard guitar tuning, it is as follows:

1st string: E
2nd string: B
3rd string: G
4th string: D
5th string: A
6th String: E (two octaves lower than the first string)

By lowering the 6th string one whole step the song/composition takes on a whole new life.

Thus, the song/composition immediately takes on a very 'ballsy' theme. And if the Bass guitar follows suit then you've got major 'balls'

Of course, as a guitarist playing with a dropped D tuning, you have to be very aware and not let your fingers play in what would be considered 'normal' chord postioning.

That is what happened to Brian May. He simply reverted to his original training not realizing tha he needed to move his fingers on the sixth string up one whole step (as most of us would do).

In short, it's a great song!
Thanks for the info Butch. I'm not a guitar player, but from what it sounds this is not a common thing to do in music, which - IMO - gives even more credence to Queen as one of the most outstanind and original bands of all time, surely in a top 10, maybe even top 5 list of the greatest bands of all.

It sounds like you have some solid guitar background. Is the technique, as I guessed it - indeed rare, and do you know of other songs it's used in?

I don't know specific song titles but Metalica used that tuning on almost every song (not a Metalica fan). Um, let's see... A lot of 'heavy' christian music bands are now using the dropped D tuning.

I know there's a lot more tunes with dropped D tuning but I'm drawing a blank right now.

Oh, here's one: 'One Last Breath' by Creed.

Hope that helps...
Thanks Butch! All good info. I didn't think the he D dropping was all that common in most music.

I'm not a huge Metallica fan either but am familiar with some of their music. I'm not sure I'd recognize a drop D in a song or not.

You certainly have a solid grasp on it. You must be a pretty avid guitarist! Thanks for the info!
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