The 9 Greatest Fat Rockers Of All Time
With the likes of Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop running around shirtless, you might think that rock ‘n’ roll is just a skinny guy’s game. But not so. These biggies below could rock the stage with the best of ’em, though preferably not during meal hours. And I’m not just talking about the fellas here, because I’m not a chauvinist, and fat lady rockers bring it just as heavy as fat dude rockers. So yeah, I may be calling women fat, and I probably never thought I’d be doing that in public, but these ladies, and men for that matter, helped me to see that fat rocks too. And that I should shake my belly when I dance. Because rock is the great equalizer.
I love Elvis for so many reasons, but they all come down to Fat Elvis. Fat Elvis is the fallible one, the pudgy one I can relate to. It was easy to be Elvis back in the glory days, when all he had to do was shake a hip to make girls faint. And once a girl faints, as Bill Cosby once said: she’s yours for the taking. But while Fat Elvis may not have been the looker of yore, he rocked, plain and simple, more than teeny bopper Elvis. With feeling. And he did so with more rhinestoned style than anyone. Just watch this performance of Elvis delivering the most sweat-drenched “Unchained Melody” ever, while getting all Liberace-like on the piano. Until the evidence exists, I’ll go on thinking The King continues to rock rhinestone robes to this day, and that he still loves a good peanut butter, bacon, bananas, tanning drugs and pain killers sandwich.
Any rocker unafraid to show off double-d man boobs on celluloid is a man who’s unapologetic about his weight. And why should he apologize? “Fight Club” was awesome, and I can’t think of anyone who puts their weight behind their music like the bellowing man above, who set aside the perfectly good moniker of Marvin Lee Aday to name himself after tasty beef. Now, of course, his name is Meatloaf. His name is Meatloaf. His name is Meatloaf. And his name is necessarily associative with his heft. When Meatloaf puts his weight into it, rock power erupts. Then the operatics kick in, and goddamn if ML doesn’t believe he’s the sexiest fat guy in the world. And who the bat out of hell am I to tell him he’s not? In eerily related news, did you know the “His Name Is Robert Paulson” is actually a sex move?
Just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean I’m going to overlook the fact that Ann is one of the most wailing rock vocalists around, female or otherwise. We’re talking about the best fat rockers here, and if Ann’s not there, the list doesn’t really rock like my standards demand. And yeah, I may long for the relative sizzling slender of “Dreamboat Annie,” Heart’s first album back in ’75, but that’s just a snap shot of the fat rocker ready to burst out. Whatever it takes to keep the strength in that voice, you do it. You gotta live the miles to sing about ’em. And there’s many a burger joint along the way.
Look, I never said that you had to rock and be fat at the same time to be a Best Fat Rocker, did I? And of all the people on this list, when it comes to real rock ‘n’ roll—the not giving a f*** kind—you have to admit: in his youth, Axl did more to merit his spot here than most. And now he’s fat. Sure, he’s not like Fat Albert fat, but he’s still in the midst of a Fat Axl stage, isn’t he? And that stage is all the more stark when compared to the little skinny rat stage we all got to know him during. Maybe the reason he was such an asshole all the time back then is because he was really just hungry?
Though you surely think of him as a fat man, you might not think of Luther as a rocker. But you would be wrong. And for my lone piece of evidence, I present him singing backups, along with his own backup singers, for Bowie on “Young Americans.” The fattest guy on this stage holds it down with the thinnest, whitest, dukiest going full on soul singer. But who do you think Bowie learned it from? Well, spending time with Luther sure didn’t hurt. Except for that time Bowie got his strumming hand too close to Luther’s combo platter.
West was just another hungry cat before he started “Mississippi Queen”-singing, Woodstock-rocking, early-metal-pioneering Mountain. But I’m pretty sure his love of kugel stuck to his sides long after. The guy actually released a 1975 solo album called “The Great Fatsby,” which happens to feature one of the skinniest rockers ever, Mick Jagger, on rhythm guitar. West also lost a leg to diabetes, so you know he was committed to the sweets long after he was warned off them. Not that he let that stop him; his 16th album just dropped in November, and it appears his weight has too, so hopefully we’ll hear his 17th soon.
Here’s another one I’m going to get in trouble for, but tell me, by the criteria of this list, could I really leave Aretha off? She’s a big, beautiful woman who puts her weight behind her wail more than everyone else who’s not on this list. And sure, she’s technically the Queen of Soul, so maybe you don’t think she’s rock enough, but you know what she used that giant soul to do? “Rock steady,” mother f***er. Rock f***ing steady.
Fat, sweaty John used to use every bit of that billowing frame to puff deadly blues harmonica, helping to give us nascent hippies a note-filled taste of blues harp back in the Horde Tour days. He was the first guy I’d ever seen with a harmonica vest, and I was rightly impressed. Blues Traveler’s first album, “But Anyways,” couldn’t be a better debut. But then he went and spiked at about 400 pounds, possibly broke a toilet by sitting on it too long, and finally got that weight-loss surgery gastro thing. He was the first people I remember getting the surgery, and I never got over how weird looking he was after. So I’m including him on this list to apologize for my shallowness.
Jack Black plays a Panda by day, and they don’t just give panda roles to skinny guys. And Kyle G is most likely getting the panda coffee and Danishes all day. But by night, they get together as Tenacious D and put the heavy into heavy metal, and the roll into rock ‘n’ roll. And in doing so, the D, these two plump little buddies, prove that it matters very little what you look like; if you’ve got the rolling thunder down under, it must be unleashed. And if you question their rock cred, Jack played a guy who taught rock. They don’t just give rock teacher roles to guys who don’t rock. Besides, Dave Grohl plays drums on all their studio albums and sometimes with them live.