Fruity Booty



The death of Little Richard (Penniman) needs to be acknowledged in some way, and how better than by remembering that the original song that became the mega-hit “Tutti Frutti” (1955) was a pæan to anal sex? The song’s title always seemed to be winking a gay message, and the song is known to have originated in New Orleans nightclubs. Now Little Richard’s drummer Charles Connor has confirmed that the original lyrics went like this: “Tutti Frutti, good booty. If it’s tight, it’s alright. If it’s greasy, it makes it easy.” Another version was even more explicit: “Tutti Frutti, good booty. If it don’t fit, don’t force it. You can grease it, make it easy.” The words were sanitized by Little Richard and his producer, with “rooty” replacing “booty” and references to “Daisy” and “Sue” thrown in for straight measure. No doubt these changes were necessary for the song to sell millions of copies to teenagers and to become the cultural dynamite that it was, but it’s fun to think that a subliminal gay message was still getting through to rock the sensibilities of 1950s America.