Rudebox

Album: Rudebox (2006)
Charted: 4
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Produced by the British duo Soul Mekanik, "Rudebox" marked a controversial new direction for Robbie Williams. The song finds Williams abandoning his traditional pop sound in favor of a full rap flow, with the former Take That member making a multitude of cultural references to The Matrix, Adidas, Michael Jackson, and more. "Rudebox" also shouts out a number of hip-hop songs, including The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa" and Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere."
  • "Rudebox" samples the melody from Jamaican production legends Sly & Robbie's 1987 hit single "Boops (Here to Go)." Sly Dunbar approved the use of the sample, telling M Magazine in 2012: "When Robbie Williams used 'Boops' I thought, 'Wow, that's good!' I think we even got a certificate!"
  • Directed by the French fashion photographer Seb Janiak, the music video sees Williams further tapping into the hip-hop influence that defines the Rudebox era. It features Williams and a group of breakdancers performing in a parking lot setting, with the singer coming dressed in New York-inspired streetwear.
  • "Rudebox" was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews upon its release, with the British tabloid The Sun going as far as to call it "the worst song ever." It peaked at #4 in the UK, but fared better in Europe, topping the charts in Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. "Rudebox" also had success in Latin America, winning International Song of the Year at Premios Oye! – the Mexican equivalent of the Grammy Awards.
  • In 2013, Williams admitted he regretted issuing "Rudebox" as a lead single. He told Grazia Magazine: "I wish I hadn't released 'Rudebox' as the first single from the album of the same name – a different one would've been better. But these days I concentrate on more important things than regrets." In August 2021, Williams' wife Ayda Field posted a video on social media of her husband singing "Rudebox" alongside the caption: "Robbie Williams still thinks this song will have its time. #JusticeForRudebox."
  • Rudebox was Williams' seventh studio album. Despite peaking at #1 in the UK and 13 other countries, the album was regarded as a critical and commercial failure, with sales far below what was expected of him at the time. This was made more humiliating when Williams' former band Take That ended up overtaking the sales of Rudebox with their 2016 comeback album Beautiful World.
  • The failure of Rudebox resulted in two music executives getting fired at Williams' record label, EMI. It was reported that over a million unsold copies of the album were sent to China to be crushed. The recycled end product was then used to surface roads and produce street lights.

Comments: 1

  • Patrickman from Makati City, Other^haha, crushed and used to make roads! that's nice!

    i hate the song though.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Boy Bands

Boy BandsFact or Fiction

From NKOTB to 1D, how well do you know your boy bands?

Ian Astbury of The Cult

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

History Of Rock

History Of RockSong Writing

An interview with Dr. John Covach, music professor at the University of Rochester whose free online courses have become wildly popular.

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?Fact or Fiction

Bradley Cooper, Michael J. Fox, Rami Malek, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow and George Clooney: Which actors really sang in their movies?

Marc Campbell - "88 Lines About 44 Women"

Marc Campbell - "88 Lines About 44 Women"They're Playing My Song

The Nails lead singer Marc Campbell talks about those 44 women he sings about over a stock Casio keyboard track. He's married to one of them now - you might be surprised which.

John Waite

John WaiteSongwriter Interviews

"Missing You" was a spontaneous outpouring of emotion triggered by a phone call. John tells that story and explains what MTV meant to his career.