Opinion

Fergie's London Bridge Makes The Most Basic American-Tourist-In-London Mistake

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 8 months ago
Fergie's London Bridge Makes The Most Basic American-Tourist-In-London Mistake

There's an awkward point when looking back at old cultural artefacts. Those that are not recent enough to still be in touch with the modern zeitgeist, but not quite old enough to be viewed with nostalgia, just stuck somewhere in a cringeworthy middle. Today we examine a particularly confusing specimen from our current cringeworthy middle, the Year of our Lord 2006 — Fergie's debut single as a solo artist, London Bridge.*

London Bridge is already the focal point of a banging tune — here's looking at you, London Bridge is Falling Down — so surely we should be celebrating the structure's 21st century star-turn rather than bemoaning it? Well, we would, were it not for one glaring issue. This isn't a song about London Bridge at all. It's about Tower Bridge, and Fergie's made the cliched tourist mistake of calling it London Bridge.

What led us to this conclusion? Firstly, the song's hook has Fergie sing: "My London, London Bridge wanna go down". London Bridge does not go down. Sure the old one fell down, but we don't think that's what she's on about. Why? Well apart from the fact that Tower Bridge goes up and DOWN all the time. There's an un-refutable piece of evidence, the kind a TV lawyer slams down in front of the jury before walking away smugly. The single's alternative artwork, in which Fergie poses in front of Tower Bridge. Case closed.

Our proposed new single artwork. Yes, we know, The Shard wasn't finished back then, but finding stock photos of London Bridge from years ago is hard. Original photos: Shutterstock

To right that wrong, we made our own — admittedly brilliant — single artwork above. Note, it was exceptionally hard to find a stock image of London Bridge. Typing those two words into a search engine brings up Tower Bridge first. We blame Fergie for this calamity.

Let's move on to the song itself. The key to it — like so many other pop songs — is sex. Now we don't quite know what specific act she's referencing by stating her "London Bridge wanna go down", because frankly we don't want to dig into it too deeply. Aside: what do you think London's sexiest bridge is? Answers on a postcard please.

Lyrically, there's astoundingly little else going on here. There's a lot of shouting "oh shit" — or "oh snap" in the non-explicit ok for radio version — as if Fergie's just dropped an absolute zinger that the listener needs to do a double take after. But really, she's just talking a whole lot of nothingness, about dancing and beating up the paparazzi.

"I'm such a lady, but I'm dancin' like a ho", is perhaps the line with the most to dissect. There are two famous Fergies out there; popstar Fergie, and Sarah Ferguson, the former Duchess of York, who the tabloids dubbed 'Fergie'. Popstar Fergie realised she shared her name with someone and leant in to it — London Bridge is on an album called The Duchess, hence the mistakenly British theme. So in a roundabout way, her having the same name as Sarah Ferguson is why we have this abomination of a track in the world.

Fergie gets up close and personal with a Queens Guard

Finally there's the video, chock-full of of generic London signifiers. She takes a speedboat on the Thames. Someone looks gobsmacked inside a red telephone booth. She grinds on a Queens Guard, who stands completely still, like all good Guards should... until the end of the video when it turns out he is a proficient dancer. Who'd have thunk it?!

It all culminates with lots of dancing in somewhere called Belgravia Gentlemen's Club, which is blatantly not in Belgravia. However, that generic country house where the video was filmed is in fact in London — it's the Woolwich Army Barracks. Credit where credit's due then.

That's enough praise. Dancing around Woolwich and taking a speedboat on the Thames does not mean you can make a pop song perpetuating the idea that Tower Bridge is called London Bridge. Especially when Tower has the same number of syllables as London. The song works just fine — well, if you want to call this fine — if you swap every use of 'London' for 'Tower'.

Or she could have made an actual video about London Bridge. Have a picture of that on her underwear instead of a Union Jack. Heck, that way she could have just shot the whole thing in Arizona. We wouldn't have complained.

*Note, if anyone reads this article in 2026 and London's Bridge is the song du jour at noughties club nights, we're so, so sorry for you. That's not a future we want to live in.

Last Updated 17 January 2019