Good legends never die; they simply morph to fit the changing times. Way back when, in less sexually open times, the guys in high school who weren’t getting any (which was most of them) would tell salacious and spiteful tales about those ubiquitous symbols of youthful sexual desire: cheerleaders. If you couldn’t have them, the next best thing was to dismiss them as tawdry sluts of easy virtue so lacking in moral that they would perform disgusting sexual acts (e.g., oral sex) on an entire football team a la Clara Bow. As in all good “sour grapes” tales, these tarts got their comeuppance when their deviant behavior caused them to fall ill, requiring trips to the hospital where astonishing amounts of semen were pumped from their stomachs, revealing their nasty little sexual proclivities to the world. (They didn’t just suck; they swallowed, too!)
When the concepts of teenage sex and oral sex began to lose their power to titillate and shock, the target of the legend changed to the new symbols of debauchery and excess: rock stars. In that incarnation the disapproved element of homosexuality was added, as the tale began to be told only about male rock stars, specifically those rumored to be something less than 100% heterosexual — primarily Elton John and Rod Stewart — but with all the same details (the collapse, the trip to the emergency room, the pumping of copious amount of seminal fluid from the stomach) intact:
Last week Elton John collapsed at a party, and had to have his stomach pumped. They extracted more then a gallon of semen, I swear to god its true.
Never mind that the amount of semen supposedly pumped out of the subject generally exceeded the capacity of even the largest of stomachs, would have required continuously performing blow jobs for about three days straight to ingest, that semen [in any quantity] isn’t toxic, and that someone who ingested too much would at worst feel nauseated for a little while or throw up but wouldn’t be subjected to stomach-pumping. Plausibility has never been a barrier to the spread of popular urban legends.
The following people have had this legend attributed to them: Rod Stewart, Elton John, David Bowie, Marc Almond, Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, Jeff Beck, Jon Bon Jovi, the drummer for Bon Jovi, the lead singer for New Kids on the Block, the Bay City Rollers (what, all of them?), Alanis Morrissette, Li’l Kim, Foxy Brown, Britney Spears, and Fiona Apple.
The amount of ejaculate retireved from the star’s stomach is often specified, such as
In his 2012 autobiography, singer Rod Stewart attributed the connection of his name with this legend to rumors spread by a disgruntled assistant:
[Stewart] claims his one-time sidekick Tony Toon made up the tale after he was fired for taking a male lover back to a hotel room he was sharing with the star’s seven-year-old stepson.
Toon accompanied Stewart and his then-wife Alana on a vacation in Hawaii, and the hotel was overbooked. The assistant and Alana’s son wound up sharing a room.
Stewart explained, “We had our children Sean and Kimberly in a room with us, and we asked Toon to share a room with Alana’s son Ashley, who was then seven. Toon, of course, couldn’t resist pulling some bloke in the bar that evening and taking him back to the room. I fired him in the morning.
“Toon’s revenge was absolutely inspired. He fed the press a story in which, as a consequence of an evening spent orally servicing a gang of sailors in a gay bar in San Diego, I had been required to check into a hospital emergency room to have my stomach pumped … I have never orally pleasured even a solitary sailor, let alone a ship’s worth in one evening. And I have never had my stomach pumped, either of naval-issue semen or of any other kind of semen.
“With minor variations … this story has stayed with me ever since. Say what you like about Tony Toon — and God rest his soul — but he was good at his job.”
Nowadays this legend keeps resurfacing, attributed to whatever singer (male or female) is currently disliked for being too popular or too lightweight or too cute (frequently teenage singers with legions of fawning adolescent fans, such as the New Kids on the Block or Britney Spears). Some versions still attempt to shock (rather than simply denigrate their targets) by including elements of bestiality. (That is, in some tellings the stomach contents are said to have included dog semen, as if sperm typing were a category of test a hospital would routinely perform under the circumstances.)
Although this tale is rarely related as a belief tale these days (i.e., the tellers generally realize they’re passing on something that’s merely a wild story and not an account of an actual occurrence, even if they continue to claim the latter), similar tales about a girl who inadvertently blurts out an embarrassing question in a biology class and a girl who has an unfortunate mishap with a hot dog are still widely related as true events.
Lockwood, Wayne. “Watermelons Growing in the Stomach: Local Legends Have Gone National.”
The Baltimore Sun. 3 September 1995 (p. F7).