"Bohemian Rhapsody" an iconic song by the British rock band Queen.
The song consists of several sections:
When it was released as a single, "Bohemian Rhapsody" became a commercial success, staying at the top of the UK Singles Chart for nine weeks and selling more than a million copies by the end of January 1976.
It topped the charts in several other markets as well, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and The Netherlands, later becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time.
In the United States the song originally peaked at number nine in 1976. It returned to the chart at number two in 1992 following its appearance in the film Wayne's World, which revived its American popularity.
Although critical reaction was initially mixed, "Bohemian Rhapsody" remains one of Queen's most popular songs and is frequently placed on modern lists of the greatest songs of all time.
In 2004, "Bohemian Rhapsody" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
When the band wanted to release the single in 1975, various executives suggested to them that, at 5 minutes and 55 seconds, it was too long and would never be a hit. The song was played to other musicians who commented the band had no hope of it ever being played on radio. According to producer Roy Thomas Baker, he and the band bypassed this corporate decision by playing the song for Capital Radio. Hordes of fans attempted to buy the single the following Monday, only to be told by record stores that it had not yet been released.
The original single, released in early 1976, reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100, while a re-release in 1992 (timed to tie in with the song's appearance in the hit film Wayne's World) reached number two.
Bohemian Rhapsody Video
The video opens with a shot of the four band members in near darkness as they sing the a cappella part. The lights fade up, and the shots cross-fade into close-ups of Freddie. The composition of the shot is the same as Mick Rock's cover photograph for their second album Queen II. The photo, inspired by a photograph of actress Marlene Dietrich, was the band's favourite image of themselves. The video then fades into them playing their instruments. In the opera section of the video, the scene reverts to the Queen II standing positions, after which they perform once again on stage during the hard rock segment. In the closing seconds of the video Roger Taylor is depicted stripped to the waist, striking the tam tam in the manner of the trademark of the Rank Organisation's Gongman, familiar in the UK as the opening of all Rank film productions.
All of the special effects were achieved during the recording, rather than editing. The visual effect of Mercury's face cascading away (during the echoed line "go") was accomplished by pointing the camera at a monitor, giving visual feedback, a glare analogous to audio feedback. The honeycomb illusion was created using a shaped lens. The video was edited within five hours because it was due to be broadcast the same week in which it was taped. The video was sent to the BBC as soon as it was completed and aired for the first time on Top of the Pops in November 1975. After a few weeks at number one, an edit of the video was created. The most obvious difference is the flames superimposed over the introduction as well as several alternate camera angles.
The song also came in tenth in a BBC World Service poll to find the world's favourite song.
In 2000 it came second to "Imagine" by John Lennon in a Channel 4 television poll of The 100 Best Number 1s. It has been in the top 5 of the Dutch annual "Top 100 Aller Tijden" ("All-Time Top 100 [Singles]") since 1977, reaching number one on eight occasions, more than any other artist. In 1999, the annual "Top 2000" poll commenced to find the best songs ever made, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" has been ranked number one in all but three years (2005, 2010 and 2014 when it was number two).
In 2004 the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
On 30 September 2007 on the Radio 1 Chart Show, for BBC Radio 1's 40th birthday, it was revealed that "Bohemian Rhapsody" was the most played song since Radio 1's launch.
In 2012, the song topped an ITV poll in the UK to find 'The Nation's Favourite Number One' over 60 years of music, ahead of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" (No.2), Adele's "Someone like You" (No.3), Oasis' "Don't Look Back in Anger" (No.4) and The Beatles' "Hey Jude" (No.5). The song was also ranked #5 in RadioMafia's list of "Top 500 Songs". The song was also included in the music video games Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and Rock Band 3.
The song enjoyed renewed popularity in 1992 as part of the soundtrack to the film Wayne's World. The film's director, Penelope Spheeris, was hesitant to use the song, as it did not entirely fit with the lead characters, who were fans of less flamboyant hard rock and heavy metal. Mike Myers insisted that the song fitted the scene.
According to music scholar Theodore Gracyk, by 1992, when the film was released, even "classic rock" stations had stopped playing the almost-six-minute song. Gracyk suggests that beginning the tape in the middle of the song after "the lyrics which provide the song's narrative ... forces the film's audience to respond to its presence in the scene without the 'commentary' of the lyrics." Helped by the song, the soundtrack album of the film was a major hit.
In connection with this, a new video was released, intercutting excerpts from the film with footage from the original Queen video, along with some live footage of the band. Myers was horrified that the record company had mixed clips from Wayne's World with Queen's original video, fearing that this would upset the band. He said, "they've just whizzed on a Picasso." He asked the record company to tell Queen that the video was not his idea, and that he apologised to them. The band, though, sent a reply simply saying, "Thank you for using our song." This shocked Myers, who said it should be more like him telling Queen, "Thank you for even letting me touch the hem of your garments!"
The Wayne's World video version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" won Queen its only MTV Video Music Award for "Best Video from a Film". When remaining members Brian May and Roger Taylor took the stage to accept the award, Brian May was overcome with emotion and said that "Freddie would be tickled."
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody Lyrics
Songwriters: Mercury, Freddie
Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics © EMI Music Publishing
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go
A little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me, to me
Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away
Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters
Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body's aching all the time
Goodbye everybody I've got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooo (anyway the wind blows)
I don't want to die
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all
I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me
Gallileo Figaro - magnifico
But I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me
He's just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come easy go will you let me go
Bismillah! No we will not let you go - let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go - let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go let me go
Will not let you go let me go (never)
Never let you go let me go
Never let me go ooo
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh baby can't do this to me baby
Just gotta get out just gotta get right outta here
Ooh yeah, ooh yeah
Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters nothing really matters to me
Anyway the wind blows