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Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody

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"Bohemian Rhapsody" is a song by the British rock band Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

. It was written by Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury was a British musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range...

 for the band's 1975 album A Night at the Opera
A Night at the Opera (Queen album)
A Night at the Opera is the fourth studio album by the British rock group Queen, released in November 1975. Co-produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, A Night at the Opera was, at the time of its release, the most expensive album ever recorded...

. The song has no chorus, instead consisting of three main parts: a ballad
Ballad
A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads were particularly characteristic of British and Irish popular poetry and song from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe and later the Americas, Australia and North Africa. Many...

 segment ending with a guitar solo
Guitar solo
In popular music, a guitar solo is a melodic passage, section, or entire piece of music written for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Guitar solos, which often contain varying degrees of improvisation, are used in many styles of popular music such as blues, jazz, rock and metal styles such...

, an opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

tic passage, and a hard rock
Hard rock
Hard rock is a loosely defined genre of rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock...

 section.

When it was released as a single, "Bohemian Rhapsody" became a commercial success, staying at the top of the UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

 for nine weeks and selling more than a million copies by the end of January 1976. It reached number one again in 1991 for five weeks following Mercury's death, eventually becoming the UK's third best selling single of all time. It topped the charts in several other markets as well, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and The Netherlands. In the United States the song originally peaked at number nine in 1976; however, it returned to the chart at number two in 1992 following its appearance in the film Wayne's World
Wayne's World (film)
Wayne's World is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris and starring Mike Myers in his film debut as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar, hosts of the Aurora, Illinois-based Public-access television cable TV show Wayne's World...

which revived its American popularity.

The single was accompanied by a promotional video, considered ground-breaking. Although critical reaction was initially mixed, particularly in the United States, "Bohemian Rhapsody" remains one of Queen's most popular songs. Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

ranked it as number 166 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" was the cover story of a special issue of Rolling Stone, issue number 963, published December 9, 2004, a year after the magazine published its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time"....

".

History and recording


Freddie Mercury wrote most of "Bohemian Rhapsody" at his home in Holland Road, Kensington
Kensington
Kensington is a district of west and central London, England within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. An affluent and densely-populated area, its commercial heart is Kensington High Street, and it contains the well-known museum district of South Kensington.To the north, Kensington is...

, in west London. The song's producer, Roy Thomas Baker
Roy Thomas Baker
Roy Thomas Baker is a multiple award-winning Anglo-American music producer, songwriter, arranger and Recording Academy Governor, who has produced Platinum and Gold certified pop and rock records from the 1970s to the present.- Career :Baker began his career at Decca Records in England at the age...

, related how Mercury once played the opening ballad section on the piano for him: "He played the beginning on the piano, then stopped and said, 'And this is where the opera section comes in!' Then we went out to eat dinner." Guitarist Brian May
Brian May
Brian Harold May, CBE is an English musician and astrophysicist most widely known as the guitarist and a songwriter of the rock band Queen...

 says the band thought that Mercury's blueprint for the song was "intriguing and original, and worthy of work." Much of Queen's material was written in the studio according to May, but this song "was all in Freddie's mind" before they started. Music scholar Sheila Whiteley suggests that "the title draws strongly on contemporary rock ideology, the individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

 of the bohemian
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

artists' world, with rhapsody
Rhapsody (music)
A rhapsody in music is a one-movement work that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colour and tonality. An air of spontaneous inspiration and a sense of improvisation make it freer in form than a set of variations...

affirming the romantic ideals of art rock
Art rock
Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, with influences from art, avant-garde, and classical music. The first usage of the term, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, was in 1968. Influenced by the work of The Beatles, most notably their Sgt...

." Commenting on bohemianism, Judith Peraino said that "Mercury intended... [this song] to be a 'mock opera', something outside the norm of rock songs, and it does follow a certain operatic logic: choruses of multi-tracked voices alternate with aria-like solos, the emotions are excessive, the plot confusing."

According to Chris Smith (a friend of Mercury's and a keyboard player in Smile for a brief period), Mercury first started developing "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the late 1960s; Mercury used to play parts of songs he was writing at the piano, and one of his pieces, known simply as "The Cowboy Song", contained lyrics that ended up in the completed version produced years later in 1975, specifically, "Mama.... just killed a man."

Recording began at Rockfield Studio 1
Rockfield Studios
Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth in Wales and just outside the village of Rockfield, Monmouthshire are where many of British rock music’s most successful recordings have been made.-History:...

 near Monmouth
Monmouth
Monmouth is a town in southeast Wales and traditional county town of the historic county of Monmouthshire. It is situated close to the border with England, where the River Monnow meets the River Wye with bridges over both....

 on 24 August 1975, after a 3-week rehearsal in Herefordshire. During the making of the track, an additional four studios (Roundhouse, SARM (East), Scorpion, and Wessex) were used. According to some band members, Mercury mentally prepared the song beforehand and directed the band throughout. Mercury used a Bechstein
C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik
C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik AG is a German manufacturer of pianos, established in 1853 by Carl Bechstein.-Before Bechstein:...

 "concert grand" piano, which he played in the promotional video and the UK tour. Due to the elaborate nature of the song, it was recorded in various sections, held together by a drum click to keep all layers synchronized.

May, Mercury, and Taylor reportedly sang their vocal parts continually for ten to twelve hours a day. The entire piece took three weeks to record, and in some sections featured 180 separate overdubs. Since the studios of the time only offered 24-track analogue tape, it was necessary for the three to overdub themselves many times and "bounce" these down to successive sub-mixes. In the end, eighth-generation tapes were used. The various sections of tape containing the desired submixes had to be spliced
Reel-to-reel audio tape recording
Reel-to-reel, open reel tape recording is the form of magnetic tape audio recording in which the recording medium is held on a reel, rather than being securely contained within a cassette....

 (cut with razor blades and assembled in the correct sequence using adhesive tape). May recalled placing a tape in front of the light and being able to see through it, as they had been recording so intensely. It was the most expensive single ever made and remains one of the most elaborate recordings in popular music history.

Composition and analysis



The song consists of six sections: introduction, ballad, guitar solo
Guitar solo
In popular music, a guitar solo is a melodic passage, section, or entire piece of music written for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Guitar solos, which often contain varying degrees of improvisation, are used in many styles of popular music such as blues, jazz, rock and metal styles such...

, opera, hard rock and outro. This format, with abrupt changes in style, tone and tempo, was unusual to rock music. An embryonic version of this style had already been utilized by the band in "My Fairy King" and "The March of the Black Queen".

Intro (0:00–0:49)


The song begins with a close four-part harmony a cappella introduction in B

"Bohemian Rhapsody" is a song by the British rock band Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

. It was written by Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury was a British musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range...

 for the band's 1975 album A Night at the Opera
A Night at the Opera (Queen album)
A Night at the Opera is the fourth studio album by the British rock group Queen, released in November 1975. Co-produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, A Night at the Opera was, at the time of its release, the most expensive album ever recorded...

. The song has no chorus, instead consisting of three main parts: a ballad
Ballad
A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads were particularly characteristic of British and Irish popular poetry and song from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe and later the Americas, Australia and North Africa. Many...

 segment ending with a guitar solo
Guitar solo
In popular music, a guitar solo is a melodic passage, section, or entire piece of music written for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Guitar solos, which often contain varying degrees of improvisation, are used in many styles of popular music such as blues, jazz, rock and metal styles such...

, an opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

tic passage, and a hard rock
Hard rock
Hard rock is a loosely defined genre of rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock...

 section.

When it was released as a single, "Bohemian Rhapsody" became a commercial success, staying at the top of the UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

 for nine weeks and selling more than a million copies by the end of January 1976.{{Sfn|Hodkinson|2004|p=194}} It reached number one again in 1991 for five weeks following Mercury's death, eventually becoming the UK's third best selling single of all time.{{Sfn|Corn|2005|p=24}} It topped the charts in several other markets as well, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and The Netherlands. In the United States the song originally peaked at number nine in 1976; however, it returned to the chart at number two in 1992 following its appearance in the film Wayne's World
Wayne's World (film)
Wayne's World is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris and starring Mike Myers in his film debut as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar, hosts of the Aurora, Illinois-based Public-access television cable TV show Wayne's World...

which revived its American popularity.

The single was accompanied by a promotional video, considered ground-breaking.{{Sfn|Heatley|2008|p=109}} Although critical reaction was initially mixed, particularly in the United States, "Bohemian Rhapsody" remains one of Queen's most popular songs. Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

ranked it as number 166 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" was the cover story of a special issue of Rolling Stone, issue number 963, published December 9, 2004, a year after the magazine published its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time"....

".

History and recording


Freddie Mercury wrote most of "Bohemian Rhapsody" at his home in Holland Road, Kensington
Kensington
Kensington is a district of west and central London, England within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. An affluent and densely-populated area, its commercial heart is Kensington High Street, and it contains the well-known museum district of South Kensington.To the north, Kensington is...

, in west London.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} The song's producer, Roy Thomas Baker
Roy Thomas Baker
Roy Thomas Baker is a multiple award-winning Anglo-American music producer, songwriter, arranger and Recording Academy Governor, who has produced Platinum and Gold certified pop and rock records from the 1970s to the present.- Career :Baker began his career at Decca Records in England at the age...

, related how Mercury once played the opening ballad section on the piano for him: "He played the beginning on the piano, then stopped and said, 'And this is where the opera section comes in!' Then we went out to eat dinner." Guitarist Brian May
Brian May
Brian Harold May, CBE is an English musician and astrophysicist most widely known as the guitarist and a songwriter of the rock band Queen...

 says the band thought that Mercury's blueprint for the song was "intriguing and original, and worthy of work."{{Sfn|Chiu|2005}} Much of Queen's material was written in the studio according to May, but this song "was all in Freddie's mind" before they started.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} Music scholar Sheila Whiteley suggests that "the title draws strongly on contemporary rock ideology, the individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

 of the bohemian
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

artists' world, with rhapsody
Rhapsody (music)
A rhapsody in music is a one-movement work that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colour and tonality. An air of spontaneous inspiration and a sense of improvisation make it freer in form than a set of variations...

affirming the romantic ideals of art rock
Art rock
Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, with influences from art, avant-garde, and classical music. The first usage of the term, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, was in 1968. Influenced by the work of The Beatles, most notably their Sgt...

."{{Sfn|Whiteley|2006|p=252}} Commenting on bohemianism, Judith Peraino said that "Mercury intended... [this song] to be a 'mock opera', something outside the norm of rock songs, and it does follow a certain operatic logic: choruses of multi-tracked voices alternate with aria-like solos, the emotions are excessive, the plot confusing."{{Sfn|Peraino|2005|p=230}}

According to Chris Smith (a friend of Mercury's and a keyboard player in Smile for a brief period), Mercury first started developing "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the late 1960s; Mercury used to play parts of songs he was writing at the piano, and one of his pieces, known simply as "The Cowboy Song", contained lyrics that ended up in the completed version produced years later in 1975, specifically, "Mama.... just killed a man."

Recording began at Rockfield Studio 1
Rockfield Studios
Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth in Wales and just outside the village of Rockfield, Monmouthshire are where many of British rock music’s most successful recordings have been made.-History:...

 near Monmouth
Monmouth
Monmouth is a town in southeast Wales and traditional county town of the historic county of Monmouthshire. It is situated close to the border with England, where the River Monnow meets the River Wye with bridges over both....

 on 24 August 1975, after a 3-week rehearsal in Herefordshire. During the making of the track, an additional four studios (Roundhouse, SARM (East), Scorpion, and Wessex) were used.{{Sfn|Cunningham|1995}} According to some band members, Mercury mentally prepared the song beforehand and directed the band throughout.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} Mercury used a Bechstein
C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik
C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik AG is a German manufacturer of pianos, established in 1853 by Carl Bechstein.-Before Bechstein:...

 "concert grand" piano, which he played in the promotional video and the UK tour. Due to the elaborate nature of the song, it was recorded in various sections, held together by a drum click to keep all layers synchronized.{{Sfn|Hodkinson|2004|p=192}}

May, Mercury, and Taylor reportedly sang their vocal parts continually for ten to twelve hours a day.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} The entire piece took three weeks to record, and in some sections featured 180 separate overdubs.{{Sfn|Hodkinson|2004|p=192}} Since the studios of the time only offered 24-track analogue tape, it was necessary for the three to overdub themselves many times and "bounce" these down to successive sub-mixes. In the end, eighth-generation tapes were used.{{Sfn|Cunningham|1995}} The various sections of tape containing the desired submixes had to be spliced
Reel-to-reel audio tape recording
Reel-to-reel, open reel tape recording is the form of magnetic tape audio recording in which the recording medium is held on a reel, rather than being securely contained within a cassette....

 (cut with razor blades and assembled in the correct sequence using adhesive tape). May recalled placing a tape in front of the light and being able to see through it, as they had been recording so intensely.{{Sfn|Classic Albums|2006}} It was the most expensive single ever made and remains one of the most elaborate recordings in popular music history.{{Sfn|Cunningham|1995}}

Composition and analysis



The song consists of six sections: introduction, ballad, guitar solo
Guitar solo
In popular music, a guitar solo is a melodic passage, section, or entire piece of music written for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Guitar solos, which often contain varying degrees of improvisation, are used in many styles of popular music such as blues, jazz, rock and metal styles such...

, opera, hard rock and outro. This format, with abrupt changes in style, tone and tempo, was unusual to rock music. An embryonic version of this style had already been utilized by the band in "My Fairy King" and "The March of the Black Queen".

Intro (0:00–0:49)


The song begins with a close four-part harmony a cappella introduction in B

"Bohemian Rhapsody" is a song by the British rock band Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

. It was written by Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury was a British musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range...

 for the band's 1975 album A Night at the Opera
A Night at the Opera (Queen album)
A Night at the Opera is the fourth studio album by the British rock group Queen, released in November 1975. Co-produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, A Night at the Opera was, at the time of its release, the most expensive album ever recorded...

. The song has no chorus, instead consisting of three main parts: a ballad
Ballad
A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads were particularly characteristic of British and Irish popular poetry and song from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe and later the Americas, Australia and North Africa. Many...

 segment ending with a guitar solo
Guitar solo
In popular music, a guitar solo is a melodic passage, section, or entire piece of music written for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Guitar solos, which often contain varying degrees of improvisation, are used in many styles of popular music such as blues, jazz, rock and metal styles such...

, an opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

tic passage, and a hard rock
Hard rock
Hard rock is a loosely defined genre of rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock...

 section.

When it was released as a single, "Bohemian Rhapsody" became a commercial success, staying at the top of the UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

 for nine weeks and selling more than a million copies by the end of January 1976.{{Sfn|Hodkinson|2004|p=194}} It reached number one again in 1991 for five weeks following Mercury's death, eventually becoming the UK's third best selling single of all time.{{Sfn|Corn|2005|p=24}} It topped the charts in several other markets as well, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and The Netherlands. In the United States the song originally peaked at number nine in 1976; however, it returned to the chart at number two in 1992 following its appearance in the film Wayne's World
Wayne's World (film)
Wayne's World is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris and starring Mike Myers in his film debut as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar, hosts of the Aurora, Illinois-based Public-access television cable TV show Wayne's World...

which revived its American popularity.

The single was accompanied by a promotional video, considered ground-breaking.{{Sfn|Heatley|2008|p=109}} Although critical reaction was initially mixed, particularly in the United States, "Bohemian Rhapsody" remains one of Queen's most popular songs. Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

ranked it as number 166 on their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" was the cover story of a special issue of Rolling Stone, issue number 963, published December 9, 2004, a year after the magazine published its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time"....

".

History and recording


Freddie Mercury wrote most of "Bohemian Rhapsody" at his home in Holland Road, Kensington
Kensington
Kensington is a district of west and central London, England within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. An affluent and densely-populated area, its commercial heart is Kensington High Street, and it contains the well-known museum district of South Kensington.To the north, Kensington is...

, in west London.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} The song's producer, Roy Thomas Baker
Roy Thomas Baker
Roy Thomas Baker is a multiple award-winning Anglo-American music producer, songwriter, arranger and Recording Academy Governor, who has produced Platinum and Gold certified pop and rock records from the 1970s to the present.- Career :Baker began his career at Decca Records in England at the age...

, related how Mercury once played the opening ballad section on the piano for him: "He played the beginning on the piano, then stopped and said, 'And this is where the opera section comes in!' Then we went out to eat dinner." Guitarist Brian May
Brian May
Brian Harold May, CBE is an English musician and astrophysicist most widely known as the guitarist and a songwriter of the rock band Queen...

 says the band thought that Mercury's blueprint for the song was "intriguing and original, and worthy of work."{{Sfn|Chiu|2005}} Much of Queen's material was written in the studio according to May, but this song "was all in Freddie's mind" before they started.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} Music scholar Sheila Whiteley suggests that "the title draws strongly on contemporary rock ideology, the individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

 of the bohemian
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

artists' world, with rhapsody
Rhapsody (music)
A rhapsody in music is a one-movement work that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colour and tonality. An air of spontaneous inspiration and a sense of improvisation make it freer in form than a set of variations...

affirming the romantic ideals of art rock
Art rock
Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, with influences from art, avant-garde, and classical music. The first usage of the term, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, was in 1968. Influenced by the work of The Beatles, most notably their Sgt...

."{{Sfn|Whiteley|2006|p=252}} Commenting on bohemianism, Judith Peraino said that "Mercury intended... [this song] to be a 'mock opera', something outside the norm of rock songs, and it does follow a certain operatic logic: choruses of multi-tracked voices alternate with aria-like solos, the emotions are excessive, the plot confusing."{{Sfn|Peraino|2005|p=230}}

According to Chris Smith (a friend of Mercury's and a keyboard player in Smile for a brief period), Mercury first started developing "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the late 1960s; Mercury used to play parts of songs he was writing at the piano, and one of his pieces, known simply as "The Cowboy Song", contained lyrics that ended up in the completed version produced years later in 1975, specifically, "Mama.... just killed a man."

Recording began at Rockfield Studio 1
Rockfield Studios
Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth in Wales and just outside the village of Rockfield, Monmouthshire are where many of British rock music’s most successful recordings have been made.-History:...

 near Monmouth
Monmouth
Monmouth is a town in southeast Wales and traditional county town of the historic county of Monmouthshire. It is situated close to the border with England, where the River Monnow meets the River Wye with bridges over both....

 on 24 August 1975, after a 3-week rehearsal in Herefordshire. During the making of the track, an additional four studios (Roundhouse, SARM (East), Scorpion, and Wessex) were used.{{Sfn|Cunningham|1995}} According to some band members, Mercury mentally prepared the song beforehand and directed the band throughout.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} Mercury used a Bechstein
C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik
C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik AG is a German manufacturer of pianos, established in 1853 by Carl Bechstein.-Before Bechstein:...

 "concert grand" piano, which he played in the promotional video and the UK tour. Due to the elaborate nature of the song, it was recorded in various sections, held together by a drum click to keep all layers synchronized.{{Sfn|Hodkinson|2004|p=192}}

May, Mercury, and Taylor reportedly sang their vocal parts continually for ten to twelve hours a day.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} The entire piece took three weeks to record, and in some sections featured 180 separate overdubs.{{Sfn|Hodkinson|2004|p=192}} Since the studios of the time only offered 24-track analogue tape, it was necessary for the three to overdub themselves many times and "bounce" these down to successive sub-mixes. In the end, eighth-generation tapes were used.{{Sfn|Cunningham|1995}} The various sections of tape containing the desired submixes had to be spliced
Reel-to-reel audio tape recording
Reel-to-reel, open reel tape recording is the form of magnetic tape audio recording in which the recording medium is held on a reel, rather than being securely contained within a cassette....

 (cut with razor blades and assembled in the correct sequence using adhesive tape). May recalled placing a tape in front of the light and being able to see through it, as they had been recording so intensely.{{Sfn|Classic Albums|2006}} It was the most expensive single ever made and remains one of the most elaborate recordings in popular music history.{{Sfn|Cunningham|1995}}

Composition and analysis



The song consists of six sections: introduction, ballad, guitar solo
Guitar solo
In popular music, a guitar solo is a melodic passage, section, or entire piece of music written for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. Guitar solos, which often contain varying degrees of improvisation, are used in many styles of popular music such as blues, jazz, rock and metal styles such...

, opera, hard rock and outro. This format, with abrupt changes in style, tone and tempo, was unusual to rock music. An embryonic version of this style had already been utilized by the band in "My Fairy King" and "The March of the Black Queen".

Intro (0:00–0:49)


The song begins with a close four-part harmony a cappella introduction in B{{Music—entirely multi track recordings
Multitrack recording
Multitrack recording is a method of sound recording that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources to create a cohesive whole...

 of Mercury although the video has all four members lip-synching this part. The lyrics question whether life is "real" or "just fantasy" before concluding that there can be "no escape from reality."

After 15 seconds, the grand piano enters, and Mercury's voice alternates with the other vocal parts. The narrator introduces himself as "just a poor boy" but declares that he "needs no sympathy" because he is "easy come, easy go"; chromatic side-slipping on "easy come, easy go" highlights the dream-like atmosphere. The end of this section is marked by the bass entrance and the familiar cross-handed piano vamp in B{{Music|flat}}.

Ballad (0:49–2:36)


{{Listen
|filename =QueenBohemianRhapsody Mama.ogg
|title ="Mama, just killed a man"
|description =This sample features the distinctive piano vamp in B{{Music|flat}} and the first line of the first verse.
}}
The piano begins the familiar vamp in B{{Music|flat}} along with the entrance of Deacon's bass guitar, marking the onset of this section. After it plays twice, Mercury's vocals enter. Over the course of the section, the vocals evolve from a softly sung harmony to an impassioned solo performance by Mercury. The narrator explains to his mother that he has "just killed a man," with "a gun against his head" and in doing so, has thrown his life away. This "confessional" section, Whiteley comments, is "affirmative of the nurturant and life-giving force of the feminine and the need for absolution."{{Sfn|Whiteley|2006|p=252}} The chromatic bass line brings about a modulation to E{{Music|flat}}, underpinning the mood of desperation.{{Sfn|Whiteley|2006|p=252}} It is at this point (1:19) that Taylor's drums enter (this features the 1-1-2 rhythm of "We Will Rock You
We Will Rock You
"We Will Rock You" is a song written by Brian May and recorded and performed by Queen for their 1977 album News of the World. Rolling Stone ranked it #330 of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004, and the RIAA placed it at #146 on its list of Songs of the Century...

" in ballad form), and the narrator makes the second of several invocations to his "mama" in the new key, reusing the original theme. The narrator explains his regret over "making you cry" and urging mama to "carry on as if nothing really matters" to him. A brief, descending variation of the piano vamp phrase connects to a two repeat of the vamp in B{{Music|flat}} once again, ushering in the second verse.

As the ballad proceeds into its second verse, the narrator shows how tired and beaten down he is by his actions (as May enters on guitar and mimics the upper range of the piano at 1:50). May imitates a bell tree
Bell tree
A bell tree is a percussion instrument, consisting of vertically nested inverted metal bowls. The bowls, placed on a vertical rod, are arranged in order of pitch . The number of bowls can vary between approximately 14 and 28...

 during the line "sends shivers down my spine", by playing the strings of his guitar on the other side of the bridge. The narrator bids the world goodbye announcing he has got to go and prepares to "face the truth" admitting "I don't want to die / I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all." This is where the guitar solo enters, which eventually goes through a modulation featuring a quick series of bass descents bringing the new tonality to A Major, marking the start of the "Opera" section.

Guitar solo (2:36–3:03)


As Mercury sings the rising line "I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all", the band builds in intensity, leading up to a guitar solo played and composed by May that serves as the bridge from ballad to opera. The intensity continues to build, but once the bass line completes its descent establishing the new key, the entire band cuts out abruptly at 3:03 except for quiet, staccato A major
A major
A major is a major scale based on A, with the pitches A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Its key signature has three sharps.Its relative minor is F-sharp minor and its parallel minor is A minor...

 quaver (eighth-note) chords on the piano. Producer Baker recalls that May's solo was done on only one track, rather than recording multiple tracks. May stated that he wanted to compose "a little tune that would be a counterpart to the main melody; I didn't just want to play the melody." The guitarist said that his better material stems from this way of working: in which he thought of the tune before playing it: "the fingers tend to be predictable unless being led by the brain."{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}}

Opera (3:03–4:07)


{{Listen
|filename =QueenBohemianRhapsody_Opera.ogg
|title ="Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?"
|description =The operatic segment enters immediately as May's solo abruptly concludes. This vast shift in style is just one example of how the song rapidly changes throughout its running time.
}}
A rapid series of rhythmic and harmonic changes introduces a pseudo-operatic midsection, which contains the bulk of the elaborate vocal multi-tracking, depicting the narrator's descent into hell. While the underlying pulse of the song is maintained, the dynamics vary greatly from bar to bar, from only Mercury's voice accompanied by a piano, to a multi-voice choir supported by drums, bass, piano and timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

. The choir effect was created by having May, Mercury, and Taylor sing their vocal parts continually for ten to twelve hours a day, resulting in 180 separate overdubs. These overdubs were then combined into successive submixes. According to Roger Taylor, the voices of May, Mercury and himself combined created a wide vocal range: "Brian could get down quite low, Freddie had a powerful voice through the middle, and I was good at the high stuff." The band wanted to create "a wall of sound
Wall of Sound
The Wall of Sound is a music production technique for pop and rock music recordings developed by record producer Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, California, during the early 1960s...

, that starts down and goes all the way up."{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} The band used the bell effect
Bell effect
The bell effect, also known colloquially as "bells", is a technique used in musical arrangement in which single notes of a chord are played in sequence by separate instruments which sustain their individual notes to allow the chord to be heard. It is, in effect, an arpeggio played by several...

 for lyrics "Magnifico" and "Let me go". Also, on "Let me go", Taylor singing the top section carries his note on further after the rest of the "choir" have stopped singing.

Lyrical references in this passage include Scaramouche
Scaramouche
Scaramouche is a historical novel by Rafael Sabatini, originally published in 1921.It was subsequently adapted into a play by Barbara Field and into feature films, first in 1923 starring Ramón Novarro, Scaramouche , and a remake in 1952 with Stewart Granger. A romantic adventure, Scaramouche tells...

, the fandango
Fandango
Fandango is a lively couple's dance, usually in triple metre, traditionally accompanied by guitars and castanets or hand-clapping . Fandango can both be sung and danced. Sung fandango is usually bipartite: it has an instrumental introduction followed by "variaciones"...

, Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

, Figaro
The Barber of Seville
The Barber of Seville, or The Futile Precaution is an opera buffa in two acts by Gioachino Rossini with a libretto by Cesare Sterbini. The libretto was based on Pierre Beaumarchais's comedy Le Barbier de Séville , which was originally an opéra comique, or a mixture of spoken play with music...

 and Bismillah
Bismillah
There are multiple uses of Bismillah :* Bismillah is first word of the Basmala phrase of Islam.* Bismillah , born in Oruzgan, Afghanistan, in 1952...

, as rival factions fight over the narrator's soul. Peraino calls the sequence both a "comic courtroom trial and a rite of passage
Rite of passage
A rite of passage is a ritual event that marks a person's progress from one status to another. It is a universal phenomenon which can show anthropologists what social hierarchies, values and beliefs are important in specific cultures....

 ... one chorus prosecutes, another defends, while the hero presents himself as meek though wily."{{Sfn|Peraino|2005|p=231}} The song's introduction is recalled with the chromatic side-slipping on "I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me." The section concludes with a full choral treatment of the lyric "Beelzebub
Beelzebub
Beelzebub -Religious meaning:Ba‘al Zəbûb is variously understood to mean "lord of flies", or "lord of the dwelling". Originally the name of a Philistine god, Beelzebub is also identified in the New Testament as Satan, the "prince of the demons". In Arabic the name is retained as Ba‘al dhubaab /...

 has a devil
Devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

 put aside for me!"
, on a block B{{Music chord. Roger Taylor tops the final chord with a falsetto
Falsetto
Falsetto is the vocal register occupying the frequency range just above the modal voice register and overlapping with it by approximately one octave. It is produced by the vibration of the ligamentous edges of the vocal folds, in whole or in part...

 B{{Music|flat}} in the fifth octave
Scientific pitch notation
Scientific pitch notation is one of several methods that name the notes of the standard Western chromatic scale by combining a letter-name, accidentals, and a number identifying the pitch's octave...

 (B{{Music|flat}}5).

Using the 24-track technology available at the time, the "opera" section took about three weeks to finish.{{Sfn|Chiu|2005}} Producer Roy Thomas Baker said "Every time Freddie came up with another 'Galileo', I would add another piece of tape to the reel."{{Sfn|Cunningham|1995}} Baker recalls that they kept wearing out the tape, which meant having to do transfers.{{Sfn|Chiu|2005}}

Hard rock/Heavy metal (4:07–4:56)


The operatic section leads into an aggressive hard rock
Hard rock
Hard rock is a loosely defined genre of rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock...

/heavy metal
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

 musical interlude with a guitar riff
RIFF
The Resource Interchange File Format is a generic file container format for storing data in tagged chunks. It is primarily used to store multimedia such as sound and video, though it may also be used to store any arbitrary data....

 written by Mercury. At 4:15, a double-tracked Mercury sings angry lyrics addressed to an unspecified "you", accusing him/her of betrayal and abuse and insisting "can't do this to me, baby" – which could be interpreted as a flashback
Flashback (narrative)
Flashback is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened before the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial backstory...

 to certain events that led to the earlier ballad section ("just killed a man"). Three ascending guitar runs follow. Mercury then plays a similar B{{Music|flat}} run on the piano, as the song builds up to the finale with a ritardando.

Outro (4:56–5:55)


After May plays ascending octaves of notes from the B{{Music|flat}} mixolydian mode (composed of the notes from the E{{Music|flat}} scale), the song then returns to the tempo and form of the introduction, initially in E{{Music|flat}} Major, before quickly modulating to C minor
C minor
C minor is a minor scale based on C, consisting of the pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. The harmonic minor raises the B to B. Changes needed for the melodic and harmonic versions of the scale are written in with naturals and accidentals as necessary.Its key signature consists of three flats...

, only to soon go through an abrupt short series of modulations, bringing it back to C minor
C minor
C minor is a minor scale based on C, consisting of the pitches C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. The harmonic minor raises the B to B. Changes needed for the melodic and harmonic versions of the scale are written in with naturals and accidentals as necessary.Its key signature consists of three flats...

 again in time for the final "nothing really matters" section. A guitar accompanies the chorus "ooh, ooh yeah, ooh yeah." A double-tracked twin guitar melody is played through an amplifier designed by John Deacon, affectionately nicknamed the "Deacy Amp
Deacy Amp
The Deacy Amp is a small, one-watt, roughly amplifier created by and named after Queen bassist John Deacon and used by guitarist Brian May. The amplifier produces a trumpet-like or orchestral sound when plugged into a guitar....

". Mercury's line "Nothing really matters..." appears again, "cradled by light piano arpeggios suggesting both resignation (minor tonalities) and a new sense of freedom in the wide vocal span."{{Sfn|Whiteley|2006|p=253}} After the line "nothing really matters" is repeated multiple times, the song finally concludes in the key of E{{Music|flat}} major. The last lyric, sung quietly, "Any way the wind blows" is followed by the striking of a gong
Gong
A gong is an East and South East Asian musical percussion instrument that takes the form of a flat metal disc which is hit with a mallet....

 which marks the ending of the song.

According to music scholar Judith Peraino, this final section adds "a level of complex resistance to the song's already charming subversion of macho rock and roll." This resistance is achieved through the "bohemian stance toward identity, which involves a necessarily changeable self-definition ("Any way the wind blows")."{{Sfn|Peraino|2005|p=232}} The final line, "Any way the wind blows", is followed by the quiet sound of a large tam-tam that finally expels the tension built up throughout the song.

Context


The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

commented that "the song's most distinct feature is the fatalistic lyrics". Mercury refused to explain his composition other than saying it was about relationships; the band is still protective of the song's secret.{{Sfn|Chiu|2005}} Brian May supports suggestions that the song contained veiled references to Mercury's personal traumas. He recalls "Freddie was a very complex person: flippant and funny on the surface, but he concealed insecurities and problems in squaring up his life with his childhood. He never explained the lyrics, but I think he put a lot of himself into that song."{{Sfn|Black|2002}} May, though, says the band had agreed that the core of a lyric was a private issue for the composer.{{Sfn|Chiu|2005}} In a BBC Three
BBC Three
BBC Three is a television network from the BBC broadcasting via digital cable, terrestrial, IPTV and satellite platforms. The channel's target audience includes those in the 16-34 year old age group, and has the purpose of providing "innovative" content to younger audiences, focusing on new talent...

 documentary about the making of "Bohemian Rhapsody", Roger Taylor maintains that the true meaning of the song is "fairly self-explanatory with just a bit of nonsense in the middle."{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}}

{{Quote box |quoted=true |bgcolor=#FFFFF0 |salign=center|quote=It's one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then make up their own minds as to what it says to them... "Bohemian Rhapsody" didn't just come out of thin air. I did a bit of research although it was tongue-in-cheek and mock opera. Why not?|source=—Freddie Mercury{{Sfn|Davis|1993|p=20}}|align=left|width=33%}}

However, when the band released a Greatest Hits cassette in Iran, a leaflet in Persian was included with translation and explanations (refers to a book published in Iran called "The March of the Black Queen" by Sarah Sefati and Farhad Arkani, which included the whole biography of the band and complete lyrics with Persian translation (2000)). In the explanation, Queen states that "Bohemian Rhapsody" is about a young man who has accidentally killed someone and, like Faust
Faust
Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend; a highly successful scholar, but also dissatisfied with his life, and so makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Faust's tale is the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical...

, sold his soul to the devil. On the night before his execution, he calls for God in Arabic, "Bismillah
Basmala
Basmala or Bismillah is an Arabic noun used as a collective name for the whole of the recurring Islamic phrase b-ismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīmi, It is sometimes translated as "In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful"...

", and with the help of angels, regains his soul from Shaitan.{{Sfn|BBC|2004a}}

Despite this, critics, both journalistic and academic, have speculated over the meaning behind the song's lyrics. Some believe the lyrics describe a suicidal murderer hunted by demons or depict events just preceding an execution. The latter explanation points to Albert Camus
Albert Camus
Albert Camus was a French author, journalist, and key philosopher of the 20th century. In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement, which was opposed to some tendencies of the Surrealist movement of André Breton.Camus was awarded the 1957...

's novel The Stranger
The Stranger (novel)
The Stranger or The Outsider is a novel by Albert Camus published in 1942. Its theme and outlook are often cited as examples of existentialism, though Camus did not consider himself an existentialist; in fact, its content explores various philosophical schools of thought, including absurdism, as...

, in which a young man confesses to an impulsive murder and has an epiphany before he is executed, as probable inspiration. Others believe the lyrics were only written to fit with the music, and have no meaning; Kenny Everett
Kenny Everett
Kenny Everett was an English comedian, radio DJ and television entertainer. Born Maurice James Christopher Cole, Everett is best known for his career as a radio DJ and for the Kenny Everett television shows.-Early life:...

 quoted Mercury as claiming the lyrics were simply "random rhyming nonsense".{{Sfn|Black|2002}}

Still others interpreted them as Mercury's way of dealing with personal issues.{{Sfn|Chiu|2005}} Music scholar Sheila Whiteley observes that Mercury reached a turning point in his personal life in the year he wrote "Bohemian Rhapsody".{{Sfn|Whiteley|2006|p=252}} He had been living with Mary Austin for seven years but had just embarked on his first gay love affair. She suggests that the song provides an insight into Mercury's emotional state at the time, "living with Mary ('Mamma', as in Mother Mary) and wanting to break away ('Mamma Mia let me go')."{{Sfn|Whiteley|2006|p=253}}

Release


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. According to producer Roy Thomas Baker, he and the band bypassed this corporate decision by playing the song for Capital Radio
Capital Radio
Capital London is a London based radio station which launched on 16 October 1973 and is owned by Global Radio. On 3 January 2011 it formed part of the nine station Capital radio network.- Pre-launch :...

 DJ Kenny Everett
Kenny Everett
Kenny Everett was an English comedian, radio DJ and television entertainer. Born Maurice James Christopher Cole, Everett is best known for his career as a radio DJ and for the Kenny Everett television shows.-Early life:...

: "we had a reel-to-reel copy but we told him he could only have it if he promised not to play it. 'I won't play it,' he said, winking..."{{Sfn|Cunningham|1995}} Their plan worked – Everett teased his listeners by playing only parts of the song. Audience demand intensified when Everett played the full song on his show 14 times in two days.{{Sfn|Chiu|2005}} 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.{{Sfn|Cunningham|1995}} The same weekend, Paul Drew, who ran the RKO stations in the States, heard the track on Everett's show in London. Drew managed to get a copy of the tape and started to play it in the States, which forced the hand of Queen's USA label, Elektra
Elektra Records
Elektra Records is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group. In 2004, it was consolidated into WMG's Atlantic Records Group. After five years of dormancy, the label was revived by Atlantic in 2009....

. In an interview with Sound on Sound
Sound on Sound
Sound on Sound is an independently-owned monthly music technology magazine published by SOS Publications Group, based in Cambridge, UK. The magazine includes product tests of electronic musical performance and recording devices, and interviews with industry professionals...

, Baker reflects that "it was a strange situation where radio on both sides of the Atlantic was breaking a record that the record companies said would never get airplay!"{{Sfn|Cunningham|1995}} Eventually the unedited single was released, with "I'm in Love with My Car" as the B-side.

The song became the 1975 UK Christmas number one, holding the top position for nine weeks.{{Sfn|Whiteley|2006|p=253}} "Bohemian Rhapsody" was the first song ever to get to number one twice with the same version,{{Sfn|BBC|2005}} and is also the only single to have been UK Christmas number one twice with the same version. The second was upon its re-release (as a double A-side single with "These Are the Days of Our Lives
These Are the Days of Our Lives
"These Are the Days of Our Lives" is a song by English rock band Queen. It was written largely by their drummer Roger Taylor, and is the eighth track on the band's 1991 album Innuendo. It is harmonically and structurally one of the simplest songs of the band's catalogue...

") in 1991 following Mercury's death, staying at number one for five weeks.

Across the ocean, the song also went to the high reaches of the charts. In the United States, the single was a success (although on a smaller scale from that of the UK release). The original single, released in early 1976, reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on radio play and sales; the tracking-week for sales begins on Monday and ends on Sunday, while the radio play tracking-week runs from Wednesday...

, while a re-release in 1992 (timed to tie in with the song's appearance in the hit film Wayne's World
Wayne's World (film)
Wayne's World is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris and starring Mike Myers in his film debut as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar, hosts of the Aurora, Illinois-based Public-access television cable TV show Wayne's World...

) hit number two. In a retrospective interview, Anthony DeCurtis
Anthony DeCurtis
Anthony DeCurtis is an American author and music critic, who has written for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Relix and other publications.-Career:...

 from Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

magazine explains the song's relatively poor performance in the US charts by saying that it's "the quintessential example of the kind of thing that doesn't exactly go over well in America".{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} Its comparatively long chart run of 24 weeks, however, did result in it being listed at number eighteen of the biggest hit singles of 1976 - higher than some No.1s of the year. The single was also certified gold for sales of over one million copies in the US. With the Canadian record-buying public, the single fared better, reaching number one in the RPM national singles chart on 1 May 1976.

Promotional video


Though some artists had made video clips
Music video
A music video or song video is a short film integrating a song and imagery, produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings...

 to accompany songs (including Queen themselves; for example, "Keep Yourself Alive
Keep Yourself Alive
"Keep Yourself Alive" is a song by English rock group Queen. Written by guitarist Brian May, it is the opening track on the band's debut album Queen . It was released as Queen's first single along with "Son and Daughter" as the B-side...

", "Seven Seas Of Rhye
Seven Seas of Rhye
"Seven Seas of Rhye" is a song by British rock group Queen. Written by Queen lead vocalist Freddie Mercury, it is the final track on both the group's debut album Queen and its follow-up Queen II . However, only a less-developed instrumental version was featured on the former...

", "Killer Queen" and "Liar" already had "pop promos", as they were known at the time), it was only after the success of "Bohemian Rhapsody" that it became regular practice for record companies to produce promotional videos for artists' single releases. These videos could then be shown on television shows, such as the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly from 1 January 1964 to 30 July 2006. After 25 December 2006 it became a radio program, now hosted by Tony Blackburn...

, without the need for the artist to appear in person. A promo video also allowed the artist to have their music broadcast and accompanied by their own choice of visuals, rather than dancers such as Pan's People
Pan's People
Pan's People were a British TV dance troupe, who are usually associated with the BBC TV music chart show Top of the Pops.In an era before pop videos, they danced to songs whose original artists were not available to perform them live...

. According to May, the video was produced so that the band could avoid miming on Top of the Pops, since they would have looked off miming to such a complex song.{{Sfn|Black|2002}} He also said that the band knew they would be set to appear at Dundee
Dundee
Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland and the 39th most populous settlement in the United Kingdom. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea...

's Caird Hall
Caird Hall
The Caird Hall is the principal concert auditorium in Dundee, Scotland.Built between 1914 and 1923 and named after its benefactor, the jute baron James Key Caird, the Caird Hall regularly hosts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra....

 on tour and unable to appear on the programme anyway.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} The video has been hailed as launching the MTV age.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}}

The band was signed to a company called Trillian, who supplied sports coverage for ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

. They hired one of their trucks and got it to Elstree Studios
Elstree Studios
"Elstree Studios" refers to any of several film studios that were based in the towns of Borehamwood and Elstree in Hertfordshire, England, since film production begun in 1927.-Name:...

, where the band were rehearsing for their tour. The video was directed by Bruce Gowers
Bruce Gowers
Bruce Gowers is an English television director and producer, best known for work on large-scale live music and event productions. He started his career in his native England where his landmark music video for Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" brought him international recognition leading to his...

, who had directed a video of the band's 1974 performance at the Rainbow Theatre in London, and was recorded by cameraman Barry Dodd and assistant director
Assistant director
The role of an Assistant director include tracking daily progress against the filming production schedule, arranging logistics, preparing daily call sheets, checking cast and crew, maintaining order on the set. They also have to take care of health and safety of the crew...

/floor manager
Floor manager
The Floor Manager is the Director's representative on the studio floor, and is responsible for giving instruction and direction to crew, cast and guests. It is closest to the role of an Assistant Director, as the job frequently entails barking orders to keep a production moving to schedule. The...

 Jim McCutcheon. The video was recorded in just four hours on 10 November 1975, at a cost of £4,500.{{Sfn|Hodkinson|2004|p=192}} The director said that the band was involved in the discussion of the video and the end result, and "was a co-operative to that extent, but there was only one leader."{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}}

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
Mick Rock
Mick Rock is a British photographer best known for his iconic shots of rock and roll legends such as Queen, David Bowie, Syd Barrett, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Joan Jett, Talking Heads, Roxy Music, Crossfade, Thin Lizzy, Motley Crue, and Blondie...

's cover photograph for their second album Queen II
Queen II
Queen II is the second album by British rock group Queen, released in March 1974. It was recorded at Trident Studios, London in August 1973 with co-producers Roy Thomas Baker and Robin Cable, and engineered by Mike Stone....

. The photo, inspired by a photograph of actress Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer.Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically. In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films...

, was the band's favourite image of themselves.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} The video then fades into them playing their instruments. In the opera section of the video, the scene reverts back 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
Gong
A gong is an East and South East Asian musical percussion instrument that takes the form of a flat metal disc which is hit with a mallet....

 in the manner of the trademark of the Rank Organisation
Rank Organisation
The Rank Organisation was a British entertainment company formed during 1937 and absorbed in 1996 by The Rank Group Plc. It was the largest and most vertically-integrated film company in Britain, owning production, distribution and exhibition facilities....

's Gongman
Gongman
The Gongman is a company trademark for the Rank Organisation. It was used as the introduction to all Rank films, many of which were created at their Pinewood Studios)....

, 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
Optical feedback
Optical feedback is the optical equivalent of acoustic feedback. A simple example is the feedback that occurs when a loop exists between an optical input, e.g., a video camera, and an optical output, e.g., a television screen or monitor...

, a glare analogous to audio feedback
Audio feedback
Audio feedback is a special kind of positive feedback which occurs when a sound loop exists between an audio input and an audio output...

. 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.{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} 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.

Critical reaction, acclaim and legacy


{{See also|List of Bohemian Rhapsody cover versions}}
Although the song has become one of the most revered in popular music history, some initial critical reaction was poor. Melody Maker
Melody Maker
Melody Maker, published in the United Kingdom, was, according to its publisher IPC Media, the world's oldest weekly music newspaper. It was founded in 1926 as a magazine targeted at musicians; in 2000 it was merged into "long-standing rival" New Musical Express.-1950s–1960s:Originally the Melody...

said that Queen "contrived to approximate the demented fury of the Balham Amateur Operatic Society performing The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance
The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The opera's official premiere was at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on 31 December 1879, where the show was well received by both audiences...

".{{Sfn|BBC|2004b}} The newspaper's critic Allan Jones
Allan Jones (editor)
Allan Jones is a British music journalist and editor.Following graduation, Jones took a job in the stock room of Hatchards on Piccadilly. While there he applied for a writing opening at the rock weekly Melody Maker with a letter that concluded, "Melody Maker needs a bullet up its arse. I’m the gun...

 heard only a "superficially impressive pastiche" of operatic styles.{{Sfn|Black|2002}}

Nevertheless the song has won numerous awards, and has been covered and parodied by many artists. In 1977, only two years after its release, the British Phonographic Industry
British Phonographic Industry
The British Phonographic Industry is the British record industry's trade association.-Structure:Its membership comprises hundreds of music companies including all four "major" record companies , associate members such as manufacturers and distributors, and hundreds of independent music companies...

 named "Bohemian Rhapsody" as the best British single of the period 1952–77.{{Sfn|Gracyk|2007|p=63}} It is a regular entry in greatest-songs polls, and it was named by the Guinness Book of Records in 2002 as the top British single of all time.{{Sfn|Chiu|2005}} In 2004, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

magazine placed this song in the 163rd spot on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" was the cover story of a special issue of Rolling Stone, issue number 963, published December 9, 2004, a year after the magazine published its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time"....

.{{Sfn|Rolling Stone|2004}} The song is also listed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

The song also came in tenth in a BBC World Service
BBC World Service
The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays...

 poll to find the world's favourite song.{{Sfn|BBC|2002}} In 2000 it came second to "Imagine
Imagine (song)
"Imagine" is a song written and performed by the English musician John Lennon. It is the opening track on his album Imagine, released in 1971...

" by John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

 in a Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 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.{{Sfn|Radio Veronica}} In 1999, the annual "Top 2000
Top 2000
The Top 2000 is a radio program on the Dutch radio station Radio 2, and has been broadcast since 1999. It is broadcast annually at the end of the year. Until 2008 the program started 0:00 on Boxing Day , and continuing non-stop until 24:00 at New Year's Eve...

" poll commenced to find the best songs ever made, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" has been ranked number one in all but two years (2005 and 2010 when it was number two).

In 2004 the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.{{Sfn|The Recording Academy|2004}} As of 2004, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the second most played song on British radio, in clubs and on jukeboxes collectively, after Procol Harum
Procol Harum
Procol Harum are a British rock band, formed in 1967, which contributed to the development of progressive rock, and by extension, symphonic rock. Their best-known recording is their 1967 single "A Whiter Shade of Pale"...

's "A Whiter Shade of Pale
A Whiter Shade of Pale
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" is the debut song by the British band Procol Harum, released 12 May 1967. The single reached number one in the UK Singles Chart on 8 June 1967, and stayed there for six weeks. Without much promotion, it reached #5 on the US charts, as well...

".{{Sfn|ClashMusic.com|2009}} On 30 September 2007 on the Radio 1 Chart Show, for BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...

's 40th birthday, it was revealed that "Bohemian Rhapsody" was the most played song since Radio 1's launch. In 2004, BBC Three
BBC Three
BBC Three is a television network from the BBC broadcasting via digital cable, terrestrial, IPTV and satellite platforms. The channel's target audience includes those in the 16-34 year old age group, and has the purpose of providing "innovative" content to younger audiences, focusing on new talent...

 featured the song as part of their The Story of... series of documentaries dedicated to specific songs. First broadcast in December 2004, the programme charted the history of the song, discussed its credentials, and took Roger Taylor and Brian May of Queen back to one of the studios in which it was recorded.

In 2004, when the "Greatest Hits" of Queen was released in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, the explanatory leaflet accompanying the cassette tape described the song saying that the hero, "killed a man" by accident, and sold his soul to the devil but regained his soul by invoking the name of God in Arabic (Bismillah) on the night of his execution.

Wayne's World


The song enjoyed renewed popularity in 1992 as part of the soundtrack to the film Wayne's World
Wayne's World (film)
Wayne's World is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris and starring Mike Myers in his film debut as Wayne Campbell and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar, hosts of the Aurora, Illinois-based Public-access television cable TV show Wayne's World...

. The film's director, Penelope Spheeris
Penelope Spheeris
Penelope Spheeris is an American director, producer and screenwriter. She is best known as a documentary film director whose works include the trilogy titled The Decline of Western Civilization...

, 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. However, Mike Myers
Mike Myers (actor)
Michael John "Mike" Myers is a Canadian actor, comedian, screenwriter, and film producer of British parentage...

 insisted that the song fit the scene.{{Sfn|Gracyk|2007|p=64}}

According to music scholar Theodore Gracyk, by 1992, when the film was released, even "classic rock" stations had stopped playing the 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."{{Sfn|Gracyk|2007|p=63}} Helped by the song, the soundtrack album of the film was a major hit.{{Sfn|Gracyk|2007|p=65}}

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
MTV Video Music Award for Best Video from a Film
The MTV Video Music Award for Best Video from a Film was first awarded in 1987, recognizing the best videos whose songs were a part of a movie soundtrack or featured in a film. As time went on, though, music videos taken from movie soundtracks became more rare, and so the last of this award was...

".{{Sfn|Rock and Roll Hall of Fame}} 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." In the final scene of said video, a pose of the band from the video from the original "Bohemian Rhapsody" clip morphs
Morphing
Morphing is a special effect in motion pictures and animations that changes one image into another through a seamless transition. Most often it is used to depict one person turning into another through technological means or as part of a fantasy or surreal sequence. Traditionally such a depiction...

 into an identically posed 1985 photo, first featured in the "One Vision
One Vision
"One Vision" is a song written and recorded by the rock band Queen, first released as a single in November 1985 and then included on their 1986 album A Kind of Magic...

" video. This re-release (with "The Show Must Go On
The Show Must Go On (Queen song)
"The Show Must Go On" is a song by English rock band Queen, featured as the twelfth and final track on their 1991 album Innuendo. It is credited to Queen, but written primarily by Brian May. The song chronicles the effort of Freddie Mercury continuing to perform despite approaching the end of his...

" as a double-A side) hit #2 in the US in 1992, 16 years after the original 1976 US release peaked at #9.{{Sfn|Peraino|2005|p=230}}

Live performances


{{Listen
|filename =BoRhap-OperatoRockLive.ogg
|title ="Bohemian Rhapsody" live at Milton Keynes Bowl (1982)
|description =In live performances, the operatic segment would be played from tape as it was too complicated for the band to perform live. As the heavy rock segment followed, the band would return to the stage.
}}

The a cappella opening was too complex to perform live, so Mercury tried various ways of introducing the song. When the song "Mustapha" became a live favourite, Mercury would often sub in that song's a cappella opening, which was easier to reproduce live as it was only one voice. During the Hot Space Tour
Hot Space Tour
The Hot Space Tour was a concert tour by the English rock band Queen, supporting their 1982 album Hot Space. A DVD documenting the band's June 5, 1982 concert at the Milton Keynes Bowl outside London was released in 2004 as Queen on Fire - Live at the Bowl...

, and occasionally at other times, Mercury would do a piano improvisation (generally the introduction to "Death on Two Legs") that ended with the first notes of the song. Often, the preceding song would end, and Mercury would sit at the piano, say a quick word and start playing the ballad section.

Initially following the song's release, the operatic middle section proved a problem for the band. Because of extensive multi-tracking, it could not be performed on stage. The band did not have enough of a break between the Sheer Heart Attack
Sheer Heart Attack Tour
The Sheer Heart Attack Tour was the first world tour by the British rock band Queen, and supported their 1974 album Sheer Heart Attack.The supporting bands consisted of: Styx, Kansas, Hustler, and Mahogany Rush....

 and A Night at the Opera
A Night At The Opera Tour
A Night at the Opera Tour was a concert tour in 1975 by Queen to promote their album A Night at the Opera. It spanned from 1975 to 1976 and covered Europe, the United States, Japan, and Australia.-Setlist:# "Procession"...

 tours to find a way to make it work live, so they split the song into three sections that were played throughout the night. The opening and closing ballads were played as part of a medley, with "Killer Queen
Killer Queen (song)
"Killer Queen" is a song by British rock band Queen. Written by pianist and lead singer Freddie Mercury, it featured on their 1974 album Sheer Heart Attack, and also appears on the band's compilation album, Greatest Hits. When released as a single, "Killer Queen" was Queen's breakthrough hit,...

" and "March of the Black Queen" taking the place of the operatic and hard rock sections.

Starting with the A Day at the Races Tour
A Day At The Races Tour
The A Day at the Races Tour was a concert tour by the British rock band Queen, and supported their late 1976 album A Day at the Races.This tour was the first to use the song Somebody to Love and many others. Plus Brighton Rock and Bohemian Rhapsody were performed in full for the first time...

 in 1977, the band adopted their lasting way of playing the song live. The opening ballad would be played on stage, and after Brian May's guitar solo, the lights would go down, the band would leave the stage, and the operatic section would be played from tape. A blast of pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics is the science of using materials capable of undergoing self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions for the production of heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound...

 after Roger Taylor's high note on the final "for me" would announce the band's return for the hard rock section and closing ballad. Queen played the song in this form all through the Magic Tour of 1986. This style was also used for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, with Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

 singing the opening ballad and then after the taped operatic section, Axl Rose
Axl Rose
W. Axl Rose is an American singer-songwriter and musician. He is the lead vocalist and only remaining original member of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he enjoyed great success and recognition in the late 1980s and early 1990s, before disappearing from the public eye for several years...

 singing the hard rock section. John and Rose sang the closing ballad part together in a duet.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" was performed by Queen + Paul Rodgers
Queen + Paul Rodgers
Queen + Paul Rodgers was a supergroup collaboration between Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen and Paul Rodgers...

 throughout their tours, accompanied by a video of Mercury.{{Sfn|Daily Telegraph|2008}} Footage from the Live at Wembley '86
Live at Wembley '86
Live at Wembley '86 is a double compact disc live album by English rock band Queen.It was recorded live on Saturday July 12, 1986 during the Magic Tour at Wembley Stadium in London, England and released on May 26, 1992...

was used for the 2005/6 tour, and the 1981 Montreal performance
Queen Rock Montreal
Queen Rock Montreal is a live album by English rock band Queen. It was released in 2007 as a double CD / triple vinyl on 28 October in Australia, 29 October in Europe, and 30 October in the US....

 used for the Rock the Cosmos Tour
Rock the Cosmos Tour
The Rock The Cosmos Tour was the second and last concert tour by Queen + Paul Rodgers, promoting their first and only studio album "The Cosmos Rocks". The opening date was recorded for a DVD release. which was released on 15 June 2009. The tour included one of the largest open air concerts in...

. As with the Queen tours, the band went backstage for the operatic section, which was accompanied by a video tribute to Freddie Mercury. When the hard rock section began, the lights came back up to the full band on stage, including Rodgers, who took over lead vocals. Rodgers duetted with the recording of Mercury for the "outro" section, allowing the audience to sing the final "Nothing really matters to me", while the taped Mercury took a bow for the crowd. Rodgers would then repeat the line, and the final line ("Any way the wind blows") was delivered with one last shot of Mercury smiling at the audience. Commenting upon this staging, Brian May says that they "had to rise to the challenge of getting Freddie in there in a way which gave him his rightful place, but without demeaning Paul in any way. It also kept us live and 'present', although conscious and proud of our past, as we logically should be."{{Sfn|Chiu|2005}}

Weekly charts

Chart (1975) Peak
position
UK|1
|artist=Queen|song=Bohemian Rhapsody|date=20 December 1975}}
Chart (1976) Peak
position
Canada (RPM 100
RPM (magazine)
RPM was a Canadian music industry publication that featured song and album charts for Canada. The publication was founded by Walt Grealis in February 1964, supported through its existence by record label owner Stan Klees. RPM ceased publication in November 2000.RPM stood for "Records, Promotion,...

)
1
Dutch100|1
|artist=Queen|song=Bohemian Rhapsody}}
New Zealand|1
|artist=Queen|song=Bohemian Rhapsody}}
Billboardhot100|9
|artist=Queen|song=Bohemian Rhapsody|artistid=5473|date=1976}}
Chart (1992) Peak
position
Billboardhot100|2|1992
|artist=Queen|song=Bohemian Rhapsody|artistid=5473|date=9 May 1992}}

{{col-2}}

Year-end charts

Chart (1975) Position
UK Singles{{citation needed|date=November 2011}} 22
Chart (1976) Position
UK Singles{{citation needed|date=November 2011}} 35
US Billboard Hot 100 18
Chart (1991) Position
UK Singles 2
Chart (1992) Position
UK Singles{{citation needed|date=November 2011}} 15
US Billboard Hot 100 39

Decade-end charts

Chart (1970–79) Position
UK Singles 7
Chart (1990–99) Position
UK Singles{{citation needed|date=November 2011}} 23


{{col-end}}

Queen comments on the record


{{cquote|I'm going to shatter some illusions, it was just one of those pieces I wrote for the album: just writing my batch of songs. In its early stages I almost rejected it, but then it grew. We started deciding on a single about halfway through. There were a few contenders - we were thinking of The Prophets Song at one point - but then 'Bohemian Rhapsody' seemed the one. There was a time when the others wanted to chop it around a bit, but I refused. If it was going to be released, it would be in its entirety. We knew it was very risky, but we had so much confidence in that song - I did anyway. I felt, underneath it all, that if it was successful it would earn a lot of respect. People were all going, You're joking, they'll never play it, you'll only hear the first few bars and then they'll fade it out. We had numerous rows. EMI were shocked - A six-minute single? You must be joking! The same in America - Oh, you just got away with it in Britain.|25px|245px|Freddie Mercury}}
{{cquote|When we finished the album, the Night at the Opera album, that was the track on it that we thought we were gonna release as a single in England first. And when we released it in England we didn't necessarily think it'd be released in America, cause we know even over here, you know, the AM tastes are even more (hesitates) stricter. Anyway we did have thoughts about even in England, perhaps editing it down at all, but we listened to it over and over again and there was no way we could edit it. We tried a few ideas, but if you edited it, you always lost some part of the song, so we had to leave it all in. And luckily it took off anyway.|25px|25px|John Deacon}}

Personnel

  • Freddie Mercury
    Freddie Mercury
    Freddie Mercury was a British musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range...

    : lead vocal, piano, accompaniment vocals
  • Brian May
    Brian May
    Brian Harold May, CBE is an English musician and astrophysicist most widely known as the guitarist and a songwriter of the rock band Queen...

    : lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals
  • John Deacon
    John Deacon
    John Richard Deacon is a retired English multi-instrumentalist and song writer, best known as the bassist for the rock band Queen. Of the four members of the band, he was the last to join and also the youngest, being only 19 years old when he was recruited by the other members of the band...

    : bass guitar
  • Roger Taylor
    Roger Meddows-Taylor
    Roger Meddows Taylor , known as Roger Taylor, is a British musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the drummer, backing vocalist and occasional lead vocalist of British rock band Queen. As a drummer he is known for his "big" unique sound and is considered one of...

    : drums, timpani, gong, backing vocals

External links


{{S-start}}
{{Succession box
| before = "D.I.V.O.R.C.E.
D.I.V.O.R.C.E.
"D.I.V.O.R.C.E." is a 1975 UK number-one single by Scottish folk singer and comedian Billy Connolly. A comedy song, it reached #1 for one week in November 1975 and was one of the few songs of its genre to reach this milestone....

" by Billy Connolly
Billy Connolly
William "Billy" Connolly, Jr., CBE is a Scottish comedian, musician, presenter and actor. He is sometimes known, especially in his native Scotland, by the nickname The Big Yin...


| title = UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

 number-one single
| years = 29 November 1975 – 30 January 1976
| after = "Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia (song)
"Mamma Mia" is a song from ABBA's 3rd album, ABBA, written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus & Stig Anderson, with the lead vocals shared by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The song "Mamma Mia" is a common song used in bands or orchestras...

" by ABBA
ABBA
ABBA was a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1970 which consisted of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog...


}}
{{Succession box
| before = "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" is the first single from British musician Elton John's 1974 album Caribou; it was released that year during the latter half of May in the United Kingdom, and on 10 June in the United States.-Lyrics and music:...

" by George Michael
George Michael
George Michael is a British musician, singer, songwriter and record producer who rose to fame in the 1980s when he formed the pop duo Wham! with his school friend, Andrew Ridgeley...

 and Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...


| title = UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

 number-one single
| years = 15 December 1991 – 18 January 1992
| after = "Goodnight Girl
Goodnight Girl
"Goodnight Girl" is the third single from Wet Wet Wet's fourth studio album, High on the Happy Side. It was released on 23 December 1991, and was the second of the band's three UK number-one singles , but the only one to be self-penned...

" by Wet Wet Wet
Wet Wet Wet
Wet Wet Wet are a Scottish pop rock band that formed in the 1980s. They scored a number of hits in the British charts and around the world. The band is composed of Marti Pellow , Tommy Cunningham , Graeme Clark and Neil Mitchell...


}}
{{Succession box
| before = "Imagine
Imagine (song)
"Imagine" is a song written and performed by the English musician John Lennon. It is the opening track on his album Imagine, released in 1971...

" by John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...


| title = Irish Singles Chart
Irish Singles Chart
The Irish Singles Chart is Ireland's music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by the Irish Recorded Music Association and compiled on behalf of the IRMA by Chart-Track. Chart rankings are based on sales, which are compiled through over-the-counter retail data captured...

 number-one single
| years = 18 December 1975 – 30 January 1976
| after = "Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia (song)
"Mamma Mia" is a song from ABBA's 3rd album, ABBA, written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus & Stig Anderson, with the lead vocals shared by Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The song "Mamma Mia" is a common song used in bands or orchestras...

" by ABBA
ABBA
ABBA was a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1970 which consisted of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog...


}}
{{Succession box
| before = "Convoy
Convoy (song)
"Convoy" is a 1975 novelty song performed by C. W. McCall that became a number-one song on both the country and pop charts in the US. Written by McCall and Chip Davis, the song spent six weeks at number one on the country charts and one week at number one on the pop charts...

" by CW McCall
| title = Australian Kent Music Report
Kent Music Report
The Kent Music Report was a weekly record chart of Australian music singles and albums which was compiled by music enthusiast David Kent from May 1974 through to 1998...

 number-one single
| years = 22 March – 4 April 1976
| after = "Fernando
Fernando (song)
"Fernando" is a song by the Swedish pop group ABBA. It was the group's first non-album single and was released in November 1975 through Polar Music. Lead vocals were sung by Anni-Frid Lyngstad...

" by ABBA
ABBA
ABBA was a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1970 which consisted of Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog...


}}
{{Succession box
| before = "Lonely Night (Angel Face)
Lonely Night (Angel Face)
"Lonely Night " is a song written by Neil Sedaka, who first recorded the song for his 1975 album, The Hungry Years. The following year, the song was a hit single for Captain & Tennille, for whom Sedaka had written the duo's hit single, "Love Will Keep Us Together"...

" by Captain & Tennille
Captain & Tennille
Captain & Tennille are American pop music recording artists who achieved chart success from 1975 to 1980. The duo consists of husband and wife duo "Captain" Daryl Dragon , and Cathryn Antoinette "Toni" Tennille . They are best known for their singles "Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Do That to Me...


| title = Canadian RPM
RPM (magazine)
RPM was a Canadian music industry publication that featured song and album charts for Canada. The publication was founded by Walt Grealis in February 1964, supported through its existence by record label owner Stan Klees. RPM ceased publication in November 2000.RPM stood for "Records, Promotion,...

number-one single
| years = 1–8 May 1976
| after = "Boogie Fever
Boogie Fever
"Boogie Fever" is the title of a song recorded by Los Angeles, California-based R&B group The Sylvers, from their 1975 album Showcase. Their most lucrative single, it reached number one in the U.S...

" by The Sylvers
The Sylvers
The Sylvers were a popular R&B/soul and disco family group during the 1970s. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, the family would later relocate to Watts, California.- Beginnings :...


}}
{{S-end}}
{{Queen}}
{{Queen singles}}
{{UK Christmas No. 1s in the 1970s|song}}
{{UK Christmas No. 1s in the 1990s}}
{{Good article}}
{{Use dmy dates|date=May 2011}}
{{Use British English|date=August 2010}}