Could any compendium of 1970s music be considered complete with this gem by Freddie Mercury and Company? I think not.
I will readily admit this song makes zero sense to me, yet I know every note and every word of it by heart. It has to be one of the most unique songs in the entire history of music. I did a little research and found out that lots of people have plenty of ideas about the subject matter and/or the reasoning behind the lyrics. Freddie himself is said to have told someone that it was just a bunch of “random rhyming nonsense”, which I’m inclined to believe.
It had something for everyone: a little ballad, a little guitar solo, a little opera, and was a looooong for a pop/rock song at more than 6 minutes. Queen recorded layer upon layer of vocal tracks and stacked them so it sounded like a huge choir. And they made what was then called a “pop promo” video to promote the song. Nowadays we call that a “music video”. Clearly they were ahead of their time, but I think we already knew that.
Did you know Freddie Mercury had roots in India? His father worked for the British government in India and then in Zanzibar (Tanzania). Freddie had piano lessons as a child but never any formal vocal training. That’s pretty surprising when you consider he had a four-octave range!
The song enjoyed a resurgence when it was featured in Wayne’s World in the early 90s, but truly it’s never been very far away from the world’s musical consciousness. I bet you know every word, don’t you? My favorite part is the piano part that starts right after the a cappella intro, which by the way is all Freddie Mercury’s voice laid track over track (the other guys are lip syncing). What’s yours?