Song of the Day, May 20: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
May 20, 2016 1 Comment
Today’s song is the defining moment of a classic band. Queen’s A Night At the Opera features great contributions by all the band members. Singer Freddie Mercury began crafting Bohemian Rhapsody early in his career and finally found the right muse while working on Opera. The song is a stunning mix of genres, from a simple piano-and-vocal opening to a hard rock guitar solo to richly layered vocals. With no chorus and a running time of nearly six minutes, the track known as “Fred’s Thing” became a radio staple and a chart champ.
Queen spent over three weeks recording the song, overdubbing so many times that eighth-generations tapes were used in the final mix. The chorale vocal took multiple ten-hour days, blending Mercury, May, and Taylor’s voices into a powerful harmonic blast. By contrast, May’s solo was a single track, laid down once.
Despite concerns that radio wouldn’t touch it, EMI released the song as the album’s first single. It rocketed to the top of the UK chart, spending an amazing nine weeks at #1. It also became Queen’s first US Top Ten, peaking at #9. Re-released after featuring on the Wayne’s World soundtrack in 1992, it did even better, going all the way to #2. (Jump by Kriss Kross kept the band from logging a third US #1.)
Enjoy this magnificent classic track today.