On July 13, 1973, the first album of the band Queen was released under the EMI label. Most of the songs were written by the band members — Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor.
Queen's songs have long been considered rock classics, and the band has become a legend of world music. Queen has released fifteen studio albums, five live albums and numerous compilations. Eighteen albums of the band occupied the first places in the charts of different countries. Oueen's concert performances were also recognized as one of the brightest and most significant in the history of rock. Let's remember the most iconic Queen songs.
Bohemian Rhapsody, a song from the album A Night at the Opera, was written by Freddie Mercury in 1975. The song has an unusual musical form. It can be divided into six parts that are different in style, which are not divided into verses and choruses and represent separate musical directions: opera and ballad, a cappella singing and heavy metal.
Usually the Queen group came up with a lot in the studio, but this whole composition was completely ready in Mercury's head. He wrote out the entire sequence on the notes he had taken from his father at work, and spread them out on the piano to demonstrate to the group. (From an interview with Brian May to Q magazine)
At the time of the album's release, this song was the most expensive in the history of recording: it took three weeks of rehearsals for the whole band, more than three weeks of recording and editing in five different studios.
The operatic part of the composition is performed by only three people, members of Queen: Brian May, Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor, whose voices just overlap the necessary vocal range from May's rather low notes to Taylor's high ones. To create the effect of a large choir, their voices are duplicated and mounted many times, so that the final recording consists of 180 different pieces. In 1975, only analog 24-track equipment was available to them, so the mixing was carried out sequentially in several stages, in some places the number of stages reached up to eight. The tape was worn out to such an extent that it was possible to look at the lumen through it, this required the creation of additional copies. The whole process took three weeks, the musicians sang for 10-12 hours a day.
No one knows exactly what the meaning of the words of this song is and whether there is any at all. Freddie Mercury, the author of "Bohemian Rhapsody", never explained this to anyone. Brian May believes that the text contains some personal experiences. Although radio host Kenny Everett says that Mercury once called the text "rhyming nonsense".
This song has been at the top of the UK charts twice: in 1975 (when the single was released, it stayed there for nine weeks) and in 1991 (when Freddie Mercury died, a reissue of "Bohemian Rhapsody" was released along with the song These Are the Days of Our Lives). This is the first and only case so far when a song in the same version has been in the first place twice (both times, moreover, at Christmas).
We Will Rock You (translated from English. "We'll Rock You" — is a song from the album News of the World.
This song was written by May after a concert at Bingley Hall, in the English city of Birmingham. That evening, the audience unexpectedly actively sang along to every Queen song, which was completely unplanned and led the musicians into confusion: the band always wanted to be listened to and listened to very carefully. But that evening, May and Mercury, discussing what had happened, realized that it was no longer possible to fight with this and they had to somehow accept the fact that at the concert the audience takes the same part in the show as the band. And give the people something to sing. In the evening after the concert, Mercury wrote We Are the Champions, and May woke up the next morning with a rhythm in his head.
The song is known for its catchy rhythm — two kicks and one hand clap. This accompaniment opens the song and lasts until the very end. The song is also unique in that it plays only one musical instrument — an electric guitar. May enters it after the third verse during the second repetition of "We will, we will rock you". Originally, the song was supposed to have the words "We will beat you", but Mercury said that it sounds stupid, and replaced the words.
We Are the Champions. The song was included in the album News of the World (1977). Written by Freddie Mercury. As a single, it was released with another famous song on the "B" side — We Will Rock You — and became the sports anthem of millions of fans around the world. Queen often performed them as the final ones at their concerts.
There are very high notes in the vocal part. At concerts, Freddie Mercury often conceded the most difficult pieces to Roger Taylor, who has just a high, raspy voice.
The video clip for the song is a performance of the band in a concert format, but this is not a concert recording of the song. The band invited their fans to play the role of viewers, and this is the first time in the music industry when the band invited their fans to create a video clip. After the shooting, the musicians played a small concert for their fans as a reward.
In this video, the image of the band continued to change. The long hair of bassist Deacon and drummer Taylor disappeared. They are dressed much more simply than before — in dark shirts. May's style has remained the same. Mercury is dressed in a black and white leotard. This is the last video clip where Mercury appears in tights, not counting clips that use old videos.
Radio Ga Ga. In the original version, the song was called Radio Ca-Ca, not Radio Ga Ga. Actually, this phrase was uttered by a small child of Roger Taylor. Taylor wrote this song as material for his solo album, but the rest of the band members saw a potential hit, added the words and instrumental parts. In particular, by changing the name to Ga Ga.
Ga Ga — in English, the image of the sounds of babies trying to speak (like the Russian "agu"). Gaga is also used in the meaning of " crazy / madly in love (with something)", and as an epithet for a person who behaves like a baby or an old man who has lost his mind.
The video for the song uses footage from the legendary German science fiction film "Metropolis" (1927). More precisely, one of the attempts to restore the lost film, which was undertaken by Giorgio Moroder. In his version, Mercury's song Love Kills was played, and in return the band received these shots. But the broadcast rights had to be bought from Communist Germany.
In the clip, you can watch the scene when the group flies on a fantastic device against the background of shots of skyscrapers from Metropolis: the author of the song, Roger Taylor, controls the car by pulling the lever.
When this song hit the charts, each of the members of the Queen group had at least one song that hit the top ten of the charts.
I Want to Break Free (eng. "I Want to Be Free" — is a song from the album The Works. It was written by John Deacon in 1983 under the impression of men's views on the women's liberal movement. The song is largely known for its video clip, for which all the band's musicians dressed up in women's clothing, parodying the UK's longest TV series Coronation Street.
At concerts, when this song was performed, Freddie often appeared in a costume from the video clip of the song — in a magnificent wig, in a pink blouse and with a false breast. Gradually, as the song progressed, he got rid of these things. However, such a stage image in some countries did not appeal to the public. At a concert in Rio de Janeiro, the audience threw stones at the group when the singer appeared in this form, and he had to immediately remove everything unnecessary from himself.
There are three versions of the song: the album version lasts 3 minutes and 20 seconds and was released only on the album The Works.
The second version of the single lasts 4 minutes and 21 seconds. It differs from the album version by the presence of an introduction and a longer synthesizer solo.
The third, extended version lasts 7 minutes and 16 seconds. It differs from the single version with a longer introduction, which includes the second part of the solo, and a longer ending, extended to 6: 04. At the end of this part, first the electric guitar stops playing, then the bass guitar. After 6: 04, other songs of the band from the album The Works are played.
The video clip for the song is one of the most famous clips of the band. Filming took place on March 22 and May 4, 1984, 100 thousand British pounds were spent on them. In the video, Mercury portrays a housewife who wants to "break free" from her life, May also looks like a housewife, but in the video his role is more calm compared to the role of a singer. Deacon appeared in the image of a conservative elderly woman, and Taylor appeared in the role of a schoolgirl who, like Mercury in the video, wants a different life. This idea belongs to Taylor. He commented that the band had shot serious, epic videos before, and now they wanted to make a little joke and show that they can laugh at themselves.
In the middle of the video clip, Mercury appears in the image of Nijinsky's faun. He performs some choreographic numbers with the Royal Ballet of London. Especially for these scenes, Mercury put on a spotted leotard, shaved off his famous mustache and made himself pointed ears.
The choreographer of the video, Wayne Eagling, later said: "During the filming, Mercury worked as a professional of the highest standard. Freddie has long had an image of the faun Nijinsky playing the pipe in his head. The shooting took a lot of effort, especially the episode where he rolled over the dancers. But he liked the process of filming. It was very easy to work with him, and he treated everything with great responsibility. Freddie was a brilliant professional."
The clip was banned from being shown on the American channel MTV, but it was well received in the UK.
Who Wants to Live Forever (eng. "Who Wants to Live Forever" — is a song from the album A Kind of Magic. Written by Brian May.
The song was written for the movie "Highlander" with Christopher Lambert in the title role. The film's director, Russell Mulcahy, later admitted that he dreamed of collaborating with the band Queen and could not imagine who else could cope with such a task. Before starting work, all the band members watched a 45-minute version of"Highlander". Brian May was inspired by the scene in which Connor MacLeod, played by Lambert, takes his dying wife in his arms. On the way home, he made sketches of the future song, which eventually sounded in this episode of "The Highlander", and even later was included in some parts of the series "The Highlander", which tells about the life of Duncan MacLeod, Connor MacLeod's brother.
The song was recorded with the participation of the symphony orchestra of Michael Kamen, who also worked on the music for"Highlander". In" Highlander", Freddie Mercury sings the whole song, and on the record A Kind of Magic, the first verse and a few more lines are performed by Brian May.
A distinctive feature of the song is that a symphony orchestra takes part in it. And the fact that all the musicians do not play their own instruments — for example, John Deacon performs his part on the double bass, Roger Taylor - on symphonic drums, and Brian May - on the organ.
There are two video clips for the song. The first was filmed in a warehouse in London's East End. The National Philharmonic Orchestra and forty choristers were involved, and hundreds of candles were burning in the room.
The second clip included various scenes from the movie "Highlander".
The Miracle (English "Miracle"). The song was released in November 1989, the author of the music and words is Freddie Mercury. In the video, several boys play the roles of the band's musicians. The boy in the role of Freddie Mercury performs in his various images: in a yellow leather jacket from the Magic Tour performances; in the image from the Live Aid concert; in a leather suit, cap and black opaque glasses; in a checkered leotard-the image of the 70s. Mercury himself and the whole band appear at the end of the clip.
For The Miracle video, smaller copies of the original Queen costumes were sewn, and shortly before the shooting, a costume rehearsal with light was held, intended for the producer and cameramen. In addition, this was the first time that the other musicians saw Freddie's idea finally materialized.
When the boys first appeared on the playground from the dressing room, the effect exceeded all expectations. They didn't even have to start moving to the music, they were already true clones of Brian, Roger, Freddie and John! Brian had a culture shock, and Freddie exclaimed: "Damn it, I shouldn't have told the press that The Miracle tour won't take place! We will send THEM on tour instead of us!" The boys, who were shy at first, very soon got into the taste and brilliantly withstood quite grueling rehearsals and three shooting days. On the first day, the final episode was filmed, in which the presence of musicians was required. Ross McCall, Freddie's "double", got a unique opportunity to adopt the features of Mercury's stage choreography under his direct supervision! This gave Ross confidence in the next two days when shooting more complex episodes, where he was already a full solo with his "colleagues". Later, Ross admitted that after such a deep immersion in the image, he felt like half of Freddie Mercury for a long time.
Innuendo (eng. "Insinuation", "Hint") is a song written by the entire band Queen, although most of it was composed by Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor. The length of the song is six and a half minutes — this is one of the longest Queen songs.
The video clip made for the song is one of the most famous and original clips in the history of music.
Segments of the video clips were stylized as animation: Freddie Mercury was drawn in the style of Leonardo da Vinci, Brian May — Victorian engravings, Roger Taylor was stylized as the work of Jackson Pollock, and John Deacon - as the work of Pablo Picasso.
Also, when creating the clip, plasticine men, unique dolls, terrible shots of war, an airplane crash, an epidemic, an invasion of locusts and an atomic explosion were used in contrast with the progressive and original drawings of Jeanne Isodore, Spanish dances, dances of plasticine men.
The song has an element of folk — a Spanish guitar part in the middle of the song, played by the guitarist of the band Yes, Steve Howe. According to Brian May, " Spanish motifs are assumed from the very beginning of the song; these little riffs, somewhat similar to boleros."
Innuendo became the band's third song to reach the top spot of the UK chart after Bohemian Rhapsody and Under Pressure.
I'm Going Slightly Mad (from English — "I'm going Slightly Mad") is the second entry in the 1991 album Innuendo. Written by Freddie Mercury.
The video was shot in February 1991, by which time Mercury's health had seriously deteriorated. The video — like all the other videos of the Innuendo album made by Rudy Dolezel and Hannes Rozzacher from DoRo Production-shows the band members dressed unusually and behaving very strangely.
I'm Going Slightly Mad is the latest Queen video, which contains a significant creative contribution from Mercury. Although Freddie was already very ill at that time, in I'm Going Slightly Mad he is quite mobile, artistic, emotional.
"I wanted to make the video as memorable as possible. I've always wanted to make a video with a gorilla and a group of penguins. A little bit of Queen madness, " Freddie Mercury said about the video clip.
This clip was shot in black and white (the only bright elements are the clownish cap on John Deacon's head and the colorful fabric thrown up by Mercury); the lighting effects of the clip and the ridiculous Mercury character, heavily made up and wearing a wig, helped to mask Freddie's sickly appearance.
At the American Film & Video Festival held in Chicago in 1991, the video clip I'm Going Slightly Mad took third place, the first place at the same festival was taken by another clip of Queen-Innuendo.
These Are the Days of Our Lives "These are the Days of Our Lives") is a song by Queen from the album Innuendo. "This is the best thing I wrote for Queen" - Roger Taylor, 1994. The song was originally released as a single for the United States along with Bijou on the "B" side on September 5, 1991 (on Freddie Mercury's 45th birthday). It was later re-released with the song Bohemian Rhapsody on the B-side " A " on December 9, 1991, 15 days after the death of Freddie Mercury. Before his death, Mercury ordered to give all the proceeds from this reissue to the Terrence Higgins AIDS Charity Foundation.
At first, the video was shot on color film. But after reviewing the video, the band decided not to show it in color format, so that the fans of the band would not see what Freddie Mercury was like then. His face was so haggard that it was impossible to recognize Freddie without makeup.
The original version of the video was shot on black and white film. The clip is not a plot-Freddie just sings in front of the camera. The image of the musicians changed: Freddie Mercury was dressed in a black shirt and a multicolored vest with drawings of cats, worn loose, and wide trousers that hid his extreme thinness, Roger Taylor - in the same clothes, and Brian May and John Deacon - in trousers and a white shirt.
The last words of the video became the singer's message to his fans: "I still love you "("I still love you [you]"). A second later, Freddie leaves the frame, never to return there again.
The Show Must Go On ("The show must go on"). May wrote this song specially for Freddie, as he was one of the few people who knew about his illness. From an interview with Brian May on CNN, January 9, 2000: "The Show Must Go On was written together, it's a Queen song, because in the end we decided to give everything the authorship of Queen. But you know, I consider this song my child, because most of the time Freddie was sitting here, and it was a great feeling, because at that time Freddie could not or did not want to express himself through poetry, except for a few cases. And he knew about this idea. He knew that this was a way to express all the things that we felt towards him. When I sang the main part for Freddie — and I mostly had to sing in falsetto, because I couldn't sing so high — I asked him: is everything all right? He drinks vodka, goes to the studio and does everything just perfectly. And I think this is one of the best vocal parts ever performed by Freddie-the original version of The Show Must Go On."
This song is perceived as an autobiographical song by Freddie Mercury, his farewell to the audience, despite the fact that the music and lyrics belong mainly to the pen of Brian May, who wrote this song for Freddie. "We experienced something that is difficult to talk about. But in the language of music, everything worked out for us" - Brian May.
By the time the single was released, Mercury's health had deteriorated so much that he could no longer take part in the filming of the video, so instead of new filming, it was decided to use the available material. The video series is not a chaotic set of films, but a complete and independent clip from the footage of the chronicle, concerts, interviews and other clips of Queen that were released from 1980 to 1991.
Brian May said that there was an unwritten rule in the band: not to discuss the meaning of its lyrics with the author of the song. Because there was something personal embedded in the text and it was considered indecent to get into it: the musicians believed that the author of the song knew what he was doing. Therefore, May never asked Mercury the question of what all those strange words in "Bohemian Rhapsody" mean. And only at the time of writing The Show Must Go On, Mercury sat down with May, and May invited him to participate in the creation of the text. According to May, they discussed " absolutely every word and what they wanted to say to them."