Queen – We Will Rock You

I just saw a post about the album cover for News Of The World at The Press Music Reviews. It made me think of the first time I saw the cover of this album and when I heard this song.

QUEEN: News of the world LP Gatefold original UK 1977. We Will Rock You, We  Are The Champions etc - Yperano Records

In 3rd or maybe 4th-grade recess we were all going outside playing kickball. A friend of mine named Paul brought this album to school. We all looked at it and couldn’t stop talking about that cool robot cover. That was before I listened to it.

QUEEN News of the World Progressive Rock 12" LP Vinyl Album Gallery  #vinylrecordsNews Of The World

When I first heard We Will Rock You… the guitar solo is what stood out to me. It’s so simple yet catchy like many of Brian May’s solos…it was more like a hook. It turned into an anthem with We Are The Champions.  I made a vow that if I learned how to play guitar one day I would learn that solo. I forgot about that vow until a few years ago and I finally kept that promise to myself.

We Will Rock You was released as a double A-side single with We Are The Champions. Since the songs were released, the band has almost always used “Rock You” and “Champions” as a back-to-back encore number. The album peaked at #3 in the Billboard Album charts, #2 in Canada, #15 in New Zealand, and #4 in the UK in 1977.

On Queen’s next album, they had another set of songs disc jockeys played together. “Bicycle Race” and “Fat Bottomed Girls” were segued together on their album Jazz. Those songs were also released as a double A-side single.

While in the studio they had a visit from no other than Sid Vicious. He berated Freddie Mercury and asked him if he had brought ballet to the masses yet…referring to an earlier Mercury interview.  Freddie said “I called him, I dunno, Simon Ferocious or something, and just pushed him out. I think… yeah, I think we passed that test.” Roger Taylor later called Vicious a moron and idiot.

Brian May: There were two occasions that inspired it. One I’ve spoken about a lot, which was at Bingley Hall [near Birmingham, England] where the audience sang every song and then we went off stage and they carried on singing and then they sang [the de facto Liverpool F.C. football anthem] “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It was a transitional time in rock. You went to see Led Zeppelin and The Who, you’d bang your head but you didn’t sing along, that wasn’t cool. This was an invitation to sing along.

A light went off and I thought, “We shouldn’t fight this, we should embrace it!” People didn’t do that at the time at rock concerts. I thought, “How interesting — if I wrote something, the audience could participate it to the point that they could lead the band?” I went to sleep and woke up with “We Will Rock You” in my head. When you’re at a show you can hardly move, but you can stomp your feet and chant and clap and lead us.

Roger Taylor: “It only has one instrument apart from the voice: There’s no bass, no real drums — just feet and handclaps and only that guitar at the very end. It’s quite an odd song. It was designed as a sort of song for the audience, a joining-in song. But we never really envisioned that it would be taken up by sports. It’s one of delights of… I’ve spent my life being in a band, so it sidelined all sports. I reckoned I could meet more girls being in a band than playing soccer.”

The single was accompanied by a promo video that saw Queen perform the song in Roger Taylor’s back garden and We Will Rock You quickly became the opening number on the band’s winter tour.

We Will Rock You

Buddy, you’re a boy, make a big noise
Playing in the street, gonna be a big man someday
You got mud on your face, you big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place, singin’

We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you

Buddy, you’re a young man, hard man
Shouting in the street, gonna take on the world someday
You got blood on your face, you big disgrace
Waving your banner all over the place

We will, we will rock you, sing it
We will, we will rock you

Buddy, you’re an old man, poor man
Pleading with your eyes, gonna make you some peace someday
You got mud on your face, big disgrace
Somebody better put you back into your place

We will, we will rock you, sing it
We will, we will rock you, everybody
We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you

Queen – Killer Queen

This is one of the first Queen songs I heard. I saw Queen’s popularity in America peak in with The Game. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing Another One Bites the Dust. After that album, I didn’t hear as much from there here.  Now they are peaking again after the Bohemian Rhapsody movie.

The first single from Queen’s third album, Sheer Heart Attack was released in 1974. The song peaked at #12 in the Billboard 100, #2 in the UK, #15 in Canada.

Killer Queen was their first song to chart outside their native UK, where “Seven Seas of Rhye,” from their previous album Queen II. Their breakthrough to superstardom came with their next album, A Night At The Opera, which has the epic Bohemian Rhapsody.

The Sheer Heart Attack album cover was shot by Mick Rock, who did the famous cover of their previous album, Queen II. Freddie Mercury typically drove the visual direction of the band, but it was drummer Roger Taylor who came up with the concept for the Sheer Heart Attack cover.

Roger Taylor wanted them to look like they had been thrown up from a shipwreck on some distant shore,’ so that’s what ick Rock shot. He said they were soaking wet with a lot of spraying going on.

Queen — jacobthomas2: queen “sheer heart attack” photo... | Queen band,  Queen photos, Queen freddie mercury

Freddie Mercury :  “It’s about a high class call girl. I’m trying to say that classy people can be whores as well. That’s what the song is about, though I’d prefer people to put their interpretation upon it – to read into it what they like.”

Brian May: “This is a perfect pop record and one of Freddie’s greatest songs. It’s beautifully constructed and it’s also got one of the solos I’m most proud of.”
“Every slice of that record is pure pop perfection. Little things that visit once and come again, like the little bell in the second verse.”

From Songfacts

Regarding the line, “‘Let them eat cake’ she says, just like Marie Antoinette,” according to legend, Marie Antoinette (the Queen of France) said “Let them eat cake” after hearing how the peasants had no bread to eat. It’s more likely that the phrase was uttered by a French philosopher, not Antoinette. 

The Marie Antoinette quote has gone down in history as justification for the French Revolution. It demonstrates how out of touch with the common folk the ruling class had become. According to legend, when informed that there was no bread for the people to eat, she replied, oblivious, “then let them eat cake!” It is said, that enraged by this incredibly ignorant response, the people revolted. In the song, it is used to demonstrate at what level this high priced prostitute sells her wares. 

This was one of the first songs recorded at The Quadrangle, a studio opened at the Rockfield Studios complex in Wales in 1973. The following year, Queen recorded much of their Sheer Heart Attack album at Rockfield, and in 1975 they did the bulk of “Bohemian Rhapsody” there.

In Ben Elton’s musical We Will Rock You, Killer Queen is an evil matriarch who controls the music industry.
Nevertheless, he was a little reticent at first about releasing it: “I was a little hesitant; I was thinking are we setting ourselves as something very light?” He relates this back to how initially the band were very heavy and rock-orientated, and “Killer Queen” was a major departure from that sound.

Californian pop princess Katy Perry named one of her fragrances after this tune. She told Women’s Wear Daily the song’s lyrics really spoke to her when she was a teenager. “Killer Queen has been in my vocabulary since I was 15,” Perry said. “Freddie Mercury painted the lyrics of this woman who I wanted to be. She seemed very powerful, and she captivated a room when she walked in.”

This song was covered by Sum 41 for the 2005 Queen tribute album Killer Queen.

In the video game Guitar Hero 3, one of the unlockable guitars called the “Card Sharp Special” can have a finish called “Killer Queen.” In the description it says: ” Something about dynamite and laser beams? what’s that all about? and who am I to deny it?”, which is a reference to the song lyrics.

Killer Queen

She keeps her Moet et Chandon
In her pretty cabinet
“Let them eat cake”, she says
Just like Marie Antoinette
A built-in remedy
For Kruschev and Kennedy
At anytime an invitation
You can’t decline

Caviar and cigarettes
Well versed in etiquette
Extraordinarily nice

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind

Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?

To avoid complications
She never kept the same address
In conversation
She spoke just like a baroness
Met a man from China
Went down to Geisha Minah
Then again incidentally
If you’re that way inclined

Perfume came naturally from Paris (naturally)
For cars she couldn’t care less
Fastidious and precise

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind

Drop of a hat she’s as willing as
Playful as a pussy cat
Then momentarily out of action
Temporarily out of gas
To absolutely drive you wild, wild
She’s all out to get you

She’s a Killer Queen
Gunpowder, gelatine
Dynamite with a laser beam
Guaranteed to blow your mind

Recommended at the price
Insatiable an appetite
Wanna try?
You wanna try

Queen – Fat Bottom Girls

I first heard this song in the seventies and then owned it when I got Queen’s greatest hits and I wore the grooves out in the vinyl. The guitar tone and Freddie’s voice are perfect.

This was released as a double A-side single with “Bicycle Race.” The songs ran together on the album, and were often played that way by radio stations. The year before, Queen released “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” as a double A-side. They are still usually played together by radio stations.

For the song Bicycle Race they had an all nude female bicycle race…ahhh the 70s

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 1978: Queen – “Fat Bottomed Girls” - Hard  Rock Daddy

The cover of the single featured a nude woman riding a bicycle, and was altered after many stores refused to stock it. The new version was the same image with panties drawn over the woman…kill joys.

The song peaked at #24 in the Billboard 100, #17 in Canada, #20 in New Zealand, and #11 in the UK in 1978.

The song was on their 1978 album Jazz.

From Songfacts

Queen guitarist Brian May wrote this song, which is about a young man who comes to appreciate women of substantial girth. May told Mojo magazine October 2008: “I wrote it with Fred in mind, as you do especially if you’ve got a great singer who likes fat bottomed girls… or boys.”

Each song has a reference to the other in the lyrics: in “Bicycle Race,” a lyric runs: “Fat bottomed girls, they’ll be riding today, so look out for those beauties, oh yeah.” In “Fat Bottomed Girls” the closing call shouts “get on your bikes and ride!,” linking the two songs together.

This song was covered by Antigone Rising for the 2005 Queen tribute album Killer Queen

The song was used as the opening theme for Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary Super Size Me.

This was used in episodes of the US TV shows Nip/Tuck and My Name is Earl, and also in the UK show Father Ted. 

A funny incident involving this song occurred on the Daily Politics show on UK TV in January 2014, when respectable political editor Nick Robinson’s iPad suddenly started to play the song midway through a panel discussion between several politicians. Robinson hastily turned the device off before – in his words – “the really embarrassing lyrics start.”

This is one of a very small number of Queen songs composed and performed in an alternative tuning to standard. Brian May used a Dropped D tuning for this song.

Surprisingly for such a popular song, it only features on one Queen live compilation from the original lineup: On Fire Live at the Bowl, from Milton Keynes 1982. On the Queen + tours, it has been a regular staple, with both Paul Rogers and Adam Lambert handling the lyrics with gusto. Versions featuring Paul Rogers on vocals appear on Return of the Champions (2005), Super Live in Japan (2006) and Live in Ukraine (2008).

Kevin Fowler did his rendition of the classic Queen song on his 2002 album High on the Hog. Fowler’s version is a lighthearted take and encourages the crowd to partake in the fun. 

Fat Bottomed Girls

Okay, okay!
This is called, uh
Fat Bottomed Girls!

(One, two, three, four!)
Are you gonna take me home tonight?
Oh, down beside your red firelight
Are you gonna let it all hang out?
Fat bottomed girls
You make the rockin’ world go ’round

I was just a skinny lad
Never knew no good from bad
But I knew life before I left my nursery, huh
Left alone with big fat Fanny
She was such a naughty nanny
Big woman, you made a bad boy out of me

Hey! H-h-h-hey! Ah, yeah
C’mon, yeah alright
Fat bottomed girls
Do-do-do-do, hey

I’ve been singing with my band
Across the wire, across the land
I seen every blue eyed floozy on the way, hey
But their beauty and their style
Went kind of smooth after a while
Take me to them dirty ladies every time

Are you gonna take me home tonight? Hey!
Oh, down beside your red firelight
Oh, when you give it all you got
Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin’ world go ’round
Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin’ world go ’round

Now I got mortgages and homes
I got stiffness in my bones
Ain’t no beauty queens in this locality, I tell you
Oh, but I still get my pleasure
Still got my greatest treasure
Big woman, you done made a big man of me

Now, hear this!
Oh, (I know) you gonna take me home tonight? Hey!
Oh, down beside your red firelight
Are you gonna let it all hang out?
Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin’ world go ’round, yeah
Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin’ world go ’round

Get on your bikes and ride!
Like a cowboy, oh, come on, hey, go, aw yeah
That’s the way I like it, yeah
Yes, yes! Them fat bottomed girls
You ride ’em, you ride ’em, hey hey! Alright
Ooh! Ooh yeah, ooh yeah

Oh yes, fat bottomed girls
One more time girls, yeah, yeah
Alright, yeah
More, more

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody…Epic Rock Songs Week

This made a huge comeback courtesy of Waynes World in 1991. In the eighties my buddies would pile into my Mustang and turn this song up to 11. We loved to see people’s reactions…so when I saw it in Wayne’s World…. in their car I had to laugh…but we didn’t have a Pacer though.

So many overdubs took place that the tape was virtually a transparent. All the oxide had been rubbed off. They  hurriedly made a copy so they could preserve what they had already. They were working with a 24 track machine but they still had to bounce tracks. They used `180 overdubs… The song took 3 weeks to record. The song was on A Night At The Opera album.

The song reminds me of Good Vibrations and A Day In The Life…short melodies combined together to make one whole. The song was so different in 1975 and it’s so different today…it still holds up.

The song peaked at #1 in the UK in 1975…#9 in the  Billboard 100, #1 in Canada,  and #1 in New Zealand in 1976.

With Wayne’s World help it re-charted. #1 in the UK in 1991. #2 in the Billboard 100, #18 in Canada, and #16 in New Zealand in 1992.

Again because of the movie it re-charted… #33 in the Billboard 100, #25 in Canada, #45 in the UK, and #20 in New Zealand in 2018-19.

Bohemian Rhapsody” had reached the Top 40 in three different decades (’70s, ’90s and ’10s).

The video was directed by Bruce Gowers, the video was shot in three hours for £3,500 at the band’s rehearsal space. Gowers got the gig because he was one of the few people who had experience working on music videos…he ran a camera on a few Beatles promotional clips, including the one for “Paperback Writer.”

Brian May: “That was a great moment, but the biggest thrill for us was actually creating the music in the first place. I remember Freddie coming in with loads of bits of paper from his dad’s work, like Post-it notes, and pounding on the piano. He played the piano like most people play the drums. And this song he had was full of gaps where he explained that something operatic would happen here and so on. He’d worked out the harmonies in his head.”

From Songfacts

Freddie Mercury wrote the lyrics, and there has been a lot of speculation as to their meaning. Many of the words appear in the Qu’ran. “Bismillah” is one of these and it literally means “In the name of Allah.” The word “Scaramouch” means “A stock character that appears as a boastful coward.” “Beelzebub” is one of the many names given to The Devil.

Mercury’s parents were deeply involved in Zoroastrianism, and these Arabic words do have a meaning in that religion. His family grew up in Zanzibar, but was forced out by government upheaval in 1964 and they moved to England. Some of the lyrics could be about leaving his homeland behind. Guitarist Brian May seemed to suggest this when he said in an interview about the song: “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.”

Another explanation is not to do with Mercury’s childhood, but his sexuality – it was around this time that he was starting to come to terms with his bisexuality, and his relationship with Mary Austin was falling apart.

Whatever the meaning is, we may never know – Mercury himself remained tight-lipped, and the band agreed not to reveal anything about the meaning. Mercury himself stated, “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.” He also claimed that the lyrics were nothing more than “Random rhyming nonsense” when asked about it by his friend Kenny Everett, who was a London DJ.

The band were always keen to let listeners interpret their music in a personal way to them, rather than impose their own meaning on songs, and May stated that the band agreed to keep the personal meaning behind the song private out of respect for Mercury.

Mercury may have written “Galileo” into the lyrics for the benefit of Brian May, who is an astronomy buff and in 2007 earned a PhD in astrophysics. Galileo is a famous astronomer known for being the first to use a refracting telescope.

The backing track came together quickly, but Queen spent days overdubbing the vocals in the studio using a 24-track tape machine. The analog recording technology was taxed by the song’s multitracked scaramouches and fandangos: by the time they were done, about 180 tracks were layered together and “bounced” down into sub-mixes. Brian May recalled in various interviews being able to see through the tape as it was worn so thin with overdubs. Producer Roy Thomas Baker also recalls Mercury coming into the studio proclaiming, “oh, I’ve got a few more ‘Galileos’ dear!” as overdub after overdub piled up.

Was Freddie Mercury coming out as gay in this song? Lesley-Ann Jones, author of the biography Mercury, thinks so.

Jones says that when she posed the question to Mercury in 1986, the singer didn’t give a straight answer, and that he was always very vague about the song’s meaning, admitting only that it was “about relationships.” (Mercury’s family religion, Zoroastrianism, doesn’t accept homosexuality, and he made efforts to conceal his sexual orientation, possibly so as not to offend his family.)

After Mercury’s death, Jones says she spent time with his lover, Jim Hutton, who told her that the song was, in fact, Mercury’s confession that he was gay. Mercury’s good friend Tim Rice agreed, and offered some lyrical analysis to support the theory:

“Mama, I just killed a man” – He’s killed the old Freddie he was trying to be. The former image.

“Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead” – He’s dead, the straight person he was originally. He’s destroyed the man he was trying to be, and now this is him, trying to live with the new Freddie.

“I see a little silhouetto of a man” – That’s him, still being haunted by what he’s done and what he is.

Queen made a video for the song to air on Top Of The Pops, a popular British music show, because the song was too complex to perform live – or more accurately, to be mimed live – on TOTP. Also, the band would be busy on tour during the single’s release and thus unable to appear.

The video turned out to be a masterstroke, providing far more promotional punch than a one-off live appearance. Top Of The Pops ran it for months, helping keep the song atop the charts. This started a trend in the UK of making videos for songs to air in place of live performances.

When the American network MTV launched in 1981, most of their videos came from British artists for this reason. In the December 12, 2004 issue of the Observer newspaper, Roger Taylor explained: “We did everything we possibly could to avoid appearing in Top Of The Pops. It was one, the most boring day known to man, and two, it’s all about not actually playing – pretending to sing, pretending to play. We came up with the video concept to avoid playing on Top Of The Pops.”

The group had previously appeared on the show twice, to promote the “Seven Seas of Rhye” and “Killer Queen” singles.

The video was very innovative, the first where the visual images took precedence over the song. The look, with the four band members peering up into the shadows, was based on their 1974 Queen II album cover, which was shot by Mick Rock, who got the idea from a publicity photo of Marlene Dietrich striking a similar pose in the movie Shanghai Express. (Rock told Songfacts: “I showed it to Freddie and said, ‘Freddie, you could be Marlene Dietrich! How do you fancy that?’ And he loved it.”)

The two big effects used in the video were the multiple images that appear in the “thunderbolts and lightning section,” which were created by putting a prism in front of the camera lens, and the feedback effect where the image of the singer travels to infinity, which was done by pointing a camera at a monitor (like audio feedback, this is something you usually tried to avoid, but when harnessed for artistic purposes, was quite effective). At the time, the video looked high-tech and futuristic. It was also the first music “video” in the sense that it was shot on video instead of film.

This was Queen’s first Top 10 hit in the US, peaking at #9 on April 24, 1976. In the UK, where Queen was already established, it went to #1 on November 29, 1975 and stayed for nine weeks, a record at the time.

This got a whole new audience when it was used in the 1992 movie Wayne’s World, starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. In the film, Wayne and his friends lip-synch to it in his car (the Mirth Mobile), spasmodically head-bobbing at the guitar solo. As a result of the movie, it was re-released as a single in the US and charted at #2 (“Jump” by Kris Kross kept it out of #1).

In America, this marked a turning point in Queen’s legacy. The band’s 1982 album Hot Space contained a side of disco-tinged tracks at a time when disco was anathema to rock fans. The album had disappointing sales in the US, and also cost Queen in credibility. Their tour to support the album would be Freddie Mercury’s last with Queen in America, and the band was largely forgotten there for the rest of the decade. When Wayne’s World revived “Bohemian Rhapsody,” American listeners remembered how cool Queen really was, and they the ringing endorsement from Wayne and Garth to back them up.

At 5:55, this was a very long song for radio consumption. Queen’s manager at the time, John Reid, played it to another artist he managed, Elton John, who promptly declared: “are you mad? You’ll never get that on the radio!”

According to Brian May, record company management kept pleading with the group to cut the single down, but Freddie Mercury refused. It got a big bump when Mercury’s friend Kenny Everett played it on his Capital Radio broadcast before the song was released (courtesy of a copy Mercury gave him). This helped the single jump to #1 in the UK shortly after it was released.

There was a single version released only in France on a 7″, cut down to 3:18, edited by John Deacon, but beyond the initial pressing of this French single, the only version recognized is the album version, at 5:55. This little-heard French single started right at the piano intro, and edited out the operetta part. Brian May admitted that there may have been additional parts for the song on Freddie’s notes, but they were apparently never recorded. 

In 1991, this was re-released in the UK shortly after Freddie Mercury’s death. It again went to #1, with proceeds going to the Terrence Higgins Trust, which Mercury supported.

Elton John performed this with Axl Rose at the 1992 “Concert For Life,” held in London at Wembley Stadium. It was a tribute to Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS the year before. In 2001, Elton John got together with Eminem, who like Axl Rose, was often accused of being intolerant and homophobic. They performed Eminem’s “Stan” at the Grammys.

When this was re-released in the US, proceeds from the single went to the Magic Johnson AIDS Foundation. Johnson and Freddie Mercury were two of the first celebrities to get AIDS. Rock Hudson, who succumbed to the disease on October 2, 1985, was another.

Thanks to this track, A Night At The Opera was the most expensive album ever made at the time. They used 6 different studios to record it. Queen did not use any synthesizers on the album, which is something they were very proud of.

In an interview with Brian May and Roger Taylor on the Queen Videos Greatest Hits DVD, Brian said: “What is Bohemian Rhapsody about, well I don’t think we’ll ever know and if I knew I probably wouldn’t want to tell you anyway, because I certainly don’t tell people what my songs are about. I find that it destroys them in a way because the great thing about about a great song is that you relate it to your own personal experiences in your own life. I think that Freddie was certainly battling with problems in his personal life, which he might have decided to put into the song himself. He was certainly looking at re-creating himself. But I don’t think at that point in time it was the best thing to do so he actually decided to do it later. I think it’s best to leave it with a question mark in the air.” >>

A Night At The Opera was re-released as an audio DVD in 2002 with the original video included on the disc. Commentary from the DVD reveals that this song had started taking shape in the song “My Fairy King” on Queen’s debut album. >>

In 2002, this came in #1 in a poll by Guinness World Records as Britain’s favorite single of all time. John Lennon’s “Imagine” was #2, followed by The Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”

The name “Bohemian” in the song title seems to refer not to the region in the Czech republic, but to a group of artists and musicians living roughly 100 years ago, known for defying convention and living with disregard for standards. A “Rhapsody” is a piece of Classical music with distinct sections that is played as one movement. Rhapsodies often have themes.

Roger Taylor (from 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh): “Record companies both sides of the Atlantic tried to cut the song, they said it was too long and wouldn’t work. We thought, ‘Well we could cut it, but it wouldn’t make any sense,’ it doesn’t make much sense now and it would make even less sense then: you would miss all the different moods of the song. So we said no. It’ll either fly or it won’t. Freddie had the bare bones of the song, even the composite harmonies, written on telephone books and bits of paper, so it was quite hard to keep track of what was going on.” Kutner and Leigh’s book also states that, the recording included 180 overdubs, the operatic parts took over 70 hours to complete and the piano Freddie played was the same one used by Paul McCartney on “Hey Jude.”

Ironically, the song that knocked this off the #1 chart position in the UK was “Mama Mia” by Abba. The words “Mama mia” are repeated in this in the line “Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go.” >>

The story told in this song is remarkably similar to that in Albert Camus’ book The Stranger. Both tell of a young man who kills, and not only can he not explain why he did it, he can’t even articulate any feelings about it. >>

You can make the case that the song title is actually a parody, and a clever one at that. There is a rhapsody by the composer Franz Liszt called “Hungarian Rhapsody,” and “Bohemia” is a kingdom that is near Hungary and was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Furthermore, “Bohemian” is an adjective for something unusual or against convention, and the song is just that.

So, “Bohemian Rhapsody” could be a clever title that not only parodies a famous work but also describes the song. In a nod to the Liszt composition, Queen would go on to release a live DVD/CD package in 2012 titled “Hungarian Rhapsody,” featuring their famous shows behind the Iron Curtain in Budapest on the Magic tour in 1986.

This song was covered by Constantine M. (featuring the cast of We Will Rock You) and also by The Flaming Lips for the 2005 Queen Tribute album Killer Queen. Another popular cover is by Grey DeLisle, who did it as an acoustic ballad for her album Iron Flowers.

Queen fans, and also Brian May, often colloquially refer to the song as “Bo Rhap” (or “Bo Rap”).

The name “Bohemian Rhapsody” makes many appearances in popular culture:

Session 14 of the popular anime series Cowboy Bebop is named “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The Jones Soda Company has a drink named “Bohemian Raspberry” in honor of this song.

In one of the episodes of the TV miniseries Dinotopia, a character cheats on a poem project by using the first part of the song as his entire project. The inhabitants, having never heard the song before, are amazed at the sound of it. 

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett used some of the lyrics in their book Good Omens. The main character (Crowley) plays it in his car all the time. They also refer to other Queen songs, but mostly “Bohemian Rhapsody.” 

The Mexican group Molotov sampled the chorus for their Spanish-language rap version of this song called “Rap, Soda and Bohemias.” It appears on their 1998 album Molomix

In 2009, The Muppets Studio released a video featuring the Muppets performing this song. It was first web video for The Muppets, and it was extremely popular: the video was viewed over 7 million times the first week it was up. The furry ones changed the song a bit, omitting the lyrics that begin, “Mama, just killed a man” with Animal screaming “Mama!”

In an interview with Q magazine March 2011, Roger Taylor was asked if this seemed like a peculiar song when Mercury first suggested it? He replied: “No, I loved it. The first bit that he played to me was the verse. ‘Mama, just killed a man, dah-dah-la-dah-daah, gun against his…’ All that. I thought, ‘That’s great, that’s a hit.’ It was, in my head, a simpler entity then; I didn’t know it was going to have a wall of mock Gilbert and Sullivan stuff, you know, some of which was written on the fly. Freddie would write these huge blocks of mass harmonies in the backs of phone books.”

The song is one of Freddie Mercury’s great mysteries – according to everyone in the band, only he knew truly how it would come together, and according to some sources, its genesis could have come many years earlier. Chris Smith, the keyboard player in Mercury’s first band Smile, claimed that Freddie would play several piano compositions at rehearsals, including one called “The Cowboy Song,” which started with the line, “mama, just killed a man.”

In sharp contrast to the rest of the song’s recording and composition, Brian May’s signature solo before the opera section was recorded on only one track, with no overdubbing. He stated that he wanted to play “a little tune that would be a counterpart to the main melody; I didn’t just want to play the melody.”

It is one of his finest examples of creating a solo in his mind before playing it on guitar; something he did many times throughout Queen’s career. His reasoning was always that “the fingers tend to be predictable unless being led by the brain.”

Weird Al Yankovic took the entire song and sung it to a polka tune, called simply “Bohemian Polka,” which is on his 1993 album Alapalooza. >>

Panic! At The Disco covered the song in 2016 for the Suicide Squad soundtrack, having previously played Queen’s epic tune during their live shows. Frontman Brendon Urie told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe:

“I know right that’s a monster to tackle but it was so much fun. I love that song so much. We’ve been playing it live for a few years and it just made so much sense to try it.

It really just gave me a bigger respect for how that song was written. I mean the song was there, all the pieces were there. It was just figuring out each harmony piece by piece. But man, what a monster of a vocal song. It’s so crazy there’s just like thirty-four vocals stacked on top of each other. It’s incredible. I know right that’s a monster to tackle but it was so much fun. I love that song so much. We’ve been playing it live for a few years and it just made so much sense to try it.”

Panic! at the Disco’s cover peaked at #64 on the Hot 100. It was the fourth version to reach the chart following Queen’s original, The Braids from the High School High movie soundtrack (#42, 1996), and the Cast of Glee (#84, 2010).

In the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek stars as Freddie Mercury. In May, the trailer was released, showing some scenes where the song is discussed, including a part where they record “the operatic section.” There is also this exchange:

Record company executive: “It goes on forever! It’s six bloody minutes!”

Mercury: “I pity your wife if you think six minutes is forever.”

That record company executive is played by Mike Myers, who revived the song in Wayne’s World.

The song made its third visit to the top 40 of the Hot 100 in November 2018 when it zoomed in at #33 following the release of the Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack. , something only Prince has done before, with “1999.”

Thanks to the film Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen had a big role at the 2019 Oscars ceremony. The band (with Adam Lambert on vocals) opened the show, performing “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”; Mike Myers and Dana Carvey introduced a tribute to the film with their scene from Wayne’s World. The film was nominated for five awards, winning four: Leading Actor (Rami Malek), Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. It lost Best Picture to Green Book.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go
A little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me, to me

Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooh
Didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters

Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body’s aching all the time
Goodbye everybody I’ve got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooh (anyway the wind blows)
I don’t want to die
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo
Gallileo, Gallileo
Gallileo Figaro, magnifico

I’m just a poor boy and nobody loves me
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity

Easy come easy go, will you let me go
Bismillah! No we will not let you go, let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go, let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go, let me go
Will not let you go, let me go (never)
Never, never, never, never, never let me go
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
For me
For me

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here

Ooh yeah, ooh yeah

Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters nothing really matters to me

Anyway the wind blows

Queen – Somebody To Love

This may be my favorite Queen song. I loved to play this in my car when I was a teen with a stereo that could blow your hair back.

This song is sung with a gospel feel, with the voices of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, and Roger Taylor multitracked to sound like a choir. According to Brian May, the gospel sound was inspired by the music of Aretha Franklin.

Freddie Mercury wrote Somebody To Love. In interviews Freddie has said the lyrics reflect a man calling out to God, asking why he works so hard, but can’t find love. At the end of the song, he finds hope and decides he will not accept defeat

The song peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100, #2 in the UK, and #5 in Canada in 1977. The song was on the album A Day At The Races.

The band was super talented and it wasn’t just Freddie’s voice that made it… All the members contributed. Brian May’s guitar playing and sound was just as much part of Queen. John Deacon’s bass playing and songwriting that produced some of their big hits. Roger Taylor who is an excellent drummer also wrote some of their bigger songs.

From Songfacts

.Peter Hince, the head of Queen’s road crew, recalled to Mojo magazine September 2009 that “among the road crew there were songs you liked and songs you didn’t like.” He added that this was, “always one of Queen’s best. The studio version was very polished, but on-stage there was so much more guts to it.”

Hince recalled to Mojo the video was “filmed at Wessex Studios while they were making the A Day at the Races album.” He added: “Aesthetically, you had to have all four around the microphone, but John (Deacon) didn’t sing on the records. By his own admission he didn’t have the voice. He did sing on-stage but the crew always knew to keep the fader very low.”

Several bootleg recordings and live videos exist where evidently John’s mic was not turned down, and it becomes painfully obvious that the above statement is true – one particular live performance of “In The Lap Of The Gods” is wince-inducing!

In October 2009 a remake by the cast of the Fox TV musical comedy Glee returned this song to #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #26 on the UK singles chart. Their version was featured in the episode “The Rhodes Not Taken.”

Frank Turner covered this for the B-side to his vinyl release of “I Still Believe” in 2011.

The Voice contestant Jordan Smith’s rendition took the song back into the upper reaches of the Hot 100. The week after his performance of the song on the December 7, 2015 episode of the singing competition, Smith’s version debuted at #21 on the chart.

This was used in a commercial for the Honda Ridgeline that debuted during the 2016 Super Bowl. In the spot, a flock of sheep sing this song, having heard it when they were transported in a Ridgeline with a truck-bed audio system, which we’re sure is quite handy for teaching songs to sheep.

Somebody To Love

Each morning I get up I die a little
Can barely stand on my feet (take a look at yourself)
Take a look in the mirror and cry
Lord, what you’re doing to me
I have spent all my years in believing you
But I just can’t get no relief, Lord
Somebody uh (somebody) somebody (somebody)
Can anybody find me somebody to love?

I work (he works hard) hard every day of my life
I work ’til I ache my bones
At the end (at the end of the day) I take home my hard earned pay all on my own
I go down on my knees
And I start to pray (praise the Lord)
‘Til the tears run down from my eyes
Lord, somebody uh (somebody) somebody (somebody)
Can anybody find me somebody to love?

(He works hard) everyday (everyday)
I try and I try and I try
But everybody wants to put me down
They say I’m goin’ crazy
They say I got a lot of water in my brain
I got no common sense
I got nobody left to believe
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Oh, Lord
Somebody uh (somebody) somebody (somebody)
Can anybody find me somebody to love?

(Can anybody find me somebody to love?)
Got no feel, I got no rhythm
I just keep losing my beat
I’m alright, I’m alright (he’s alright)
I ain’t gonna face no defeat
I just gotta get out of this prison cell
Someday I’m gonna be free, Lord

Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Somebody (somebody) somebody (somebody)
Somebody find me, somebody find me somebody to love
Can anybody find me
Somebody to come on, love, yeah

Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody, somebody, somebody to love (find me somebody to love)
Find me, find me, find me, find me uh somebody to love
Find me somebody to love
Find me somebody to love (anybody, anywhere)
Somebody, somebody to love yeah yeah oh (find me somebody to love)

Concert for Kampuchea

When I posted a Rockpile song last week… I heard from Sharon E. Cathcart talking about this concert. A few days later Val mentioned this concert on a Little Richard post. I haven’t thought of this concert in years so I thought it would be a great subject.

I did see a copy of this in the 80s at some point. I’ve watched it the last few nights and it is really good. A few facts about the show…The Pretenders debut album was released the day before they played, this was John Bonham’s last appearance on stage in England, and the Wings last concert appearance.

Concert for the People of Kampuchea was a series of concerts in 1979 featuring Queen, The Clash, The Pretenders, Rockpile, The Who, Elvis Costello, Wings, and many more artists. I’ll post the entire lineup at the bottom. These concerts had a great amount of British talent that would not be rivaled until Live Aid in 1985. The proceeds would be directed to the emergency relief work of the U.N. agencies for the civilians in Kampuchea.

The concerts were held at the Hammersmith Odeon in London over 4 days from 26-29 December 1979 to raise money for the victims of war-torn Cambodia (then called Kampuchea). The event was organized by former Beatle Paul McCartney and Kurt Waldheim (who was then Secretary-General of the UN, later Austrian president).

Waldheim initially approached McCartney, hoping his current band Wings would participate. But he also discussed a performance with George Harrison, and then the gossip wheel started turning. The Beatle reunion rumors started to overtake the press for the show itself. Paul had to completely deny it of course. He was quoted saying: “The Beatles are over and finished with,”  “None of us is even interested in doing it. There’s lots of reasons. Imagine if we came back and did a big show that wasn’t good. What a drag.” None of the ex Beatles showed…except Paul

An album and EP were released in 1981, and the best of the concerts was released as a film, Concert for Kampuchea in 1980. The album wasn’t released until 1981 and it peaked at #36 and the song Little Sister by Rockpile and Robert Plant peaked at #8.

When Wings’ main set was complete on the last night, McCartney invited a Who’s Who assemblage of British rockers to the stage to play four songs as an encore as the “Rockestra”. The list included three members of Led Zeppelin (Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones), Townshend, former Small Faces/Faces bandmates Ronnie Lane and Kenney Jones, Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker, Wings, plus members of Rockpile and the Pretenders, among others.

Here is a complete list.

  • Piano: Paul McCartney
  • Keyboards: Linda McCartney, Tony Ashton, Gary Brooker
  • Guitars: Denny Laine, Laurence Juber, James Honeyman-Scott, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner, Pete Townshend, Robert Plant
  • Bass: Paul McCartney, Bruce Thomas, Ronnie Lane, John Paul Jones
  • Drums, Percussion: Steve Holley, Kenney Jones, Tony Carr, Morris Pert, Speedy Acquaye, John Bonham
  • Horns: Howie Casey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard, Tony Dorsey
  • Vocals: Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, John Paul Jones, Ronnie Lane, Bruce Thomas, Robert Plant

That is a talented bunch.

McCartney did assemble the above musicians with some more like David Gilmour to record a couple of songs on the Wings Back To The Egg album…So Glad to See You Here and Rockestra Theme.

Here is the complete list of acts who played during the concerts.

The Blockheads
The Clash
Elvis Costello
Ian Dury
The Pretenders
Robert Plant
The Specials
The Who

December 26

  • Queen

December 27

  • Ian Dury and the Blockheads (with guest Mick Jones on “Sweet Gene Vincent”)
  • Matumbi
  • The Clash

December 28

  • The Pretenders
  • The Specials
  • The Who

December 29

  • Elvis Costello & The Attractions
  • Rockpile (with guest Robert Plant on “Little Sister”)
  • Wings
  • Rockestra

Selected setlists


  1. Jailhouse Rock
  2. We Will Rock You (fast version)
  3. Let Me Entertain You
  4. Somebody to Love
  5. If You Can’t Beat Them
  6. Mustapha
  7. Death on Two Legs
  8. Killer Queen
  9. I’m in Love with My Car
  10. Get Down, Make Love
  11. You’re My Best Friend
  12. Save Me
  13. Now I’m Here
  14. Don’t Stop Me Now
  15. Spread Your Wings
  16. Love of My Life
  17. ’39
  18. Keep Yourself Alive
  19. Drums solo
  20. Guitar solo with parts of Silent Night
  21. Brighton Rock reprise
  22. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  23. Bohemian Rhapsody
  24. Tie Your Mother Down
  25. Sheer Heart Attack
  26. We Will Rock You
  27. We Are the Champions
  28. God Save the Queen (tape)

Ian Dury & The Blockheads

  1. Clevor Trevor
  2. Inbetweenies
  3. Don’t Ask Me
  4. Reasons To Be Cheerful
  5. Sink My Boats
  6. Waiting For Your Taxi
  7. This Is What We Find
  8. Mischief
  9. What A Waste
  10. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
  11. Sweet Gene Vincent

The Clash

  1. Clash City Rockers
  2. Brand New Cadillac
  3. Safe European Home
  4. Jimmy Jazz
  5. Clampdown
  6. The Guns of Brixton
  7. Train in Vain
  8. Wrong ‘Em Boyo
  9. Koka Kola
  10. (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
  11. Stay Free
  12. Bankrobber
  13. Janie Jones
  14. Complete Control
  15. Armagideon Time
  16. London Calling

The Specials

  1. (Dawning Of a) New Era
  2. Do The Dog
  3. Monkey Man
  4. Concrete Jungle
  5. Too Hot
  6. Doesn’t Make It Alright
  7. Too Much Too Young
  8. Guns Of Navarone
  9. Little Bitch
  10. A Message To You Rudy
  11. Nite Club
  12. Gangsters
  13. Longshot Kick The Bucket
  14. Skinhead Moonstomp
  15. Madness

The Who

  1. Substitute
  2. I Can’t Explain
  3. Baba O’Riley
  4. The Punk and the Godfather
  5. My Wife
  6. Sister Disco
  7. Behind Blue Eyes
  8. Music Must Change
  9. Drowned
  10. Who Are You
  11. 5.15
  12. Pinball Wizard
  13. See Me Feel Me
  14. Long Live Rock
  15. My Generation
  16. I’m a Man
  17. Hoochie Coochie Man
  18. Sparks
  19. I Can See for Miles
  20. I Don’t Want To Be an Old Man
  21. Won’t Get Fooled Again
  22. Summertime Blues
  23. Dancing In The Streets
  24. Dance It Away
  25. The Real Me


  1. Three Time Loser
  2. Crawling From The Wreckage
  3. Little Sister


  1. Got to Get You into My Life
  2. Getting Closer
  3. Every Night
  4. Again And Again And Again
  5. I’ve Had Enough
  6. No Words
  7. Cook Of The House
  8. Old Siam, Sir
  9. Maybe I’m Amazed
  10. The Fool on the Hill
  11. Hot As Sun
  12. Spin It On
  13. Twenty Flight Rock
  14. Go Now
  15. Arrow Through Me
  16. Coming Up
  17. Goodnight Tonight
  18. Yesterday
  19. Mull of Kintyre
  20. Band on the Run


  1. Rockestra Theme
  2. Let It Be
  3. Lucille
  4. Rockestra Theme (reprise)


Songs That Reference Steve McQueen: Queen – Another One Bites The Dust

Steve walks warily down the street…with the brim pulled way down low.  Ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet…machine guns ready to go.”

Supposedly Steve McQueen is Steve in the opening lyrics. Steve died the year this was released on November 7, 1980.

You couldn’t go anywhere in 1980 without hearing someone sing, whistle, or hum this song. I remember the high school band did a version of it.

Brian May: “Freddie sung until his throat bled on Another One Bites The Dust. He was so into it. He wanted to make that song something special.”

The song peaked at #1 in 1980 in the Billboard 100. It was on the album The Game…which also peaked at #1 in 1980. While the band and producer Reinhold Mack were mixing the track, Brian May’s roadie suggested it be released as a single; the band didn’t like the idea but were finally talked into doing it when Michael Jackson, after a concert, suggested the same idea.


From Songfacts

This is one of the hardest Queen songs to understand. The opening line reads, “Steve walks warily down the street, his brim pulled way down low. Ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet, machine gun ready to go…” Also, the last phrase spoken in the song is not “Shoot Her” or “Shooter,” but “Shoot Out.”

Though probably not intentional unless someone did an excellent splicing job, the “another one bites the dust” line quite clearly says “decide to smoke marijuana” when played backwards. This is especially clear toward the end of the track when Mercury repeats the line with only the drums playing.

Queen bass player John Deacon wrote this song. All four members of Queen wrote songs, and each wrote at least one hit. Deacon also wrote “You’re My Best Friend.”

Deacon was influenced by the Chic song Good Times. In an interview with the New Musical Express, Chic bass player Bernard Edwards said: “Well, that Queen record came about because that bass player spent some time hanging out with us at our studio. But that’s OK. What isn’t OK is that the press started saying that we had ripped them off! Can you believe that? ‘Good Times’ came out more than a year before, but it was inconceivable to these people that black musicians could possibly be innovative like that. It was just these dumb disco guys ripping off this rock ‘n’ roll song.”

Deacon played most of the instruments on the track: lead and rhythm guitars, bass, reversed piano and additional percussion. Brian May did some guitar effects with harmonizer (in the interlude), and Roger Taylor played the drum loop. Surprisingly, there are no synthesizers.

The drum track and the handclaps were looped. They repeat throughout the song.

John Deacon claimed in a 1980 interview that Roger Taylor opposed the song’s drumbeat. This is backed up by the comments of several figures in the Days of our Lives documentary, who noted that Taylor hated having tape put on his drums to deaden the sound.

However, the drummer denied this in an interview with Mojo magazine in October 2008. He insisted: “I’d already had an ineffectual pop at that kind of music with ‘Fun It,’ on the Jazz album. I was never against ‘Another One Bites The Dust,’ but I was against releasing it as a single.”

In 1998, this was used in a commercial for AIWA sound systems. In the ad, a guy drives around with this blaring from his car stereo. At the end of the commercial, we realize he is driving a hearse.

During the production of the movie Rocky III, this was used in a key scene where Rocky is training for a fight. Producers could not get permission to use the song, so Sylvester Stallone hired Survivor to write an original song instead, which turned out to be “Eye Of The Tiger.”

Queen were originally reluctant to release this as a single, but backstage after a Queen gig at the Los Angeles forum, a visiting Michael Jackson convinced them it would be a hit. “Michael and all his brothers were all going, ‘That’s a fantastic track. You must release it,'” recalled Queen drummer Roger Taylor to Q magazine December 2009.

This meeting lead to several recordings and collaborations between Freddie Mercury and Jackson, all of which remain unreleased.

Weird Al Yankovic got his first chart placing with his parody of this song: “Another One Rides The Bus.” It bubbled under on the Hot 100, placing at #104 in 1981. After a few more minor hits, he landed “Eat It” at #12 in 1984.

This was the single that really broke the band in America, and it garnered a huge following amongst American disco audiences, with many fans and journalists convinced it was a black man singing lead vocals (these people obviously hadn’t heard of Queen before so didn’t know what Freddie looked like). The band occasionally were unsure of how to deal with this – Roger Taylor jokes in the Days of our Lives documentary of having fans shouting “you guys are bad!” in the street, and he had to ask “does that mean good or what?”

This was used in a 2016 commercial for the Hyundai Genesis that first aired on the Super Bowl. In the spot, Kevin Hart uses the Car Finder app to track down the guy who is using it to take his daughter on a date. After tormenting her suitor, Hart says, “A dad’s gotta do what a dad’s gotta do.”

Another One Bites The Dust

Oh, let’s go

Steve walks warily down the street
With the brim pulled way down low
Ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet,
Machine guns ready to go

Are you ready, hey, are you ready for this?
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you, too
Another one bites the dust

How do you think I’m going to get along
Without you when you’re gone?
You took me for everything that I had
And kicked me out on my own

Are you happy, are you satisfied?
How long can you stand the heat?
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you, too
Another one bites the dust

Oh take it
Bite the dust
Bite the dust
Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust oww
Another one bites the dust hey hey
Another one bites the dust eh eh

Oh shooter
There are plenty of ways that you can hurt a man
And bring him to the ground
You can beat him, you can cheat him
You can treat him bad and leave him when he’s down

But I’m ready, yes, I’m ready for you
I’m standing on my own two feet
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
Repeating to the sound of the beat oh yeah

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I’m gonna get you, too
Another one bites the dust

Oh shooter hey hey, all right



Queen – Bicycle Race ——— Songs that reference Richard Nixon

I don’t want to be a candidate for, Vietnam or Watergate, ‘Cause all I wanna do is
Bicycle (yeah) bicycle (eh) bicycle, I want to ride my bicycle bicycle (c’mon) bicycle

Watergate will do for this one to count. I thought we would have a fun one today…

This song is off the wall and I’ve always liked it. Queen does what they do best…go over the top.

I remember when I first heard this song. I was around 11 and I got a giggle out of it. Somewhere (probably Rolling Stone Magazine…when they were still good) I read about the promo video of this song and as an eleven-year-old boy…I thought it was the coolest promo idea ever.

Queen staged a bicycle race around Wimbledon stadium in England to promote the single. Sixty-five professional models were hired to race nude, with special effects hiding the nudity in the original video… a photo from the race was used on the cover of the single and images from the race were used for the video…ahhh the 1970s.

The song peaked at #24 in the Billboard 100 and #11 in the UK in 1979… The song was on the Jazz album and released in 1978. The song was paired with Fat Bottom Girls on a double “A” sided single. The song is listed in Billboard as Bicycle Race/Fat Bottom Girls.

Freddie wrote this song and although he sang “I don’t like Star Wars” Brian May said he was a big Star Wars fan.

From Songfacts

Freddie Mercury wrote this in France after watching the Tour de France bicycle race ride by his hotel. The band was recording Jazz in the French countryside mainly as a tax break – Roger Taylor claimed in the Days of our Lives documentary that they were being taxed as much as 98% on royalties on previous albums, hence why they defected to France and later Montreux in Switzerland to record future albums.

This was released as a double A-side single with “Fat Bottomed Girls.” They ran back to back on the album, and many radio stations played them together. The “Fat Bottomed Girls” are mentioned in this song’s lyrics.

Wherever Queen played, bicycle shops sold out of bells bought by fans who brought them to the show to ring them during this song.

Queen rented 65 bicycles for the race. In a possibly apocryphal but often-repeated story, when the rental company found out what they were used for, they refused to take the bikes back unless the band paid for new seats.

The album contained a poster of the women in the bicycle race. It was left out of some copies for stores that did not want to carry it, but fans could mail order the poster if they desired. A bikini bottom was digitally added to the cover of the single, and on some US releases a bra was also added.

At a 1978 concert in Madison Square Garden, Queen re-created the video by having women with very little clothing ride bicycles around the stage.

Queen had a lot of success the year before with another double A-side, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions.”

Be Your Own Pet covered this for the 2005 Queen tribute album Killer Queen

The song features surprisingly complex instrumentation, and the Jazz album as a whole perhaps represents the apex of Queen’s experimentation. It features an imaginative solo played exclusively on bicycle bells, unusual chord progressions, shifts in time signature (from 4/4 to 6/8) and a whole host of pop culture references in the lyrics, including mentions of religion, the Watergate scandal, drugs, Jaws, Star Wars and Frankenstein.

Bicycle Race

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

You say black I say white
You say bark I say bite
You say shark I say hey man
Jaws was never my scene
And I don’t like Star Wars
You say Rolls I say Royce
You say God give me a choice
You say Lord I say Christ
I don’t believe in Peter Pan
Frankenstein or Superman
All I wanna do is

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my
Bicycle races are coming your way
So forget all your duties oh yeah
Fat bottomed girls
They’ll be riding today
So look out for those beauties oh yeah
On your marks, get set, go!
Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race
Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
Bicycle bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want a bicycle race

You say coke I say caine
You say John I say Wayne
Hot dog I say cool it man
I don’t wanna be the President of America
You say smile I say cheese
Cartier I say please
Income tax I say Jesus
I don’t want to be a candidate for
Vietnam or Watergate
‘Cause all I wanna do is

Bicycle (yeah) bicycle (eh) bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle (c’mon) bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

Queen – Life Is Real (Song for Lennon)

I did not dislike Hot Space like some Queen fans and non-Queen fans. I would not rate it as high as The Game but it had some decent songs. The album peaked at only #22 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1982 after the hugely successful album The Game.

Queen incorporates a little of Lennon’s style in this one and Mercury’s voice sounds great in this song.

From Songfacts

Freddie Mercury wrote this song as a dedication to John Lennon. The music emulates different John Lennon song styles, and the lyrics are mostly about Freddie’s realization that John was dead, and how real life was. “Life is Real” is related to the John Lennon lyric “Love is Real.”

The death of John Lennon sparked Queen to play “Imagine” during concerts, something they did during their tour with Paul Rodgers.

This song took on a new life after Freddie Mercury’s death, and is now regularly performed as a tribute to Mercury as well as Lennon – particularly when performed by Kerry Ellis and Brian May on their tours (notably the Born Free tour) where a montage of Freddie Mercury images would play on screens behind the artists.

Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)

Guilt stains on my pillow
Blood on my terraces
Torsos in my closet
Shadows from my past
Life is real, life is real
Life is real, so real

Sleeping is my leisure
Waking up in a minefield
Dream in just a pleasure dome
Love is a roulette wheel
Life is real, life is real
Life is real, oh yeah

Success is my breathing space
I brought it on myself
I will price it, I will cash it
I can take it or leave it
Loneliness is my hiding place
Breast feeding myself
What more can I say?
I have swallowed the bitter pill
I can taste it I can taste it
Life is real, life is real
Life is real

Music will be my mistress
Loving like a whore
Lennon is a genius
Living in ev’ry pore
Life is real, life is real
Life is real, so real
Life is cruel, life is a bitch
Life is real, so real
Life is real, life is real, yeah
Life is real.

Queen – You’re My Best Friend

In the hands of another band, this song could have turned into a bland pop song. The harmonies and the arrangement by Queen lifted this song up. It was written by the bass player John Deacon. All members of Queen encouraged each other to write and each one of them wrote at least one hit.

The song came off the “A Night at the Opera” album. This is one the two albums that Queen named after Marx Brothers movies…the other one is “A Day at the Races.” They were watching “A Night at the Opera” movie while making the album. They became friends with Groucho Marx in the mid-seventies.

John would go on to write You’re My Best Friend, Another One Bites The Dust, and I Wanna Break Free. This song is the first song I remember hearing that introduced me to Queen. You’re My Best Friend peaked at #16 in the Billboard 100, #7 in the UK and #2 in Canada in 1976.


From Songfacts.

John Deacon wrote this song about his wife. He enjoyed a rather quiet home life, and particularly in the early days of the group he was very shy and quiet, unwilling to put his song suggestions forward.

This song features a Fender Rhodes electric piano, which was a popular choice at the time, with many rock songs by the likes of Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan using the instrument. John Deacon wanted to write a song incorporating the instrument, but Freddie Mercury did not want to play it. “I refused to play that damn thing,” Mercury said. “It’s tiny and horrible and I don’t like them. Why play those when you have a lovely superb piano.”

So Deacon took the Rhodes home, learned to play it, and started writing this song. This was the follow-up single to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It was also Queen’s second song (after “Bohemian Rhapsody”) to have an accompanying promo video filmed for it.

After Freddie Mercury died in 1991, Deacon became something of a recluse – he was involved in the posthumous album Made in Heaven, and on the 1997 single “No-One But You,” he retired from music and has declined to tour with the band on their subsequent tours with Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert. The band still maintains contact with him, and run decisions by him – according to Brian May, the rule is that if Deacon does not reply to an email, that’s his way of saying it has his approval.

You’re My Best Friend

Ooh you make me live
Whatever this world can give to me
It’s you you’re all I see
Ooh you make me live now honey
Ooh you make me live

Ooh you’re the best friend that I ever had
I’ve been with you such a long time
You’re my sunshine and I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
Oh you’re my best friend

Ooh you make me live

Ooh I’ve been wandering round
But I still come back to you
In rain or shine
You’ve stood by me girl
I’m happy at home
You’re my best friend

Ooh you make me live
Whenever this world is cruel to me
I got you to help me forgive
Ooh you make me live now honey
Ooh you make me live

You’re the first one
When things turn out bad
You know I’ll never be lonely
You’re my only one
And I love the things
I really love the things that you do
Ooh you’re my best friend

Ooh you make me live

I’m happy at home
You’re my best friend
Oh you’re my best friend
Ooh you make me live
You’re my best friend

My Memories of 1977

In 1977 I turned 10 years old. It was the first year I wanted to know what was going on in the world. I started to watch Walter Cronkite reporting the world news. Keywords I remember were Sadat, Middle East, Son of Sam, Concorde, and Inflation. Local news would be Chris Clark on channel 5 an affiliate of CBS…keywords locally… Snow, Ray Blanton (the name would be more popular the next year…in a bad way), and Larry Schmittou…who would bring Nashville minor league baseball the following year with the “Sounds” a Reds farm team.


I missed around 3 weeks of school because of it being either closed or the bus would not run down our rural road because of snow…sledding and exploring time! In Middle Tn… 1 inch of snow will shut down a city.

I remember Star Wars hit the theaters with lines around the corners. I didn’t see it the month it was released but soon afterward. It was everywhere and the talk of the school. We had never seen anything like it before.


I remember Queen releasing News of the World. A friend of mine brought the album to school and we studied every inch of the cover (by Frank Kelly Freas), a giant robot picking up the bodies of the band. We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions played non-stop on the radio. This is when I started to explore other bands that weren’t named The Beatles.


The TV mini-series Roots was huge and historic.


I was watching Gilligans Island and it was interrupted by sad news. Elvis Presley was dead at 42 years old. My mom and other grown-ups around were really upset. I knew his songs and it was sad but I didn’t understand everyone’s reactions for someone they didn’t know. Three years later when I was 13 I understood perfectly clear when John Lennon was murdered. Three days after Elvis died Groucho Marx passed away…In October Bing Crosby passed away.


I paid attention to the inauguration of Jimmy Carter as President in January. I would hear about peanuts, teeth and his brother Billy for the rest of the year…and about one of those keywords again…inflation.

I remember the Son of Sam killings. In August of that year, David Berkowitz was finally apprehended. He killed six people and wounded seven others. I also remember the blackouts in New York in July…

son of sam.jpg

The Concorde was all over the news that year. To a 10-year-old in 1977, it looked like something out of a sci-fi movie.


In March of 1977, I started to follow baseball. I’m not from California but my Dad always rooted for the Dodgers and it was passed down to me. I read from a young age about Babe Ruth, Christy Matheson, and the older players… but this was the first year I followed modern baseball from start to finish. Cey, Lopes, Garvey, Russell, Yeager, Dusty Baker, Reggie Smith, Don Sutton, Tommy John…I loved that team. I still can imitate the batting stance of all of the starters. Ron Cey was my hero and I played 3rd base in Little League because of him.

Our insurance salesman would come to our house every now and then and he knew I was a Dodger fan. He said he went to games in LA and would bring back something for me… I believed him totally. My mom told me not to get my hopes up as he was busy and might forget… A few weeks later…there he was with a Dodger 1977 pennant in his hand to give me…I still have it. I couldn’t believe the pennant in my hand came from the mythical Dodger Stadium where my heroes played.

They had four players with 30 or more home runs that year…Cey, Garvey, Smith, and Baker. They made it to the World Series but broke my heart. They played the Yankees and Reggie Jackson (it still hurts to type his name) hit three home runs in the sixth and deciding game to beat my Dodgers. It took a while to get over that…well I’m still writing about it 41 years later…but it’s always next year.


I’ll close it out on Matchbox and Hot Wheels…I had a huge collection that I carried to friends houses to trade and race.


If only life was that simple again…


Oddest Concert Pairings

I have always liked odd mixtures. Anything out of the norm and I pay attention. That is why I blog about the past more than today. I liked the 60’s and 70’s era because houses, cars, and music were for the most part unique. I couldn’t tell a Ford from a Chevy today. A lot of new houses look just alike in cloned neighborhoods.

I would have loved to have been at one of these concerts.

Jimi Hendrix / Monkees 1967 – This is number one on my list. Can you imagine the young Monkee fans hearing the sonic volume of Jimi Hendrix? Jimi had to play while a bunch of 12-year-old girls screamed “We want the Monkees” and “We want Davy. ” It was the sixties and Peter Tork said: “It didn’t cross anybody’s mind that it wasn’t gonna fly.”

The Who / Herman Hermits 1967 – Smash your guitars and drums and Hope I die before I get Old and then Mrs Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter?… You can imagine Peter Noone tripping over shards of guitars every night.

Lynyrd Skynyrd / Queen 1974 – This one is a head-scratcher. The theatrical Queen and the southern boys from Florida just don’t seem a great match. Roger Taylor of Queen had some ugly things to say about Lynyrd Skynyrd later on.

Bruce Springsteen / Anne Murray 1974 – This one is baffling. Anne Murray’s managers demanded that Bruce open the show for Anne in NYC! They argued she was more successful and she was…but this was New York and Bruce Springsteen…what a fatal mistake…halfway through Bruce’s set Anne’s managers regretted their decision. Many of the audience had left by the time Anne took the stage.

The Ramones/Toto 1979 – This one doesn’t make sense at all…what promoter thought this through? The laid-back ToTo fans sat through the Ramones but Toto singer Bobby Kimball, came out and apologized to the crowd for the “horrible band” they had to sit through.

Cher/Gregg Allman 1977 – Yes they were married but what an odd concert to go to. You have Gregg who was one of the best blues singers at that time and Cher…who was Cher…Gregg Allman mentions in his book “My Cross to Bear” that the audience was mixed…some with tuxedos and some with denim jackets and backpacks and there were fights at each show on the tour between the two sets of fans.

Gregg Allman

“It was right after that—the tuxedos against the backpacks, because I think the Allman Brothers outnumbered the Sonny and Chers—that Cher came to me, and the poor thing was just crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she told me, “We’ve got to cancel the rest of the tour, because I can’t stand the fighting.” So we ended it right then, which was about halfway through it. We went home the next day, and that was the last time I ever played with her.”

The Ramones / Ted Nugent, Aerosmith 1979 – Bottles and debris were thrown at The Ramones from the crowd as Johnny Ramone was shooting birds at the audience. 

Johnny Ramone about this concert…

“About five or six songs into the set, the whole crowd stood up, and I thought it had started to rain. Dee Dee thought the same thing, but they were throwing stuff at us – sandwiches, bottles, everything. Then, all of a sudden, I broke two strings on my guitar in one strum. I thought it was a sign from God to get off the stage, because I’d rarely break a string, maybe once a year. So I just walked to the front of the stage, stopped playing, and gave the audience the finger – with both hands. I stood there like that, flipping them off, with both hands out, and walked off. The rest of the band kept playing for another ten or fifteen seconds until they’d realized I was walking off, and then they did too. I wasn’t gonna stand there and be booed and have stuff thrown at us without retaliating in some way. We had to come off looking good somehow, and there was no good way to get out of that.”

Johnny Ramone.jpg