We Will Rock You and Bohemian Rhapsody [Air Guitar Anthems]
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BRIAN MAY: “When I first started playing guitar, it was a rhythm guitar and it’s stood me in very good stead. I come from a generation that learned with skiffle, Lonnie Donegan, and things like ‘Jailhouse Rock’ and, of course, one of the very simplest guitarist riffs there is [sings: ‘daa dang’] for ‘Jailhouse Rock’, and I found that I could do that and that’s that that that’s the great thing. You don’t have to be a great guitar player to play a lot of these riffs. You can pick it up and within a few hours you can get to something which makes you feel good. I also remember ‘You Really Got Me’, of course, you know, when The Kinks came out with that everybody just wanted to go [sings: ‘de da-da da daa’].
For me I think I’m always subliminally in search of the great riff. When you’re playing around and you’re not trying too hard and you’re just kind of at ease with your guitar, which is your best friend, you might hit something and you think ‘Hmmm… Maybe that’s gonna work’ and maybe other people will feel something from what I feel from this, so that’s where something like ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ came from. That’s where the ‘We Will Rock You’ riff or whatever it is – I don’t know if that’s a riff or not, but it’s a piece which was in my head and that ended being part of the ‘We Will Rock You’ song – things which came out of us. A lot of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, of course, came out of Freddie, you know, the [sings: ’ding ding-ding ding ding ding’] is actually Freddie’s riff, which he played on the piano first. The solo is is my invention as is some of the other stuff, but, you know, these riffs can come from all over the place. You never know when it’s gonna fly in and hit you. The thing is grabbing it and immortalising it”