Brian May is quoted in THE GUARDIAN – 15 November 2022
– various artists talk about experience of topping the Singles Chart, including Brian
Brian spoke by phone directly with writer Dave Simpson Tuesday 8 November 2022.
Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody (1975 and 1991)
“Bohemian Rhapsody was clearly a very important song for Freddie [Mercury], about transformation.
It wasn’t unusual for him to come in with various sections of something he’d been working on and tinkle on the piano. When we put it all together the record company said “We can’t get a six minute single on the radio.” We refused to edit it. We had a sort of launch before it was mixed. Kenny Everett stole a rough cut and played it on the radio, and it turned out it was radio friendly because it got everyone’s attention.
We hadn’t liked doing Top of The Pops because they made you mime on podiums, so in three hours we made the video which became a huge talking point. We’d just reached No 2 with Killer Queen, so took the chance that if Bohemian got to No 1 they’d have to show it. The single spent nine weeks at No 1 and there was such a celebratory feeling our manager made us lovely gold plaques.
After Freddie’s passing it was the Christmas No. 1 for a second time, raising £1m for the Terence Higgins Trust.
Young people think it’s always been there, like Beethoven or [Elgar’s] Pomp and Circumstance. Freddie would have loved that.”