Queen guitarist says Bohemian Rhapsody saved the band…
10 November 2015 by Nina Nannar
Brian May knows what people want to talk about – it’s “That Song!” With good humour he recalls the great times, he says, Queen had recording Bohemian Rhapsody 40 years ago. He says the band were bankrupt at that point and needed the song and the album A Night At The Opera to work.
Nina Nannar speaks to Queen’s Brian May Credit: ITV News
How they did is now the stuff of history. It was Freddie Mercury’s song. Did you ask him what on earth it was about?, I said. “We had an agreement”, he says, “as a band, that none of us would ask each other what our songs were about – so we didn’t!” That, of course, has allowed us to make our own minds up. Forty years on the song remains iconic, instantly recognisable and loved by millions around the world.
Queen are the recipients of the Classic Rock Legends Award this year, which has delighted May. He says he wishes Freddie Mercury was still around to enjoy the accolades.
The band has long been in talks for a film on Mercury’s life, a project which has stalled for some time. Sacha Baron Cohen was originally tipped for the role but that was dropped. “We knew he wouldn’t be quite right for the film” says May “He is such a powerful personality and his films are so based on that, that convincing audiences that he could be Freddie could have been hard.” But now the project is underway, with Ben Wishaw – currently to be seen playing Q in Spectre – set to take the role.
There is also a script nearly finished which the band says they are happy with. It’s been written by Anthony McCarten, who was Oscar nominated for his work on The Theory of Everything. May says he and Roger Taylor realised they needed to be involved with the project more. He said: “It’s our story being told up there and we only get one chance to do justice to Freddie’s story”.
So decades after Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor dazzled the world with five minutes and 55 seconds of rock opera and a video that has been credited with launching the MTV generation, “That Song” continues to be talked about and celebrated the world over.