Queen: 40th Anniversary of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ 31st October 2015

Queen - 4 heads Mick Rock
Classic Mick Rock iconic photograph

40th Anniversary of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ 
31st October 2015

This weekend marks the 40th Anniversary of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. With over 6.5 million copies sold worldwide to date, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is one of the world’s most well known and well loved songs.

The single has been covered by everyone from Kayne West during his 2015 controversial Glastonbury headline slot, Axl Rose, Elton John and Pink to The Flaming Lips and Elaine Paige and forever immortalized again by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in the  smash hit 90’s film, Wayne’s World.

To mark the anniversary, this weekend kicks off a month of celebrations and unique opportunities for fans to get involved all over the world.

This Friday listen out for Roger Taylor as he joins Chris Evans on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast show and Shaun Keaveny on the BBC 6 Music Breakfast Show.  Bohemian Rhapsody will then be played out across all major radio stations to celebrate this incredible record. 

Looking further ahead to next month there will also be a Radio 2 ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ documentary and a brand new BBC 2 Documentary. Plus look out for a very special announcement of a huge celebrity collaboration with Queen for Children In Need.

Loved Wayne’s World? On the 6,7,8th November you can recreate the famous Bohemian Rhapsody head banging scene from the 1987 (1992) movie Wayne’s World at World Famous shopping Mecca Westfield in Shepherds Bush. Shoppers and Fans will be able to film their own version of the famous scene in a replica of the 1978 AME Pacer used in the movie. Complete with Wigs and Glasses and the liquorice dispenser! All entries will be shared immediately on the official Queen Facebook page and Instagram plus every person gets their own Polaroid Photo Print out.

On the 19th October Queen were presented with the Classic Single Award at The Q Awards, and Alan Carr and Adam Lambert re-created the iconic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ music video on Alan Carr: Chatty Man. Earlier this month BBC’s The One Show also looked back at the making of this classic song. 

Bohemian Rhapsody Facts and Figures

• The song is nearly 6 minutes long, 5:55 to be exact. 

• Label EMI and manager John Reid deemed the song too long and advised an edit. Kenny Everett  aired the song on London’s Capital Radio in its entirety, 14 times over the last weekend in October 1975 and by the Monday Morning, record stores were inundated with requests.

• Bohemian Rhapsody was the only song to win Queen an MTV Music Video Award. 

• Bohemian Rhapsody is the most popular Muppets cover with just over 47 million views on YouTube. 

Bohemian Rhapsody | Muppet Music Video | The Muppets

• In November 1991, Bohemian Rhapsody became No.1 for a second time, when it was re-released by Queen immediately after Freddie Mercury’s passing to raise money in the fight against AIDS. 16 years after its original release.  This was the first time a song had topped the charts twice. In 1992 the song had yet another revival from the popularity of “Wayne’s World” with that famous clip.

Bohemian Rhapsody Wayne’s World HD

• It is generally recognised as the first promotional music video ever and it was based on the band’s Queen II album cover. Directed by Bruce Gowers, it was shot in 3 hours for £3,500 at the band’s rehearsal space

• This was Queen’s first Top 10 hit in the US. In the UK, where Queen was already established, it was #1 for 9 consecutive weeks, a record at the time. 

• Night at the Opera was the most expensive album ever made at the time. Queen used 6 different studios to record it.

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

• Mercury may have written “Galileo” into the lyrics for the benefit of Brian May, who now has a PHD in astrophysics . Galileo is a famous astronomer known for being the first to use a refracting telescope. 

• Scaramouche is a stock character from commedia dell’arte (improvised Drama from the Italian 16th century), a buffoon who always manages to wriggle out of the sticky situations he invariably finds himself in, usually at the expense of someone else. Original name ‘Scaramuccia’ means ‘skirmish’. “Scaramouch” means a boastful, yet cowardly person.

• Bohemian Rhapsody was one of five songs Freddie wrote for A Night at the Opera.

• Bohemian Rhapsody has been covered by many artists over the years, including some rather unlikely ones, such as Pink, Kanye West, Robbie Williams, Elaine Page, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Montserrat Caballe, The Muppets, and Elton John & Axl Rose (at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in April 1992). 

• Bohemian Rhapsody was voted The Song of the Millennium in 2000, and the Guinness Book of Records’ No 1 song of all time. 

• Bohemian Rhapsody was pressed on blue vinyl in 1978. Only 200 were pressed, and thus it is one of the most collectable records of all time.

• Bohemian Rhapsody first featured in Queen’s live show in the 1975 UK tour, which commenced in Liverpool on November 14th. It would feature in every concert thereafter, including Live Aid in 1985 and Queen’s final show with Freddie, on August 9th 1986. 

• Bohemian Rhapsody was Queen’s first UK single to feature a picture sleeve.

• Like all tracks from the NATO album, Bohemian Rhapsody was produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, with Mike Stone engineering.