Queen The Greatest Live: Radio Ga Ga (Episode 33)

Roger Taylor on drums
© Queen Productions

“Queen The Greatest Live” The Greatest series returns with a year-long celebration of Queen Live.

“Queen The Greatest Live” The Greatest series returns with a year-long celebration of Queen Live.

A 50-week YouTube series going behind the scenes to reveal what goes into creating a Queen show, featuring moments from iconic performances and demonstrating why the band is regarded as the ultimate live act.

Queen The Greatest Live : Radio Ga Ga (Episode 33)

There are few better examples of band and audience in total harmony than Roger Taylor’s classic 1984 single Radio Ga Ga. Across borders and language barriers, everyone in the stadium knows exactly what to do – and the result is one of the most life-affirming moments of unity that rock ‘n’ roll has to offer.

The Queen audience are a rhythm section in their own right – and as we see in the latest episode of Queen The Greatest Live, when it comes to stadium-shaking handclaps, Radio Ga Ga is a match for even the mighty We Will Rock You.

As one of Queen’s defining hits of the ’80s, Radio Ga Ga was written by Roger Taylor, who worked for three days straight in the studio with a synth and drum machine to craft this ode to the golden age of the airwaves. “That’s part of what the song’s about, really,” the drummer told the UK’s Breakfast Time presenter Frank Bough as the song hit UK#2 in 1984. “The fact that music videos seem to be taking over almost from the aural side – the visual side seems to be almost more important.”

While the verse felt at once triumphant and wistful, it was Radio Ga Ga’s chorus – inviting an almost Pavlovian double-handclap – that gave Queen yet another crowd-participation flashpoint. Yet it took Freddie Mercury to recognise the song’s anthem potential. “I think Roger was thinking about it as just another track,” reflected the singer, who finished off Radio Ga Ga. “But I instantly felt there was something in there, a really good, strong, saleable commodity.”

As ever, Freddie was proved emphatically right, with Radio Ga Ga’s human percussion ringing out at every Queen show from its release until the original lineup stepped back from the road in the late-’80s. And if you were never lucky enough to be in that sea of hands, catch the atmosphere with this week’s electrifying archive footage from the band’s history-making Hungary’s Népstadion concert on the 1986 Magic Tour

Queen The Greatest Live: Radio Ga Ga (Episode 33)

Next Week: Queen The Greatest Live – Freddie Mercury