Queen The Greatest Live – I Was Born To Love You (Episode 47)

Queen The Greatest Live - I Was Born To Love You © Miracle Productions
Image: © Miracle Productions

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 – I Was Born To Love You (Episode 47)

Over the past decade, Queen + Adam Lambert tours have treated fans to rare performances of cult songs that never featured on the vintage setlists of the ’70s and ’80s. For Japan’s Summer Sonic Festival 2014, the band unleashed this high-energy take on I Was Born To Love You, earning a hero’s welcome from a nation that holds the song close to its heart. 

‘Too many hits’ is a problem most bands would kill for. But while the Queen setlists of the ’70s and ’80s practically wrote themselves – demanding the inclusion of every last anthem and almost inciting a riot if the fans’ favourites were not performed – the post-millennium has seen the modern lineup explore less familiar corners of the catalogue live. 

To Western audiences, I Was Born To Love You is a cult gem, first released on Freddie Mercury’s 1985 solo album, Mr. Bad Guy, then reworked for Queen’s posthumous 1995 release, Made In Heaven. But with Queen + Adam Lambert heading to Japan next month for the continuing Rhapsody Tour, this week’s footage from Summer Sonic Festival 2014 is a timely reminder that, to Far Eastern fans, I Was Born To Love You is up there with the greatest hits. 

The roots of Japan’s love affair with Queen go right back to the band’s inaugural visit in April 1975. But the nation fell for the Freddie-penned power ballad in 1996 when it was used for a TV commercial for Japanese brewed Kirin beer. The single became their first song to enter the Japanese charts since 1977. In 2004 it was used as the opening for the successful ice hockey themed TV drama series Pride, further cementing its position as one of the band’s most popular tracks in Japan.

As such, when Queen + Adam Lambert returned to Japan for 2014’s Summer Sonic – complete with a showstopping rendition of I Was Born To Love You that saw Adam dash through the crowd during Brian’s fingertapped guitar solo – there had never been a headliner so rapturously received. “Summer Sonic is like Glastonbury,” says promoter and music executive Kaz Utsunomiya. “I’ve seen many festivals, but everyone I talk to, including fans and record company people, say that was the biggest ending act of any Summer Sonic…”      

Says Brian May: “I had an obsession with the song, and had the idea to make a new version, simulating how it would have sounded if we had been able to play it live with Freddie on stage.  So the Queen version was put together as a ‘virtual’ live track, using Freddie’s spectacular vocal as the central thread.  Roger and John and I played our parts live, to a rearranged template I’d put together – complete with some additions to the arrangement, taking some liberties with the vocal, and even borrowing some choice Freddie ad-libs, to add to the feeling that it was a live band recording.  Little did we know that years later we’d have the opportunity with Adam to finally bring this arrangement to life on a real stage.” 

Queen The Greatest Live – I Was Born To Love You (Episode 47)

Next Week: These Are The Days Of Our Lives
Photo © Miracle Productions