Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………………..on November 23rd of 1976 Queen’s, “Bohemian Rhapsody” hit number one in the UK, where it stayed until the end of January 1977, longer than any other song since Slim Whitman’s “Rose Marie” in 1955. The promotional video that accompanied the song is generally acknowledged as being the first UK Pop video and cost 5,000 Pounds to produce. Freddie Mercury wrote the lyrics, and there has been a lot of speculation as to their meaning. Many of the words appear in the Qu’ran. “Bismillah” is one of these and it literally means “In the name of Allah.” The word “Scaramouch” means “A stock character that appears as a boastful coward.” “Beelzebub” is one of the many names given to The Devil. Mercury’s parents were deeply involved in Zoroastrianism, and these Arabic words do have a meaning in that religion. His family grew up in Zanzibar, but was forced out by government upheaval in 1964 and they moved to England. Some of the lyrics could be about leaving his homeland behind.  Another explanation is not to do with Mercury’s childhood, but his sexuality – it was around this time that he was starting to come to terms with his bisexuality, and his relationship with Mary Austin was falling apart. Mercury may have written “Galileo” into the lyrics for the benefit of Brian May, who is an astronomy buff. Galileo is a famous astronomer known for being the first to use a refracting telescope. Queen made a video for the song to air on Top Of The Pops, a popular British music show, because the song was too complex to perform live – or more accurately, be mimed live on TOTP. Also, the band would be busy on tour during the single’s release and thus unable to appear. This was Queen’s first Top 10 (#9) hit in the US. In the UK, where Queen was already established, it was #1 for 9 weeks, a record at the time. This got a whole new audience when it was used in the 1992 movie Wayne’s World, starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey.