“Queen The Greatest”: a celebration of 50 of the greatest moments from the Queen story so far. This week, Queen: 1975 Bohemian Rhapsody - Making History
A journey through Queen's greatest achievements would not be complete without including the ground-breaking Bohemian Rhapsody. Even though as the song came together in the studio the band believed something special was emerging, the impact it would make and continue to have was beyond their wildest expectations, changing the music industry forever.
Delivering the band their first number one hit single, it went on to become the only song to sell over a million copies on two occasions in the UK, is the most-streamed song of the 20th Century, and in March 2021 reached the extremely rare RIAA Diamond status in the US, making Queen the first British band ever to earn this award.
While the weeks of painstaking work in the studio to create this masterpiece are well documented, no one could have predicted that just four hours spent by the band at the UK’s Elstree Studios on the 10th of November would change the course of music history forever…
Brian May: “To be honest we weren’t too keen on going on ’Top of the Pops’ and standing on those little podiums and kind of miming Bohemian Rhapsody. It would have been really crap.”
Roger: “We used an outside broadcast sports unit to bring in their cameras into Elstree (Studios) where we were rehearsing. And we could go on the road and that (video) could be on Top of the Pops and we realised ‘wow’ you don’t even have to be here to promote your record now…just make one of these little video films and that’s got to be the way in the future. We were the first to do that.”
Freddie: “It’s the first video that actually took any kind of effect into actually making sales. A lot of videos were probably made before, but they didn’t sell records. I think that’s the first that actually worked.”
Directed by Bruce Gowers and costing just £4500, the promo for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is widely regarded to have given birth to the practice of creating music videos.
The video’s dramatic imagery has become as iconic and recognisable as the song itself. It’s no surprise then that it was the first pre-1990’s music video to pass the 1 billion views milestone on YouTube.
Next week: Behind The Hits - Part 1. A strand celebrating all four band members as hit songwriters. Part 1 looks at five chart successes written by Roger Taylor.