Bohemian Rhapsody: 10 things you didn’t know about the Queen classic

31 October 2019, 19:16 | Updated: 31 October 2019, 19:21

Queen in 1975: Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury, Brian May and John Deacon
Queen in 1975: Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury, Brian May and John Deacon. Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Queen’s legendary song was released on 31 October 1975. But how well do you know this immortal track?

  1. The opening piano section of the track originally known as The Cowboy Song, according to Freddie Mercury’s friend Chris Smith.

  2. Mercury later revealed that Bohemian Rhapsody was three different songs that he’d written, and compiled together into one epic.

  3. Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded in Wales - specifically, Rockfield Studios in Momouth.

  4. The opera section took three weeks to record

    It required so many overdubs, you could see clear through the tape by the end. Producer Roy Thomas Baker recalled: “Every time Freddie came up with another 'Galileo', I would add another piece of tape to the reel.”

  5. Bismillah means “In the name of God!” in Arabic.

    Queen in concert at the New Theatre, Oxford, November 1974
    Queen in concert at the New Theatre, Oxford, November 1974. Picture: Andre Csillag/Shutterstock
  6. Mercury later claimed that the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody are just “random rhyming nonsense”.

  7. Despite being just under six minutes long, Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t even the longest song on the album A Night At The Opera

    That honour goes to the epic track The Prophet’s Song; an even more complex recording which clocks in at 8 minutes and 21 seconds.

  8. The first person to play the song on the radio was Kenny Everett on Capital.

    He played it fourteen times in two days and was in many ways responsible for the success of the single.

    Kenny Everett in the studio, October 1973
    Kenny Everett in the studio, October 1973. Picture: Photoshot/Getty Images
  9. The famous video for Bohemian Rhapsody was shot in just four hours.

    The clip was shot by director Bruce Gowers at Elstree studios in Borehamwood - now the home of EastEnders and Big Brother. The band were concerned that trying to mime to the song on TV would be awkward, plus they were about to set off on a UK tour that would take them through to Christmas Eve. The promo video was made on 10 November 1975 at the soundstage where Queen were rehearsing for their first date in Liverpool four days later. It wasn't the first pop video ever made, but was certainly the most influential - the single's nine week reign at No 1 was attributed to the effectiveness of the clip. From that point on, Queen would shoot a video for every single - and a lot of other artists followed suit.

    Queen shooting the video for You're My Best Friend at Elstree in April 1976
    Queen shooting the video for You're My Best Friend at Elstree in April 1976. Picture: Martyn Goddard/Shutterstock
  10. Despite reaching Number 1 twice in the UK charts, it only reached Number 9 on its initial release in the US.

    Freddie Mercury and Brian May onstage in Oxford, November 1974
    Freddie Mercury and Brian May onstage in Oxford, November 1974. Picture: Andre Csillag/Shutterstock

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