How Queen's Don't Stop Me Now became one of their best-loved hits

1 April 2024, 10:30

Queen - Don't Stop Me Now (Official Video)

"Tonight, I'm gonna have myself a real good time..." Freddie Mercury's pure expression of joy remains one of Queen's most enduring singles.

By Martin O'Gorman

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There were many, many sides to Queen. From the mystical worlds of Seven Seas Of Rhye to the dramatic opera of Bohemian Rhapsody. The heavy rock of Hammer To Fall to the white funk of Another Ones Bites The Dust. Name a genre and Queen probably had a crack at it.

Having each of the four members write songs was a key to the variety and ingenuity of the band, allowing different tastes and influences to sink into their work.

Don't Stop Me Now was written by the charismatic frontman Freddie Mercury at a time in his life when hedonism was king. As Brian May later told MOJO magazine, that the song depicts a time when the singer was "taking lots of drugs and having sex with lots of men".

Freddie Mercury onstage with Queen, December 1979
Freddie Mercury onstage with Queen, December 1979. Picture: Gus Stewart/Redferns/Getty Images

Written in the luxurious surroundings of Montreux, Switzerland, for Queen's seventh studio album, Jazz, the song is an honest expression of life, fun and having a good time, good time. As the theatrical opening states, the singer is literally "floating around in ecstasy".

"I'm burnin' through the sky, yeah!" cries Freddie as the song reaches full pelt. "Two hundred degrees, that's why they call me Mr Fahrenheit!"

Strangely, seeing as it's now one of Queen's most popular tunes - it's had 1.8 billion Spotify streams and counting - Don't Stop Me Now only reached number 9 in the UK charts on its release in January 1979. In the US, it barely scraped into the Billboard Top 100, stalling at #86.

America hadn't fully come to terms with the flamboyant ways of Freddie Mercury, or their tongue-in-cheek excess - at the time, Rolling Stone called Queen "the first truly fascist rock band".

No matter. Don't Stop Me Now is now a stone cold classic from the Queen catalogue and has appeared in countless TV ads, talent shows and movies. Edgar Wright used it to back a zombie attack in the comedy Shaun Of The Dead, saying it "Seemed their most obvious showstopper to me. Perfect for killing zombies."

Shaun of the Dead: Don't Stop Me Now

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