The Real Story of How Queen Created Bohemian Rhapsody
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In the late autumn of 1968, a young art student, known by the name of Freddie Mercury, resided in the heart of London, attending Ealing Art College. A man of profound creativity and an unquenchable thirst for originality, he penned the first lines of what he referred to as “The Cowboy Song,” not knowing it would morph into a legendary piece of music history.
Mercury was a remarkable figure of his time, possessing an inventive mind always eager to explore beyond the boundaries of conventional wisdom. His future work was yet unbeknownst to him, the germ of an idea incubating in the recesses of his musical imagination. This idea, like a seed in fertile soil, began to sprout. It did not follow the traditional structure of contemporary music; it dared to reach for something unprecedented, much like the composer himself.
Years later, when the name Queen came to life, and the Cowboy Song had evolved into the yet-unnamed “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Mercury would gather his comrades – Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon. Around the piano, Mercury would delve into his vision, piece by piece, like a painter adding strokes of colour to a canvas. His fingers would dance on the keys, his voice resonating through the silent room, introducing his comrades to an unexplored musical landscape, a symphony of sounds woven into an intricate tapestry of creativity.
The year 1975 marked the pivotal moment in their lives. A decision was taken – it was time to breathe life into this musical dream. A Herculean effort ensued, spanning six different studios, countless hours, sweat, and passion. The most daunting task was the operatic section, a sonata that echoed the grandeur of an 180-voice choir, meticulously crafted from the voices of Mercury, May, and Taylor. The tape they used, burdened with the weight of countless vocal overdubs, was on the verge of surrendering to the wear.
Finally, when the masterpiece was finished, it dared to defy the norms once again, stretching beyond six minutes in length. The world around them was dubious, including their own record company, EMI. The axiom of the age asserted that the radio stations would disregard a song of such length.
The world claimed, “Such a song would not find its audience.” Even Elton John, a respected comrade, shook his head in disbelief and queried, “Are you guys mad?”
Yet, they found a beacon in Kenny Everett, a popular radio DJ, who took their side. A tantalizing game ensued. Everett would tease the audience, play mere fragments of this masterpiece on air, refusing to reveal it in its entirety. Like a snowball rolling downhill, curiosity grew, demand surged, until it was undeniable. Everett finally succumbed to public demand, revealing the entire masterpiece. The response was thunderous.
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” an unconventional brainchild of a visionary mind, found its rightful place in the world, leaving an indelible imprint on music history. It manifested itself as a testament to the power of passion, creativity, and the audacity to challenge norms. Much like a Tolstoy novel, it proved that art does not always adhere to set formulas and norms but thrives on the breath of originality.
What are you listening to tonight?