I believe that, for some cosmic reason, everyone everywhere is compelled to mime the video for Bohemian Rhapsody and break out into song. Tell me – have you gone anywhere and heard this song on, say, a radio without somebody accompanying it with mime and/or cooperative singing? Everywhere you go, people are air guitaring and air pianoing to this opus of rock and roll. Singers, terrible and great alike, cannot help but bust their lungs and match Freddie’s prodigious pipes.
It’s not just because of Wayne’s World, either, because that movie drew from reality. People in cars across America and England could not help to fall into this musical trance led by the Pied Piper of Rock. Even the Muppets, who aren’t even real people, are lured via the siren song of Freddie Mercury. I’ve always loved Queen, as their various rock ballads have been a core part of my musical upbringing. My first music video was “Another One Bites the Dust,” for instance. My brothers always had Queen records playing, so I became very familiar with the discography of Freddie, John, Brian, and Roger.
They’ve made a lot of good tracks, but Bohemian Rhapsody is the quintessential Queen song. Big lyrics, big guitars, and big feeling all combine to create something with a soul bigger than musical notes. That’s why it resonates with people so much – the lyrics can be interpreted a thousand different ways. It also has a solid musical narrative from beginning to end, and is never boring. For a rock anthem, it’s pretty much got everything, including this cosmic force that compels people to act differently when they hear it.
It’s rare when a musician, or group of musicians as it were, has the power to do that, and it makes you wonder what the world would be like today if Freddie was still alive. Queen’s not the same with him gone, even though Brian and Roger are still musically involved together. Then again, they could have slid into mediocrity and we’d be slamming them for not knowing when to quit. I’m never quite sure what happens to musicians.