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Queen Shares "Bohemian Rhapsody" Documentary To Celebrate 40th Anniversary [YouTube Official Videos]

Zac Lavender

by Zac Lavender

Published November 2, 2015

In honor of the 40th anniversary of "Bohemian Rhapsody," Queen has just shared a fascinating, in-depth documentary on the making of their 1975 hit along with a 1982 live performance at The Bowl. Check them out below, via YouTube.

Inside The Rhapsody - Queen (Full Documentary)
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody (Live at The Bowl 1982)

LYRICS

 

<h5>Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody" Lyrics</h5>

<blockquote>
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go, little high, little low
Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me

Mama, just killed a man, put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away
Mama, ooh, didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters
Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine, body's aching all the time
Goodbye, everybody, I've got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama, ooh, I don't want to die
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very fright'ning me
(Galileo.) Galileo. (Galileo.) Galileo. Galileo figaro magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
He's just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go
(Let him go!) Bismillah! We will not let you go
(Let him go!) Bismillah! We will not let you go
(Let me go.) Will not let you go
(Let me go.) Will not let you go. (Let me go.) Ah
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
(Oh mamma mia, mamma mia) Mama mia, let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me!

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh, baby, can't do this to me, baby!
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here!

Nothing really matters, anyone can see
Nothing really matters
Nothing really matters to me
Any way the wind blows
</blockquote>

Since its release on October 31, 1975, "Bohemian Rhapsody" has gone on to sell 6.5 million copies worldwide and has become iconic for its genre-defying art rock statement. But what goes into making such a successful creative endeavor? In the above documentary, Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May discuss the song's creation and music video shoot.

As drummer Roger Taylor explains, "All the elements were in Freddie's mind, he literally had them all lined up like little soldiers... all the harmonies he wrote out in little blocks on the back of a telephone directory."

Since Freddie Mercury is no longer alive to discuss the song's exact genesis or meaning, Roger and Brian do their best to relay Freddie's vision. "We were trying to push forward the boundaries," guitarist Brian May states, "We were trying to do things which had not been done." Neither of them would offer an analysis of Freddie's lyrical content for the song, primarily because Freddie had always been dismissive of his lyrics as "nothing below the surface."

The music video was broadcast on television as a promotional tool for the single, which was rare in the days before MTV. The core of the video was shot on a live stage which helped to showcase Queen as a live band. According to Roger Taylor, the camera work was "very basic." Most of the effects were done in-camera using Prism lens and video feedback.

For the second half of the documentary, Brian May takes us into the studio and goes through each stem to show how this multi-layered tour-de-force was made. In the mix there are some hidden gems. We hear Brian's use of Guitar extended techniques such as harmonics and the "shivers down my spine" effect which is a strum over the top of the guitar past the fretboard. He also used different guitar tones to emphasize the individual runs leading up to the end of the song.

While the backing vocal harmonies in the opening are all Freddie, some of the complex harmonies during the operatic section required Brian, Roger, and Freddie to track three different versions of them singing unison on the same line so that there would be nine voices total on each voice of the harmony. For the "Magnifico" section, they overdubbed using a bell-like approach that Brian likens to the work of Claudio Monteverdi.

Brian also sheds some light on Freddie's process with regards to embellishing his lead vocals while double-tracking. May notes that while the vocals in the hard rock, "so you think you can love me" section are not perfectly double-tracked ("Freddie could have done that if he wanted to") this was the desired effect. It was similar to John Lennon's intentional imperfections when double-tracking with The Beatles, which Brian May found gave a level of humanity to the two different voices.

"The Beatles were our Bible," Brian explains, "although we were able to take some things further than The Beatles because we had better technology and the benefit of their experience." But as Brian adds later in the video "I don't think we beat The Beatles, no one beats The Beatles."

The 44-minute documentary was released on Queen's Greatest Video Hits 1 DVD in 2002. Pick it up on Amazon. The live performance comes from Queen on Fire – Live at the Bowl, recorded at the Milton Keynes Bowl, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England, on 5 June 1982.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" first appeared on the album A Night At The Opera, which is available on Amazon (Vinyl, CD, MP3).

For more Queen music, news, and tour dates, check out their Zumic artist page.

Source: Queen Official YouTube Channel

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