• James Eves

A world without Bohemian Rhapsody as we know it



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 seeee...


The layered a capella, those harmonies, the introduction of the piano.


And unmistakable lyrics to something more than just a new single.


It was released on October 31st in 1975, before I was even born.


I don’t honestly remember the first time I heard this masterpiece. But I have fond memories of a cassette album my Dad had. And we would play it – among other greats – typically while painting the house, or on long car journeys.


I’m never very good at describing musical genres.


However, I could describe Bohemian Rhapsody as like a 10-course taster menu of sound.

Without having seen a menu.


A 6-minute experience full of surprises, twists and turns, that just keep you guessing and wondering what is next.


The talents of Freddie Mercury and Queen cannot be denied.


It did get me thinking about how pirate they were in this instance of their work.


Conventional songs of the period that would get airtime would fall somewhere within the 2 to 3 minute range.


Imagine those conversations between the band and producers.


“Look, Freddie, we love it, but we will never get it the airtime it deserves. It’s too long!”


The record company initially didn’t want to release Bohemian Rhapsody as a single.


This was a defining moment in history as I see it.


The band could have conceded, agreed with the producer’s conventional wisdom, and had to carve it up into something shorter to “fit in” with what was expected.


But they didn’t.


They were adamant that this was a finished piece and should be aired only in its entirety.


Enter some help from one of Freddie’s friends – DJ Kenny Everett (another pirate of entertainment!) who played the song 14 times in one weekend on Capital Radio.


Sticking to their guns, and enlisting support, this plotted the course for what became a number 1 hit single.


It still creates as much, if not more, of a buzz almost 5 decades later.


The great Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA was quoted as saying “I was green with envy when I heard ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ It was a piece of sheer originality that took rock and pop away from the normal path.”


And we need more people in the world who move away from the normal path.


Those who inspire others to be creative, to be brave, and to forge ahead, lighting the way.


Would the car scene in the movie Wayne’s World have been as iconic if Queen hadn’t released the full song? I doubt it.


So, in your life, in your work, what has always been done the same way, and you see that something else is required to make it much richer and better?


Go do that.


“You can be anything you want to be, just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be.” – Freddie Mercury.

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