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"Bohemian Rhapsody"

"Bohemian Rhapsody" represents Queen's greatest achievement and is one of rock music's best-loved singles. "Bo Rhap" consistently features in Best Song Ever polls and was the first song ever to get to number one twice in the same version.

By the mid-70s Queen were already a moderately successful group with three hit singles in the bag – "Seven Seas of Rye", "Killer Queen" and "Now I'm Here". But in October 1975 – against their record company's advice – they released a six minute song that featured elements of ballad, opera and storming rock stomp. Against all expectations, "Bohemian Rhapsody" flew into the number one slot and remained there for nine weeks.

"Bo Rhap" was Freddie Mercury's musical tour de force – it took almost three weeks to record with the operatic section alone taking seven days to complete.

Freddie Mercury
"That middle section got longer and longer and longer … We were all in hysterics when it was being recorded… "

Bohemian Rhapsody is usually also remembered as the song that brought the pop video to a mass audience. Taking only three hours to shoot and costing a mere £3500, this innovative and memorable promo helped to propel Bo Rhap to #1 around the world.

Roger Taylor
"It was the first video to be used as a really successful promotional tool."

Bohemian Rhapsody topped the charts for nine weeks when it was released in 1975, and went on to achieve legendary status when the British Phonographic Industry bestowed the Britannia Award for "The Best British Pop Single Of The Last 25 Years" in 1977.

Freddie Mercury
"It was quite a mammoth task … between the three of us we recreated a 160 to 200 piece choir effect … we had to sit there going 'no, no, no, no, no, no, no!' about 150 times."

"Galileo, Galileo, Galileo Figarooooooooo!" The choral effects in the 'mini-opera' section were performed by three of the band members with only 24 tracks to record on.

It was the first song ever to go to number one twice in the same version, the second time in 1991 following the death of lead singer Freddie Mercury, and in 2002 it topped the Radio 2 Best of British music poll.

Recommended reading:
Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography - Lesley-Ann Jones. Published 1998, Coronet.

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Songwriting tips

Queen and their producers and engineers took music production to new levels with Bo Rhap.

Find out more in our Producing & Arranging guide
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