Writer(s): Fredde Mercury (see lyrics here)
Released: October 31, 1975
First Charted: November 8, 1975
Peak: 2 US, 11 CB, 4 GR, 4 HR, 3 RR, 1 CL, 16 AR, 9 CO, 114 UK, 12 CN, 12 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 2.8 UK, 13.78 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1358.8 video, 2187.88 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Called “one of the most complex singles ever recorded,” KL “Bohemian Rhapsody” begins as a ballad, veers into opera, and ends as rock. Recording took place over three weeks in six studios TC with 180 overdubs. KL More than 70 hours went into the completion of the operatic parts. KL There is a myth TB that the tapes became nearly transparent RS500 from more than 180 overdubs. KL The song was so complicated to play live that the band shot a promo clip which has come to be considered instrumental in the dawning of the video era. KL
Theories abound about the song’s meaning. Some say it is about a man calling to God for help on the eve of his execution. WK Others claim it is about Mercury’s attempt to break away from a lover after his first gay encounter. WK It has also been suggested that the lyrics have no meaning; they were just written to fit the music. WK Lead singer Freddie Mercury never did explain it, only saying that it was a about relationships. The band still protects the song’s secret. WK
When record execs wouldn’t release it, Mercury gave a copy to a DJ friend. This prompted fans to try to buy the non-existing single, which finally led to its release. WK It went top 10 in the U.S. and topped the British charts with more than a million sales. MG
In the wake of Mercury’s death in 1991 and inclusion in the 1992 movie Wayne’s World, the song re-charted, peaking at #2 in the U.S. In the U.K., it topped the charts again – the only song to ever do so – giving it a total of 14 weeks on top. It also sold another million copies. MG
Last updated 7/14/2023.