IMO, there are only a handful of songs that truly resonate across generations:
- Beatles – “Eleanor Rigby”
- Doors – “Riders On The Storm”
- Jimi Hendrix – “Voodoo Chile”
- Led Zeppelins – “Stairway To Heaven”
- Thin Lizzy – “Whiskey In The Jar”
But while in Berkeley, California a little over a week ago for the launch of Vivid Audio’s stunning new B1 Decade, I bought a recent reissue, a 12″ single of Queen’s iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. What a masterpiece of a song!
It was originally released in 1975… It begins with an introduction, then a piano ballad, guitar solo, operatic interlude, hard rock & concludes with a coda. The suite musical format was uncommon in both pop or rock music at the time but widely practiced by the English progressive rock bands of the day (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes). Indeed, Bohemian Rhapsody was arguably the zenith of progressive rock before it was overtaken by the tsunami of Punk which arrived the following year in 1976.
At almost six minutes long, it was considered too long for normal radio air play, so a “pop promo” was shot and widely distributed for free to the television stations, generating huge demand for the single. This was before MTV and was considered ground breaking in its day.
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody reinterpreted for its 40th anniversary was a stunning version, juxtaposing a string quartet against a young choir, underpinned by a piano foundation (originally played by Freddy Mercury on a Beckstein). It breathes new life into a justifiably revered pop song.