Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody | Beyond The Lyrics | Story of Song (2024)

Story of Song

According to the band members of “Queen”, this classic single is one of Mercury’s great mysteries; only he knew truly how it would come together. There’s a possibility that Freddie could have been working on this song many years earlier. Chris Smith, the keyboard player in Mercury’s first band “Smile”, claimed that Freddie would play several piano compositions at rehearsals, including one called “The Cowboy Song,” which started with the line, “mama, just killed a man.” Kenny Everett, a London DJ, once asked Freddie Mercury about the song, Freddie said: “It’s one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then make up their own minds as to what it says to them.” Freddie continued, claiming that the lyrics were nothing more than “random rhyming nonsense.”

Could “random Rhyming nonsense” claim the number 1 spot on the charts in 6 different countries including the UK? Some critics even consider it one of the greatest records ever made!

In 1986, Freddie was asked in an interview with Lesley-Ann Jones, author of the biography Mercury, if ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was about him coming out as gay, he didn’t give a straight answer, and he was always very vague about the song’s meaning, admitting only that it was about “relationships.” Mercury’s family religion was “Zoroastrianism”, which doesn’t accept hom*osexuality. It is possible that Freddie made efforts to conceal his hom*osexuality because he didn’t want to offend his family. Jones says she spent time with his lover, Jim Hutton, after Freddie’s death, and he told her that the song was, in fact, Mercury’s confession that he was gay. Mercury’s good friend Tim Rice agreed, and offered some lyrical analysis to support the theory: “Mama, I just killed a man” meaning: He’s killed the old Freddie he was. “Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead” meaning: the old straight Freddie is dead. He’s destroyed the man he was trying to be, and now this is him, trying to live with the new Freddie.
“I see a little silhouetto of a man” – That’s him, still being haunted by what he’s done and what he is.

In an interview with Brian May on theQueen Videos Greatest HitsDVD, Brian said: “What is Bohemian Rhapsody about, well I don’t think we’ll ever know and if I knew I probably wouldn’t want to tell you anyway, because I certainly don’t tell people what my songs are about. I find that it destroys them in a way because the great thing about a great song is that you relate it to your own personal experiences in your own life. I think that Freddie was certainly battling with problems in his personal life, which he might have decided to put into the song himself. He was certainly looking at re-creating himself. But I don’t think at that point in time it was the best thing to do so he actually decided to do it later. I think it’s best to leave it with a question mark in the air.”

However, a simple interpretation of the song is about a boy pleading in front of an unsympathetic religious group after murdering a man. The word‘Bismillah’ means (In the name of Allah) and it’s the first word of every chapter of Al-Quran. A small voice in the group shows a little sympathy every now and then: “He’s just a poor boy from a poor family; Spare him his life from this monstrosity.”

Release date

Released on October 31, 1975


Freddie Mercury


EMI – Elektra – Parlophone – Hollywood

Chart Rankings

US – 9

UK – 1


This great record topped the chart in the UK. Kenny Everett, Freddie’s friend, played it on his Capital Radio broadcast before the song was released (courtesy of a copy Mercury gave him). It also peaked at number 1 in the Australia, Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, and New Zealand. The song was certified 4 times platinum in the UK and the US with combined digital sales of over 6.2 million copies. After Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991, “Bohemian Rhapsody” re-entered the charts in the UK reaching number 1 twice. In the US, after its appearance in the movieWayne’s World, it entered the charts again reaching number 2 and lasted in the charts for 17 weeks.

Artist’s age on release date

The band Queen was had been active for 5 years when they released ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

Cover Versions

No covers.

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody | Beyond The Lyrics | Story of Song (2024)


What is the deeper meaning of Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

Here is the crux of the song. Freddie here is referring to realising that he is bisexual (not gay). He has just murdered his old self, the person his parents knew and who has certain expectations placed upon him. Freddie knows he's going to disappoint his mother and as such the reference to having thrown it all away.

What does fandango mean in Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

He referr. As stated already Scaramouch was a clown character in Italian operas, and the Fandango is a dance. Therefore, the specific verse within Bohemian Rhapsody is actually someone that is instructing or asking a clown to do a dance or a jig for them.

Who really wrote Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

This September, as part of the 'Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own' Evening sale, Sotheby's is honoured to introduce to the market one of the most important artifacts in pop culture- a 15 page folio of handwritten draft lyrics for 'Bohemian Rhapsody', in composer Freddie Mercury's hand.

What does Scaramouche mean in Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

During that time, the name "Scaramouch" also gained notoriety as a derogatory word for "a cowardly buffoon" or "rascal." Today not many people use the word (which can also be spelled "scaramouche"), but you will encounter it while listening to Queen's ubiquitous rock song "Bohemian Rhapsody," in the lyric "I see a ...

What does Bismillah mean in Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

“Bohemian Rhapsody” brims with imaginative language and is a testament to Mercury's talents as a songwriter. Scaramouche was a buffoonish character in 16th-century commedia dell'arte shows; “Bismillah”, which is taken from the Quran, means “in the name of Allah”; Beelzebub is an archaic name for the devil.

What did Freddie Mercury call his mother? ›

What is the overall message of Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

I interpret this song as representing the internal struggle that Freddie Mercury had in coming out, in telling the world that he was a bisexual. I think it was probably very difficult for him. It didn't seem like reality. It seemed like fantasy.

Why was Bohemian Rhapsody so controversial? ›

There were a lot of people cheering against “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The film has been dogged by accusations of hom*ophobia, and the film's director, Bryan Singer, was accused of rape and sexual abuse. But as a gay historian, I keep coming back to something else – the tragic history that's glaringly absent from this movie.

What does Beelzebub mean in Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

So when Freddie Mercury wrote “Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me” it means that since he has murdered someone, he is going to hell for all eternity, and he. Beelzebub is a major demon in the Christian community. He is the fifth prince of hell, and is the prince of Gluttony.

What did Freddie Mercury's sister do? ›

Who was Freddie Mercury married to? ›

He wore a silver wedding band given to him by Kirchberger. A close friend described him as Mercury's "great love" in Germany. By 1985, he began another long-term relationship, with Irish-born hairdresser Jim Hutton (1949–2010) whom he referred to as his husband.

Whose life is Bohemian Rhapsody about? ›

Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical musical drama film that focuses on the life of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the British rock band Queen, from the formation of the band in 1970 to their 1985 Live Aid performance at the original Wembley Stadium.

Why did Queen name the song Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

"Bohemian" in the title doesn't refer to the region in the Czech Republic, but rather to what is known as the the bohemian lifestyle. A rhapsody is a free instrumental composition played in one extended movement, typically exuberant or full of pathos. So this fits the form of the song well.

Why does Bohemian Rhapsody say Galileo? ›

In one theory, it's explained that "Galileo was the name of Jesus Christ in Ancient Rome," and that the use of the phrase "Galileo Figaro Magnifico" is a slightly corrupted Latin phrase to signify "Magnify the Galilean's image."

What is the moral lesson of the Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

The life lesson here is this — It's easy to look at our own perceived “imperfections” or we can use those to our advantage. Freddie truly believes that he is born to do great things. This belief is what pushes him and his band to take more risks, work harder and eventually succeed.

What is the song trying to imply Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

In 1975, when this song was released, he had not come out as a bisexual and doing so was highly criticized by society. I interpret this song as representing the internal struggle that Freddie Mercury had in coming out, in telling the world that he was a bisexual.

What was so special about Bohemian Rhapsody? ›

Written by lead singer Freddie Mercury, the song is a six-minute suite, notable for its lack of a refraining chorus and consisting of several sections: an intro, a ballad segment, an operatic passage, a hard rock part and a reflective coda.

What is the purpose of Bohemian Rhapsody movie? ›

Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical musical drama film that focuses on the life of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the British rock band Queen, from the formation of the band in 1970 to their 1985 Live Aid performance at the original Wembley Stadium.


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