Epic. Honestly, that is the best way to describe Queen's 1975 hit, Bohemian Rhapsody. It's epic in how great the song is, but also in how complex it is. This is not a normal song by any means. But that is what makes it so great. Then again, its uniqueness is also what has made it so damn popular and almost annoying at times as everyone seems to want to scream it at the top of their lungs when it comes on, almost turning the song into a joke. But I guess, I would rather have this than a total ambivalence toward this masterpiece.
The song was pretty much all conceived by lead singer, Freddy Mercury. Although all written down in the studio before recording, the whole song from beginning to end was in Mercury's head prior to actually working on it. The song took three weeks to record and with all the dubbing and redubbing of vocals, it was at that time, the most expensive single ever produced. The band has never explicitly come out and said what the lyrics means, although countless interpretations have been made from Mercury's personal life struggles to the song is nonsensical and only made to rhyme as best as it can. Upon release, the song had very mixed reviews, from critics calling it a masterpiece to the ones who considered it horrible. Some studio executives thought it was too long of a song to ever become a hit. But they were wrong, as it reached number #1 in the UK for 9 weeks and reached #9 on the Billboard charts at the same time. Sixteen years later, the song reached #2 in the US when it was rereleased to coincide with the opening of the movie Wayne's World. This was a big boost for the song as it had kind of dropped off the map and wasn't really being played anymore on the radio, even on classic rock stations. The video is also monumental as it is considered ground-breaking for using more than just clips of the band playing and it has been hailed as the video that launched the idea for MTV and the MTV age.
Clearly, with me knowing the lyrics, I will attempt to sing and play the keyboard at the same time. It should be fun. But I will also have to play the guitar as there are some great guitar solos mid-song and near the end. On a side note, although not a performance by Queen, here is my favorite live performance of the song, taken from the Freddy Mercury tribute concert shortly after his death. It's perfect, breath taking, and so emotional.