While Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is widely beloved, it’s meaning is a little oblique. During an interview, Freddie Mercury discussed how he feels people should interpret the song. Here’s what he had to say about its creation and meaning.
Why Freddie Mercury wanted Queen to make ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
In the book, Freddie Mercury: A Life in His Own Words, Mercury reveals the song was something he “wanted to do for a long while.” When Queen approached the making of their fourth album, Mercury decided he “was going to do it.”
Mercury reveals the composition was three songs he put together. He had a desire to do something operatic with a “mood-setter” opening, followed by a “rock type of thing.” Mercury states the song was not authentic opera and he was not an opera fanatic. However, he “wanted it to be opera in the rock ’n’ roll sense.” Further, he said he could bring the track as far as his “limited capacity could take me.”
The song was a juggernaut. Business Insider reports “Bohemian Rhapsody” was voted The Song of the Millennium in a poll from 2000. Mercury incorporated a cappella singing, balladry, opera, and rock into one song. While it’s easy to grasp the grandeur of the song, the meaning may not be as clear.
Here’s some of the supposed meanings of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
BBC America reports the meaning of “Bohemian Rhapsody” is intentionally opaque. One possibility is an account of Mercury’s sexuality and the impact of that on his relationship with his ex-fiance Mary Austin. Another possible interpretation relates to Mercury’s forced exit at the age of 18 out of his native Zanzibar. A more superficial meaning could be the song is relaying the story of a man who has killed another man, is consumed by feelings of guilt. But what did Mercury have to say about the meaning of “Bohemian Rhapsody?”
Freddie Mercury dishes on the meaning of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
In Freddie Mercury: A Life in His Own Words, Mercury reveals the song has “a fantasy feel about it.” He says when asked about the meaning he said he just did not know. He would not want the song to lose its “myth” and “mystique.” “I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then decide for themselves what it means to them,” he opined.
After all, Mercury hated analyzing his songs and lyrics. “I don’t like to explain what I was thinking when I wrote a song,” he said. “I prefer people to put their own interpretation upon it – to read into it whatever they like.” According to Mercury, to do otherwise would be “awful.”
He further said his songs tend to be complicated. “’Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a good one, but I still cannot understand it,” he said.While there are many interpretations of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Mercury would prefer fans find their own meanings in it.
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