Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody

Queen

Widely considered to be one of the greatest songs of all time, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was the first single released from Queen’s fourth studio album, A Night at the Opera. It became an international success, reaching #1 in seven countries and peaking at #9 in the United States. Seventeen years after its initial release, “Bohemian Rhapsody” re-entered the pop charts in the US, peaking at #2 after being featured in the 1992 hit movie Wayne’s World. In 2002, the song was listed at #1 in a Guinness World Records poll as Britain’s favourite single of all time—ranking higher than four Beatles tracks and “Imagine” by John Lennon.

Complex and operatic both musically and lyrically, “Bohemian Rhapsody” (like Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and The Eagles“Hotel California”) has attracted endless fan theories and commentary. The surviving band members have claimed that the narrative is based on the Faust legend; critics have found possible sources in opera and Freddie Mercury’s personal biography; but like any good piece of art, it’s open to interpretation.

The word “Bohemian” seems to refer to a group of artists and musicians from the 19th century, known for defying convention and living with disregard for standards; as opposed to the region of Bohemia in the Czech Republic. Meanwhile the term “rhapsody” (derived from the Greek: ῥαψῳδός or rhapsōidos for a reciter of epic poetry, or a rhapsodist) is a piece of classical music with distinct sections that are played as one movement. Rhapsodies often feature dense themes or narratives.

As of December 2018, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the most streamed song of the 20th century.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” has got a very diverse song structure. It includes:
Intro (0:00-0:49)
Ballad section (0:49-2:37)
Brian May‘s’ guitar solo (2:37-3:05)
Operatic verse (3:05-4:07)
Hard-rock verse (4:07-4:54)
Coda (4:54-5:55)