Freddie Mercury: 1 Banned Music Video Ended Queen’s Success within the U.S.

by Jeremy Spirogis
Freddie Mercury: 1 Banned Music Video Ended Queen’s Success in the U.S.

Queen might not have been probably the most squeaky-clean band ever (partially because of Freddie Mercury’s antics) however some followers won’t know they made a music video so controversial it was banned from MTV. Surprisingly, a Queen music video which appeared innocuous in Britain was thought of obscene in North America. Here’s the story of “I Want to Break Free.”

Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Freddie Mercury and Brian May | John Rodgers/Redferns

The historical past of ‘I Want to Break Free’

“I Want to Break Free” is a enjoyable anthem of empowerment. Combining an ideal guitar lick and a usually dedicated vocal efficiency from Mercury, it’s a troublesome music to dislike. Ultimate Classic Rock says the music’s distinct keyboard riff was offered by Fred Mandel, who beforehand labored with Alice Cooper. Rolling Stone experiences the music was launched as a single in 1984. The music video for the observe brought about nice controversy which most likely wouldn’t occur today.

According to Rolling Stone, the video for “I Want to Break Free” is a parody of the British cleaning soap opera Coronation Street. It options members of the band in drag in a approach which hearkens again to Bugs Bunny and the early days of drag comedy. Brits received the joke, nonetheless, others had been incensed by the video. Loudersound says MTV banned the video in North America.

Original member of Queen remembers the controversy

In an NPR interview, Terry Gross requested Queen’s Brian May how followers seen Mercury in gentle of his private life. May mentioned “As for the fans, I don’t know. You know, it was never really discussed. But I remember doing a promo tour for this song that we did which was called ‘I Want To Break Free.’”

Brian May, Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury, and John Deacon of Queen | Dave Hogan/Getty Images

He added “Now we made a video for that which was a pastiche of an English cleaning soap referred to as Coronation Street. And we dressed up because the characters in that cleaning soap. And there have been feminine characters, so we had been dressing up as ladies, as girls…we had a unbelievable giggle doing it.”

May recalled “It was hilarious to do it. And all around the world, people laughed. And they got the joke, and they sort of understood it.”

Things had been completely different in America. “I remember being on the promo tour in the Midwest of America and people’s faces turning ashen. And they would say, no, we can’t play this. We can’t possibly play this.”

The video harm Queen’s profession – and brought about Freddie Mercury to get pelted

Queen in Brazil, January 1985 | Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Rolling Stone says the controversy brought about MTV to ban the video. In an period the place MTV dominated the musical panorama, this was a demise sentence for a music’s industrial success. Ultimate Classic Rock experiences the video ended Queen’s industrial viability within the U.S. The music solely hit quantity 45 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Things had been even worse in Brazil. The video impressed somebody there to pelt rocks at Mercury throughout a live performance. All for a video! The world has modified so much since Queen’s heydey. If there’s any message to be gleaned from Mercury’s life, it’s you can maintain your head up within the darkest of occasions.

Also see: Elton John Remembers the Best of His Friendship With Freddie Mercury

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