No, we will not let you go, "Bohemian Rhapsody." Queen's epic, nearly six-minute 1975 opus has become a classic rock anthem, despite the meaning of the lyrics being a mystery. For example, who is Scaramouche and why are they doing the fandango?
Some may find the story of how Queen recorded "Bohemian Rhapsody" surprising. The song became a No. 1 hit in the UK (twice, in 1975 and 1991); took the top spot in a Rolling Stone Readers' Poll of "The Best Vocal Performances in Rock History;" received two Grammy nominations in 1976; and landed on the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame's list of "500 Songs That Shaped Rock." And yet lead vocalist Freddie Mercury and the rest of Queen had trouble convincing their record company to champion the song.
Studio stories about Queen and the hours spent making "Bohemian Rhapsody" offer insight into the process, genius, and risk the band took to compose the song.