Queen: Days of Our Lives (2011) Script

There's been a lot of rumours lately 'bout certain band for Queen, the rumour said that we are going to split up. What do you think?

SHOUTS OF "No!" They're talking from here.

So forget those rumours. We're going to stay together until we fucking well die, I'm sure of it!

INTRO TO: "One Vision"


There really wasn't much sex... Well, there wasn't much drugs.

You wouldn't be able to do that now.

♪ One man

♪ One goal

♪ One mission... ♪ For that moment, we kind of owned the world.

Where's the modesty gone? There isn't any.

♪ One solution... ♪ Press are never quite understood, A lot of the press took against them.

♪ Yeah, one God... ♪ England doesn't really think we're that cool.

But I mean I don't want some arsehole critic to tell me that.

You might as well paint a target on your head and go, "Shoot me!"

I think when you go all the way up, the only place is to come down.

Controversy Behind Sun City I wish I'd never heard of the place!

♪ I'm gonna tell you there's no black and no white... ♪ Whenever the band came under pressure, there would be a walk-out, a separation, a row.

♪ One worldwide vision... ♪ We were at a crucial point. We might have had to break up.

The arguments were creative, then it would become personal. Of course.

There is an inward jealousy.

They're all wondering & all waiting to see if my album is going to do better than the last Queen album.

Freddie took to the gay scene like David Attenborough making a wildlife programme.

I just want to pack in as much of life and having a good time as much as I can.

'London - the Imperial College of Science and Technology, 'meeting place for space scientists from 50 nations, 'specialists who will help develop the equipment which has taken mankind to the new age of space exploration.'

We've got Brian May on guitar. APPLAUSE I was studying Physics as an undergraduate here, but Astronomy was always my thing.

And so I did the Astronomy post-graduate for a PhD.

When we were at school, me and my mates had a group called 1984.

When I left for university, the singer we had, Tim Staffell, and myself decided to put a new group together called Smile.

We've got Roger Meddows-Taylor on percussion.

There was a noticeboard here where you would pin items of interest to musicians, so I put a notice saying "drummer wanted".

"We need Ginger Baker/Mitch Mitchell type drummer."

I booked this little jazz club room here and Roger brought his kit and I brought a guitar.

That was the first time we played together.

♪ When she was done

♪ She hung them up... ♪ Something happened, I have to say. We thought, "There is some kind of special sound to this."

♪ Goodbye, April Lady... ♪ I guess we had the same sort of sound in our heads.

♪ Goodbye, April Lady

♪ You've done a lot for the folks in this town... ♪

Freddie Mercury on vocals. APPLAUSE Freddie came from a colonial background.

He was born in Zanzibar and he went to boarding school in India.

I first met Freddie at Ealing Art School in 1968.

There was a piano down there and Freddie would do this flowery style on the piano.

It was very Mozart and effective, but unique. You'd never seen anybody play the piano like that before.

The first time he sang, I knew straight away that that voice was going places.

♪ The minute you walked in the joint

♪ I could see you were a man of distinction

♪ A real big spender

♪ Good-looking, so refined

♪ Say, wouldn't you like to know what's going on in my mind...? ♪ I used to follow Smile a lot. We were friends. I used to go to their shows.

Freddie was waiting in the wings, literally, and advising us on what to do.

He would say, "You're brilliant, but you should do this and this..."

What did you see in what Brian and Roger were doing with Smile? Nothing!

I think he had in the back of his mind some idea about maybe working with us.

Freddie told everybody that he was going to be a pop star and we didn't take it that seriously.

He was sitting over there one night. I walked in and he put his head in his hands, looking really depressed.

I said, "What's the matter with you?" He said, "I'm not going to be a pop star."

And very slowly he stood up and he said, "I'm going to be...a legend."

♪ Hey, big spender

♪ Spend a little time with me... ♪ Although we had a lot of successful gigs and we played colleges, pubs and clubs up and down the country, we just never got anywhere.

Smile made a single which did nothing at all, then Tim, our singer, got an offer from someone else called Humpy Bong.

So Tim sodded off to that.

Freddie got us. He said, "Come on, you can't give up. I want to sing."

So we decided that we'd take the plunge.

And it was then that I sort of thought about the name Queen.

Why Queen? I don't know. At the time, it was outrageous.

So here we have the main hall.

In 1973, this is where Queen played.

This is really the first proper, advertised gig we ever did and it's certainly the first review we ever got by Rosemary Horide of what was then Disc.

From the very beginning, Freddie was absolutely remarkable for stagecraft. He had a presence unlike anything I'd seen. I'd been a music journalist for a long time.

Freddie, even from those days, had an ability to work an audience and they would eat out of his hand.

He could turn his hand round like that and do that and the audience would stand up.

♪ I have sinned, dear Father

♪ Father, I have sinned

♪ Try and help me, Father

♪ Won't you let me in?

♪ Liar!

♪ Oh, nobody... ♪ It was the first moment when I thought, "Something's happening here and people know what we're about."

When they came along, there had been a denim rock movement, if you like, with Status Quo, Uriah Heep.

I think Queen were an incredible breath of fresh air in rock music.

They had brilliant songs.

Freddie Mercury was an absolutely charismatic front man.

♪ Liar... ♪ Brian May was just this brilliant guitarist and Roger Taylor was a phenomenal drummer.

And you had that guy that played bass.

We spent a couple of years looking for a bass player. It was very hard to find the right guy.

Then we found John.

Deacon John on bass. APPLAUSE I came along as a bit of an outsider at first.

It did take me quite a few years to grow more into the group and find myself at home, really.

Before we signed to a record label, we actually signed to Trident Productions, a management company run by the Sheffield brothers who had a studio in the middle of Soho.

Recording our first album, we were all students finishing off our degrees.

We had to do it in what time was available because the studio was being booked up all the time.

We had to go in sometimes at two in the morning and sometimes finishing at six in the morning, all those weird times that nobody wanted.

You know, you could see the working girls at night through their lace curtains, so while we were mixing, we'd have a little bit of diversion.

The album came out and sort of resoundingly crashed. It really didn't do much.

When you make your first album, you go into the record shops and think, "We're in the record stores now!"

You go in and say, "Have you got the new Queen album then?" They go, "What?" It's a long haul.

With Queen II, I couldn't believe how much work we put into that.

I think We felt we were evolving our own sound.

We were pioneering this sort of multi-tracking thing.

It gave you a tremendous palette.

You could get massive choral effects with just three of us singing.

♪ Voice from behind... ♪ We really got into production and went completely over the top.

There's a track called March Of The Black Queen.

♪ I'll be a bad boy, I'll be your bad boy

♪ I'll do the march of the Black Queen... ♪ It's very long. It's in about 11 different sections and the complexity of it is staggering.

I mean, the tape was literally transparent.

The 16-track, two-inch tape, the oxide was almost completely worn away.

We'd gone over it so many times. It literally was transparent.

♪ Walking true to style

♪ She's vulgar abuse and vile Fi-fo the Black Queen tattoos all her pies... ♪ It was really only with Queen II and Seven Seas Of Rhye that we had the breakthrough.

We realised that the easiest way of getting a hit album is to have a hit single that has some musical validity.

The key to that was the stroke that was pulled in getting them on Top Of The Pops when Bowie dropped out and it absolutely broke that single.

It was a very underwhelming experience the very first time because there was a strike on at the BBC.

♪ Fear me, you lords and lady preachers... ♪ So it was shot in the weather studio.

♪ I command your very souls, you unbelievers

♪ Bring before me what is mine The seven seas of Rhye... ♪ It was great fun to be at Top Of The Pops because it was all happening.

You felt like you were in a sense becoming part of public consciousness.

♪ I will destroy any man who dares abuse my trust... ♪ Top Of The Pops was incredibly uncool.

It was rubbish because nobody was actually playing.

There was about 75 teenagers who were herded about the studio and a bunch of ageing disc jockeys presenting you.

Pan's People were there, these very glamorous girls dancing. It was a lot of fun.

The BBC had a set of plastic cymbals that went "duh" when you hit them, so they didn't make any noise.

I think that sort of says it all, really.

We had slightly mixed feelings about Top Of The Pops because it wasn't very cool, but it was the great vehicle for selling records, so what can you say?

It had a big impact. Our record went straight into the top ten.

So obviously, the impact was huge.

♪ Storm the master marathon I'll fly through

♪ By flash and thunder fire and I'll survive I'll survive, I'll survive

♪ Then I'll defy the laws of nature and come out ali-i-ive Then I'll get you... ♪ We had this song called Seven Seas Of Rhye, but it's a universal truth that more groups break up because of songwriting arguments than anything else in the world. Your songs are your babies.

The person who has written the song tends to be the one person who sees that one song all the way through from the idea they have in their head at first, the final production, the sounds and the mix...

Most of the time, I have a clear picture of what I want.

I sort of have a lot of... say, Roger's parts and what Brian should do and things... There are rows, of course.

I've probably never spoken about this before, but The Seven Seas Of Rhye was Freddie's idea.

He had this lovely little riff idea on the piano and all the middle eight is stuff that I did, so we worked on it together, but when it came to the album coming out, Freddie went, "I wrote that."

And we all went, "OK." It didn't seem like that big a deal.

Freddie said, "I wrote the words and it was my idea, so it's my song."

The sort of unwritten law was the person who brought the song in would get the credit for writing that song and the money for writing that song.

Much, much later in Queen history, we recognised this fact.

♪ Here I stand Here I stand

♪ Look around, around

♪ Around, around, around... ♪ We were very lucky in that we hooked up with Mott The Hoople and we were their warm-up act.

♪ Now I'm here Now I'm here... ♪ We went all around the UK with them and it worked out just perfectly.

♪ Now I'm there Now I'm there... ♪ Then the guys from Mott said, "Would you like to do the same thing in America?"

♪ Just a new man

♪ Yes, you made me live again... ♪

After a few gigs, I started to feel weird.

Something was happening. I didn't know if it was my head or my body, but I started to feel odd.

Then I woke up one morning in Boston which was going to be the climax of the tour...

I woke up and I was yellow. The doctor came and said, "You've got hepatitis. You have to go home."

I still was amazed we managed to shepherd him through the immigration queue at JFK in New York.

The poor fellow could hardly stand.

I was taken on the plane shoulder to shoulder.

We were devastated the tour had been cut short. It was our first trip to America.

But we just ploughed on in the studio without him.

It was a bit of a long haul back to health.

I was getting over all this stuff and I saw Freddie battering out all these things, thinking, "I've not got my shit together," and really starting to worry about it.

♪ She keeps her Moet et Chandon

♪ In her pretty cabinet

♪ "Let them eat cake" she says just like Marie Antoinette... ♪ Queen I and Queen II were full-on rock albums and I suppose it was only a question of time before they put some clever melody into it and Sheer Heart Attack was that break-out album.

And Killer Queen where Mercury's vocals have probably never been better.

♪ She's a killer queen Gunpowder, gelatine

♪ Dynamite with a laser beam

♪ Guaranteed to blow your mind Any time... ♪ I do remember having a slight reservation about Killer Queen.

I thought, "Are we selling ourselves as something which has become very light?"

But every slice through that record is a perfect vision. There's lots of little things which visit once only like that bell of the cymbal.

RINGING SOUND # In conversation she spoke just like a baroness

♪ Met a man from China Went down to Geisha Minah

♪ Then again incidentally if you're that way inclined... ♪ Killer Queen always felt a bit special. It was very sophisticated and it was very Freddie.

As the albums have progressed, our songwriting has progressed and we ventured into different areas.

♪ Dynamite with a laser beam Guaranteed to blow your mind... ♪ I like writing different songs. We don't like to repeat the same formula.

It had a slightly Noel Coward... You know, that kind of element in it.

When you took the lyrics apart, you thought, "How incredible is that!" Because they were so clever.

♪ Drop of a hat, she's as willing as Playful as a pussycat

♪ Then momentarily out of action Temporarily out of gas

♪ To absolutely drive you wild

♪ She's all out to get you

♪ She's a killer queen

♪ Gunpowder, gelatine Dynamite with a laser beam

♪ Guaranteed to blow your mind Any time

♪ Oh, recommended at the price Insatiable an appetite

♪ Wanna try?

♪ You wanna try... ♪

We were doing a lot of major tours in Japan, America.

We were headlining by now and doing very well and selling loads of records and not seeing any money.

We decided to go with the production company, rather than with the record company.

The deal was that we made the album for the production company and they sell it to a record company.

It's probably the worst thing we did.

The deal that they were on just meant that they weren't going to make any money out of what they did.

And the way it came to a head was with the song Death On Two Legs.

♪ You suck my blood like a leech

♪ You break the law and you breach

♪ Screw my brain till it hurts

♪ You've taken all my money

♪ And you want more... ♪

Often I would go to do an interview and I buy a couple of bottles of wine on my expenses because they had no money.

We didn't expect instant riches. We didn't get them!

Roger was breaking sticks because he hit the drums pretty hard.

The management's going, "Don't break any more sticks." We had no money.

One of the management group bought a Rolls-Royce and we thought, "Hang on, something's going on here."

It affected Freddie deeply and Freddie got to the point where he said, "I am not delivering any more music. I can't."

To cut a long story short, we went with John Reid who was Elton's incredibly successful manager at the time.

I remember saying, "You go away

"and make the best record you can. I'll take care of the business."

We had a good working relationship with John.

He was very fiery and feisty, but so were we. We weren't scared of him.

It was the first night I'd gone out to dinner with Freddie.

I said, "I'd just like to say, as I said to the other guys, I hope you know I'm gay and it's not a problem."

And he put his knife and fork down and said, "So am I!"

Freddie, when I first met him, wasn't out to the band because he was struggling with his own sexuality anyway.

And Freddie was from a very, very traditional Zoroastrian background and I think his family considerations were probably paramount.

I remember when we went into the studio to make A Night At The Opera, it felt like make or break.

We were not only poor, but we were in debt.

All the sound and lighting companies and the people we worked with hadn't been paid, so we were at a really crucial point. We might have had to break up if that album hadn't done well.

It was an expensive album, enormous complexity on there.

Even now, I wonder how we did some of that stuff.

There was so much hunger there. We had so much we wanted to bring out.

It was all kept in and so we had all kinds of songs.

Bohemian Rhapsody was basically like three songs that I wanted to put out and I just put the three together.

I think the groundwork for a song like that was done at Ealing College.

Freddie had lots of bits of songs which we'd link together and one of his bits, I just referred to it as The Cowboy Song and it went, "Mama, I just killed a man."

♪ Mama

♪ Just killed a man... ♪ The first thing I heard was Freddie playing "Mama, just killed a man..."

"What do you think?" "I love it. It's absolutely brilliant." Not knowing what was to come.

We ended up having to do it in six studios.

Because they were using all these studios, you didn't know what was going on.

You would have guitar parts in one studio and vocal stuff in another.

♪ Galileo

♪ Galileo

♪ Galileo, Figaro... ♪ Freddie would just turn up and go, "I've got a few more Galileos."

We were going round all these studios just hearing parts.

♪ Thunderbolt and lightning Very, very frightening me HIGHER PITCH: ♪ Lightning, very, very frightening, very, very frightening me... ♪ Only Fred had it in his head and he was making some of it up as we went along.

I thought, "I'll do as I please."

♪ Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me... ♪ Do as many multi-layer harmonies as possible. You know, go well over the top.

It really was tongue-in-cheek, but at the same time, "I bet you can't do this."

♪ He's just a poor boy from a poor family

♪ Spare him his life from this monstrosity... ♪ But the record company as a mass came to us and said, "This is too long. Nobody's going to play it."

I played it to Elton John at the time and he said, "Are you off your head? You'll never get that on the radio."

I said, "It goes out in its entirety or not at all."

At the crucial moment, this young man called Kenny Everett came in, loved the track, stole a copy of it and played it on his radio show.

Kenny played it 14 times over the weekend and of course it was a smash.

Then following that up with what, to my mind, was the first ever real music video.

♪ We will not let you go Let him go! Bismillah!

♪ We will not let you go Let him go! Bismillah... ♪ I'd never seen anything like it and I don't think anybody else had.

The video took Queen to another level where they could really command the landscape.

♪ Mamma mia, mamma mia Mamma mia, let me go... ♪ Night At The Opera was that landmark album that established them as a major force.

That was the context in which you could do something like the Hyde Park concert.

♪ So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye

♪ So you think you can love me and leave me to die... ♪

It was Richard Branson. "We think we can put you on in Hyde Park."

Thank you very much. Good evening, everybody.

CHEERING Welcome to our picnic by the Serpentine.

I remember thinking, "Gulp!" We've carved out a place around the world, but England doesn't really think we're that cool.

It was packed beyond belief and it was really like coming home to a heroes' welcome.


♪ Ah, ah, ah, ah, ahhh... ♪

It was a thrilling experience to have that kind of contact with an audience in your own home town.

When it came to make Day At The Races, we just thought, "Let's just do what we do."

The added ingredient in Day At The Races is this feeling of freedom which we had because we had escaped the old situation, we'd sorted out the money side, we weren't in debt any more, we weren't struggling for our very existence, so there's a great freedom and joy.

♪ Ca-a-an

♪ Anybody... ♪ It was almost like we were still making A Night At The Opera. We just loved it. We revelled in it.

♪ Somebody to lo-o-ove... ♪ Freddie came up with a magnificent, little sort of foray into white Gospel, if you want to call it that.

♪ Ooh

♪ Each morning I get up... ♪ We really worked our harmonies on Somebody To Love.

♪ Take a look at yourself Take a look in the mirror and cry... ♪ Freddie's great inspiration for Somebody To Love was Aretha Franklin.

He absolutely loved Aretha.

He would like to have been Aretha Franklin!

♪ Somebody! Somebody! Ooh, somebody! Somebody!

♪ Can anybody find me somebody to love...? ♪ From that point of view, OK, Bohemian Rhapsody, a big hit, but a song like Somebody To Love is in my estimation a better sort of... from the writing aspect, a better song.

♪ I work till I ache in my bones

♪ At the end At the end of the day

♪ I take home my hard-earned pay all on my own

♪ I get down on my knees and I start to pray

♪ Till the tears run down from my eyes

♪ Lord, somebody! Somebody! Ooh, somebody

♪ Can anybody find me... ♪ We were using the studio to its maximum capacity, painting a picture like on a huge canvas.

♪ Find me somebody to love

♪ Find me somebody to love... ♪ We had a gift. We had three voices which really blended instantly.

♪ Find me somebody to love... ♪ Freddie has this wonderful, crystal-clear, sharp vocal sound.

♪ Find me somebody to love, find me somebody to love... ♪ Naturally, I've got the powerful high voice.

He's got the dog whistle pitch, a very high voice.

♪ Find me somebody to love... ♪ And I had quite a warm sound.

♪ Somebody! Somebody! Somebody! Somebody!

♪ Somebody! Find me... Somebody find me somebody to love

♪ Can anybody find me... ♪ Put the three together and you have something which sounds sort of Panavision.

♪ Find me

♪ Somebody

♪ To-o-o love

♪ Find me... ♪ To keep their attention, you've got to really tempt them.

Like, "You can have a break. Have a coffee and biscuits."

While they're in a good mood, grab them and do another 50 million overdubs!

♪ Anybody find me somebody to love Somebody to love... ♪ We used to call it the sausage factory in the end because we got so good at it, we could just bang 'em out.

A Day At The Races, as the follow-up to Night At The Opera, was clearly... It had a hard act to follow.

People who wanted to have a go at Queen could quite readily say, "It's not as good as the last one."

A lot of the press took against them.

Maybe if you got too successful too quick, there was a resentment there that they hadn't made you, therefore they wanted to break you.

♪ Oh, take my breath away... ♪ Shortly after I started to manage them, I had told all the band one of the ground rules is don't do any press without clearing it with me.

You open yourself up to all kinds of things. Usually, they turn on you.

I went out to dinner with Freddie in The White Elephant in Curzon Street.

Casually, he said, "I did an interview with David Wigg from the Express today."

I said, "I told you no interviews without clearing it with me." "Oh, never mind."

I said, "Well, fuck you! If you don't work within my rules, you don't work with me."

I got up and left and I left him there.

I came home, I went upstairs, turned on the TV and the next thing I knew, a brick came through the window.

And I looked outside here and there's Freddie standing in the street, hands on his hips, "Don't you ever fucking leave me in a restaurant..."

I said, "You'd better come in."

Queen didn't have particular respect from the critics during the '70s, which is when they had so many hits.

And then punk happened in the late '70s, which made the standard rock group seem passe.

♪ God save the Queen

♪ We mean it, man The punk stuff, as opposed to what Queen did, they were coming from two different points of view.

It was anarchy on one side and monarchy on the other.

NME was one of the most vocal proponents of punk.

We were taking, if you like, music icons at that time and we were rubbishing them, basically.

It was thought we should interview Freddie Mercury, in particular, and they asked me to go over to a house in Knightsbridge owned by John Reid and there's Freddie sitting on the patio.

The whole house was very ostentatious, it must be said.

We did an interview here with the NME and, you know, we were very nice to the guy.

I had a butler, we gave him lunch.

There was a butler, there was a bodyguard.

There was probably other people going round with feather dusters and what have you.

Then the story slagged off Freddie.

Freddie Mercury, when the whole of the punk new wave movement was going on around him, had focused in on something that was kind of a bit of an alien concept in some ways which was ballet.

I just feel that there are sort of balletic moments in our repertoire.

One of the things that he said to me was that his mission in life was to bring ballet to the masses.

Well, when the NME piece came out, Freddie was furious.

They called him "a prat".

You'd be furious.

I think we realised that talking to the press gets you nowhere.

You might as well paint a target on your head and go, "Shoot me."

We all have our ups and downs and our limitations and we know there are certain things you can't do, but I don't want some arsehole critic to tell me that.

I love posing.

That's for the press.

Well, we met The Sex Pistols in Wessex Studios and, uh...

I thought it was fascinating.

Can you imagine it just a whole thing about punk rock And anti establishment... under one roof.

Sid came in. Sid was a moron. You know, he was an idiot.

And he called in to the room, "Have you succeeded in bringing ballet to the masses yet?"

I called him "Simon Ferocious" and he didn't like it. I said, "What are you going to do about it?"

He hated the fact that I could even speak like that. Right. Then...

So we went... I think we survived that test.

♪ Well, you're just 17 All you wanna do is disappear... ♪ I thought when we went into News Of The World, we couldn't reinvent ourselves as a punk band, but we wanted it a little bit more simple.

We thought maybe these really grandiose things weren't quite what was happening then and to be more of the time, we made a more straightforward record.

Once we had our audience, we felt so confident that they would be there for us and not require us to be anything that they'd seen before.

Do a twirl?

They were very open-minded, Queen audiences, so we never felt constrained.

We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions had a very sort of definite genesis.

The way I remember this story is Bingley Hall.

We played this great hall in the Midlands and it was heaving.

Those gigs that you love, it's all sweaty and hot, everybody is jumping up and down.

And they were singing along.

♪ She's a killer queen Gunpowder, gelatine

♪ Dynamite with a laser beam Guaranteed to blow your mind... ♪ In those days, it was really new. You just didn't go to concerts where people sang to rock bands.

But on this particular occasion, they didn't stop.

And when we went off stage, they sang You'll Never Walk Alone to us.

I'd gone to sleep thinking, "What can an audience do?"

They're all crammed in there. They can stamp their feet, clap their hands and sing.

So I woke up with We Will Rock You in my head.

We went into Wessex with these ideas and that happened to be.. some boards lying around, strange enough and I thought, "What does this sound like?"

And we multi-tracked it a lot of times to achieve a sound of a big throng of people stamping and clapping, a huge sort of rally of people.

♪ We will, we will rock you... ♪

♪ We will, we will rock you... ♪ I came up with We Will Rock You and Freddie with We Are The Champions. His thinking was very similar.

Basically, it is a participation thing.

I've been really cool and I'm just thinking in terms of the public/group thing.

♪ I've paid my dues

♪ Time after time... ♪ We had no idea it would become a universal, worldwide sports anthem.

Both of them did - Rock You and Champions.

In football or whatever sport, you've got two opposing teams.

Both can sing We Are The Champions, but in a rock show, there's only one team.

♪ I've had my share of sand kicked in my face

♪ But I've come through... ♪ It could be construed as a rather elitist thing.

♪ We are the champions, my friends... ♪ But it was really "we", the collective "we".

But if I were you, before we find out, let's get the sound... Let's get a real sound on the drums.

It's definitely a song of great unifying power.

♪ We are the champions

♪ No time for losers

♪ Cos we are the champions... ♪ Here we've got four tracks of vocals, one with the solo guitar, then that's the end bit solo.

I've listened to them. That's the only way we can do it.

Fred was very cheeky. It was about Queen being the champions in a sense, the arrogance for which we were famous.

♪ We are the champions

♪ We are the champions

♪ No time for losers

♪ Cos we are the champions. ♪

APPLAUSE Only Queen could come up with the title "We Are The Champions". Where's the modesty gone?

Well, there isn't any. No modesty whatsoever.

After the slaggings-off we get from the English music press, who cares? We've got nothing to lose, you know?

Anyway, it's only a song, isn't it? Fuck 'em!

In those days, it was do the album, do a video, tour America.

One, two!

It was regarded as the sort of grail of the rock scene.

America was meaning more and more to us, and when you smell success in America, you go for it.

We looked at what was going on in the States at the time.

The music was very much dominated by the cool West Coast kind of rock with The Eagles and Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac.

And to some extent, Queen, I guess, didn't fit that mould.

They were bigger, more glamorous, more extravagant than, I think, anything that existed in the States at the time.

They really didn't know what to make of them.

Why would you call your band Queen when there's obviously four guys in it?

That was puzzling.

We were all in one station wagon, then we were all in one limo, then it was two in one limo and two in another, then it was one each.

But it was really only because the entourage grew, it wasn't anything to do with not wanting to talk to one another.

We did stay pretty connected, we didn't disappear to our dressing rooms.

Generally, we found a big place where we could all get ready together and we would kind of joke around. We had a good kind of camaraderie.

This is called a miracle, folks!

I've lost my shoe!

Oh, but I don't do my own.

Dave! Do, do, do!

I went to see the Queen show and I had never seen so much luggage and crew and amps and lighting.

And I said, "This is not rock'n'roll, this is a show.

"This is a production. This is Broadway".

MUSIC: "We Will Rock You"

The audience participation elevated the shows to something really special.

And I think we put a bit of distance between us and some of our contemporaries like that, because it was such a great two-way event.

This was a coronation for Freddie Mercury in this town.

♪ We will, we will rock you tonight

♪ We will, we will rock you

♪ Buddy you're a young man, hard man, shouting in the street

♪ Gonna take on the world someday

♪ Mud on your face, big disgrace

♪ Waving your banner all over the place

♪ We will, we will rock you... ♪ It had always surprised us that it took so long to break Queen in the States.

It sounds like it happened quickly, but it didn't, it happened over a period of about eight years.

We worked very hard at it.

At no point did you think, "We've made it," cos we hadn't.

This is, um, a Mercury composition from "A Night At The Opera" and it's something which a few people asked us to do last time.

So this is for those people. This is "Love Of My Life".

The 1977 US tour was pretty much a sell-out. And midway through, we actually played two nights at the legendary Madison Square Gardens in New York, which is a sort of landmark for any artist.

It was a watershed for me.

It was a mythical place, of course, big deal for us to play.

And my parents, from the beginning... Well, my dad, really.

My dad had really been against the whole business of me being a rock star.

It's curious, because he helped me build the guitar.

If it hadn't been for my dad slaving hours and hours making this homemade guitar, I probably would never have got to this place.

He really felt that I'd thrown my education away.

I mean, I was educated to a high level. So to suddenly to go off and join a rock band with apparently no future, my dad really could not compute it.

He was kind of in tears, really, he just felt I'd thrown my life away completely.

♪ You don't know what it means to me... ♪ But anyway, we were playing Madison Square Garden and I said, "Look, Dad, this is a big one for us, playing America, "it's New York, it's the first time we've played this amazing place. Come over."

So I said, "Dad, you'll go on Concorde", you know, it was my dad and my mum. And they came to the gig and I remember to this day, this feeling that our feet weren't really on the ground, there was so much electricity in this place.

♪ You don't know what it means to me... ♪ And we came off thinking, "Wow, that was really something," and then I went back with my dad and my dad said, "OK." He said, "OK, I get it now."

♪ Oooh. ♪ Thank you, Madison Square Garden.

What's happening when we go back to London?

You're one of the few bands that actually haven't left Britain.

We're sort of an English band in a way, we've always lived there.

Well, London particularly. We've always recorded in England.

It doesn't change the fact that the taxman still takes a lot of your money!

I think at the time, we were paying 83%, and plus, if you had any money in the bank which was earning interest, another 15%, which makes 98% tax.

So we decided to record the next album, which was "Jazz", in France.

So that's what we did. In a tiny little village called Super Bear, we started the process of making this album.

♪ Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle

♪ I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle... ♪ Lots of sort of local colour got put onto that album.

♪ I want to ride my bike... ♪ We were sitting there and the Tour de France cycle race came through and inspired Freddie to write "Bicycle..." and for some strange reason, inspired me to write "Fat Bottomed Girls".

Although there might have been other inspirations there.

♪ On your marks, get set, go! ♪

Sadly, we weren't there for the filming.

I thought it was a hugely amusing idea.

♪ Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle... ♪ I remember the huge disappointment that none of us could be at the photo shoot.

Because we were exiled from England, so we couldn't go back in to see it!

I don't think you'd be able to do that now, would you?

Yeah, I don't think we would go there these days.

♪ Bicycle race! ♪ When it came time to launch the "Jazz" album, we had the idea of having a massive party in New Orleans.

♪ Oh, you gonna take me home tonight... ♪ It was the so-called launch of that album, and we had lots of girls and things, there was a New Orleans band, it was a very over-the-top party.

♪ Fat bottomed girls, you make the rockin' world go round... ♪

We had a bit of a spiritual connection with New Orleans.

A lot of our friends came, of all sexes.

It was definitely fun.

When I opened up the door of my suite, on the bed was a complete case of Dom Perignon.

And it was downhill from there.

♪ Heap big woman, you made a bad boy out of me... ♪ I remember I felt quite ill the next day.

There was a lot of acts..

There was a man, he was actually a person of restricted growth, who did lay under meats.

When asked what he did, he said, "I lie under meats."

And he's covered in sort of cold cuts and sort of, um, chopped liver and stuff like that. You couldn't see him.

So people would approach the trestle table and as they just reached out to scoop their meat, he would just move, like that.

And that was his act!

♪ Tonight, I'm gonna have myself a real good time

♪ I feel ali-i-i-ive... ♪ It wasn't a pretence, we actually did live the life of a rock band.

Sort of living on the edge, in a sense.

♪ Turning inside out, yeah

♪ Floating around in ecstasy

♪ So don't stop me now... ♪

"Don't Stop Me Now" is a whole different trip, really.

It's become one of the most popular Queen songs of all time.

♪ I'm a shooting star leaping through the sky like a tiger

♪ Defying the laws of gravity

♪ I'm a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva

♪ I'm gonna go, go, go, there's no stopping me

♪ I'm burning through the sky, yeah... ♪ It's a song of sort of unfettered joy.

♪ ..Mr Fahrenheit

♪ I'm travelling at the speed of light

♪ I wanna make a supersonic woman of you... ♪ I've been quoted as saying I don't like the track.

I kind of do like the track, but I had mixed feelings, because in a sense, it represented a sort of separatism.

It was very much Freddie's world and reflecting what he was going through.

Freddie took to the gay scene in New York like David Attenborough making a wildlife programme.

He'd report on what he'd seen with that kind of "Hey-hey!" attitude that he had.

There was this one particular place called The Anvil, which seemed to have invented new uses for parts of the human anatomy!

He was never shocked.

He was eager to be involved in everything, it was like he was a social field worker.

♪ I wanna make a supersonic man out of you... ♪ As far as I'm concerned, I just want to pack in as much of life and fun and having a good time as much as I can.

♪ If you want to have a good time, just give me a call

♪ Don't stop me now Cos I'm having a good time.

♪ Don't stop me now Yes, I'm having a good time

♪ I don't wanna stop at all

♪ Da-da da-da dah

♪ Da da da-ha

♪ Da-da-da ha-ha-hah

♪ Da-da-dah... ♪ The album "Jazz" was not a complete flop, it got to number 6 in the chart.

But "Don't Stop Me Now", which is a big favourite in Britain to this day, in America, only got to the 80s.

The review in Rolling Stone was notorious.

And it shows you that Queen were not respected.

We were confused by that title.

Why would a rock band call their album "Jazz"?

It had a couple of great tracks on it, but it had some weaker stuff on it.

Queen was maybe viewed as the Indian meal that had gone cold in the refrigerator.

What's going to happen in '79 for Queen?

We're going to make more records, tour even more.

It's difficult to say. This has been our hardest working year.

We'd heard that there was this great studio called Musicland in Munich, and we'd heard there was this great engineer called Mack.

And we got into this rather kind of indulgent way of just bowling into the studio with no ideas, or very few ideas, and just doing it from scratch.

"What you got?" "Well I dont know, I've got this."

MUSIC: "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"

♪ This thing called love... ♪

First thing we did was "Crazy Little Thing ...."

Fred did write the song in the bath, in about ten minutes.

♪ Crazy little thing called love... ♪ Next, he said, "Tell them I'm coming over and we've got to go straight into the studio."

♪ Like a baby In the cradle all night... ♪ I was very quick, had everything set up in pretty much no time, and they put it down, and then the best bit was, "Quick, let's finish it before Brian gets here, otherwise it takes a little longer!"

♪ There goes my baby

♪ She knows how to rock and roll

♪ She drives me crazy

♪ She gives me hot and cold fever

♪ She leaves me in a cold, cold sweat... ♪

That was the first number 1 across the board in America.

Billboard, Cashbox and Record World, I think.

We were still making a record, we hadn't even nearly finished the album, and we were going out in Munich and somebody came up and said, "It's gone to number 1 in America." We were going, "Yeah! More drinks!"

So, "Crazy Little Thing..." completely cracked the charts in America.

But it wasn't easy to find the follow-up.

"Play The Game" charted outside the US Top 40.

But the next single was something very different.

One thing I always liked about Queen was they were four individuals, all of whom brought something to the table, musically and in terms of songwriting, and that includes the bass player, John Deacon.

MUSIC: "Another One Bites The Dust"

I'd always wanted to do something that was more sort of disco-ey, which was very uncool at the time.

I mean, funk wasn't really in the vocabulary.

Let's go!

John was pulling us strongly in that direction, sort of funky direction.

And John got Roger to play with tape all over his drums, which is exactly what Roger hated.

Roger hated his drums being made to sound dead.

I didn't really want to get into dance music. It wasn't my thing.

♪ Another one bites the dust... ♪ Freddie got deeply into it, Freddie sort of sang it until he bled, cos he was so committed to making it sound the way John wanted it, which was like hardcore...

I don't know what you would call it. But it's more towards black music than white music.

♪ How do you think I'm going to get along without you when you're gone?

♪ You took me for everything that I had and kicked me out of my home

♪ Are you happy? Are you satisfied? How long can you stand the heat?

♪ Out of the doorway, the bullets whistle to the sound of the beat... ♪ Michael came to several shows, I think, at the Forum in LA.

And he loved Freddie. And he kept saying, "You guys, you've got to put that song out." I wasn't particularly enamoured with it, so I said, "No, you're kidding, that's never a single."

♪ Another one bites the dust... ♪

"Another One Bites The Dust" was never seen as a single.

It barely made it onto the album!

It got on the radio and it got heard by people that didn't even know who the band was.

♪ Ah, take it! ♪ Strangely enough, the record became huge because of the black audience.

One particular station in New York picked it up, thinking that we were a black band, and played the hell out of it, and it became a huge hit.

It was like number 1 in nine different charts.

I mean, even in the country chart! It's ridiculous.

And this thing just kept selling, to around three million.

It was in the Hot 100 for 31 weeks.

When an opponent would get knocked out in a boxing match, you'd hear "Another One Bites The Dust" used.

It became an anthem of triumph.

♪ Yeah, ye-e-e-e-a-a-ah! All right! ♪ I think it's still the biggest record we ever had.

♪ Another one bites the dust, yeah! ♪ People pointing at the cars - "You guys are bad!"

"What does that mean?" "It means you're good!"

♪ Another one bites the dust

♪ Hey, gonna get you too, another one bites the dust... ♪ If you're successful in America, basically, you've made it.

We kind of became the biggest group in the world at that moment.

It's a fleeting moment, because someone else will come and take over. But for that moment, we kind of owned the world.

MUSIC: "We Are The Champions"

The sales figures tell the story that the people wanted Queen even when the press didn't.

Looking back on it now, I'd say Queen were never in fashion.

We were never a fashionable group, I don't think.

Maybe that was to our benefit, that we didn't become the thing of the moment, a fashionable thing.

We were just popular, which got right up some people's noses!

Fred, how do you feel, playing and singing before 200,000 people? Haven't done it yet!

Every song, you felt, was, "They're stealing the show".

I like Queen very much, but I don't want to end up life living a quartet.

The band was pretty much on the verge of falling apart.

I think he had an idea that he might not be terribly well.

He said, "I'll come back and finish it off," and he never came back.

That was the last moment that I had with him.

♪ Flash, aaah

♪ Saviour of the universe... ♪

I wanted us to be massively successful, I mean...

I think almost everybody in this business does.

♪ Flash, aaah

♪ He'll save every one of us... ♪ Certainly by the beginning of the '80s, the world domination they'd craved for was definitely there.

♪ Aaah

♪ He's a miracle... ♪ The hardest thing is to actually maintain the level of success you've achieved because I think when you go all the way up, the only place is to come down.

♪ Flash, aaah

♪ King of the impossible... ♪

You've no idea where you can get to. It's like the sky's the limit.

♪ He'll save with a mighty hand

♪ Every man, every woman, every child with a mighty Flash... ♪

We didn't want just America, we wanted the whole world, you know.

South America reared its head and we heard rumours that we were... the biggest thing ever in Argentina and Brazil and they started to ask us to go down there.

They were saying, "You can play football stadiums down there."

We went, "You're joking."

In those days under the dictatorship in Argentina, we were negotiating with the army general and he said to me, "How can I possibly allow 50,000 young people into a stadium

"when I can't control them?

"What happens if somebody suddenly shouts out 'Viva Peron'

"in the middle of a Queen concert and I have a riot on my hands?"

And I tried to explain to him that, rather like gladiatorial matches in Rome, this was panacea to the people, they'd never, ever had this before, this would be an extraordinary experience.

So we got the whole thing together and it was God knows how many jumbo jets full of equipment.

And when we arrived in Buenos Aires, as we're unloading it, you could see spent bullet cases, and thinking, "Yeah, we really are in a very different place here."

We were looking for a bodyguard for Freddie, this particular man came in and his opening recommendation was that he'd killed 212 people.

The travel arrangements were very scary.

Driving the wrong way along a raised motorway with outriders, with guys in big jeeps waving their big guns and getting the cars, coming straight towards them, to pull over.

We got caught in a traffic jam and one of the policemen just stood up, put his head through the roof and started firing his gun in the air in order to clear the traffic.

Very hair-raising.

Hello, amigos.


Fred, how do you feel playing and singing before 200,000 people?

I haven't done it yet!

I can remember being nervous the first night.

The top tier alone took 80,000 and we were in this sort of dug-out which I guess the football teams would normally be in.

All the windows were broken and I remember thinking this is... You know, it's going to take some balls to walk out there.

Hello, Sao Paulo!

♪ Get your party gown

♪ Get your pigtail down

♪ Get your heart beating, baby

♪ Get your timing right

♪ I got my act all tight

♪ It's gotta be tonight My little school babe

♪ Your momma says you don't

♪ Your daddy says you won't And I'm boiling up inside... ♪ They knew all the songs. These people don't speak English but they could sing along all the Queen songs so they're obviously very genuine fans and they went nuts.

♪ Tie your mother down Tie your mother down

♪ Lock your daddy out of doors I don't need him nosing around

♪ Tie your mother down Tie your mother down

♪ Give me all your love tonight

♪ Tonight... ♪ It also takes a certain ego and a certain drive to want to be in that spotlight and go on display.

And Freddie thrived and got better in bigger arenas.

♪ Yeah AUDIENCE: # Yeah

♪ Yeah

♪ Yeah

♪ Yeah ye-yeah yeah

♪ Yeah ye-yeah yeah

♪ Yeah yeah ye-ye-yeah

♪ Yeah yeah ye-ye-yeah

♪ All right All right

♪ All right All right

♪ Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

♪ Yeah Yeah

♪ Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

♪ Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

♪ Yeah Yeah

♪ Yeah

♪ Yeah, yeah, yeah

♪ Aaaaaaaall right

♪ Aaaaaaaall right Let's do it to tempo.

Once we'd finished Argentina and Brazil, the band decided to go back into the studio and they had of course bought the studios in Montreux, here.

Mountain Studios was in the casino by the lake in Montreux.

When they first arrived it was, like, the top studio in Europe.

We were in the studio in Montreux and David Bowie lives nearby.

I think we went out for a meal or drinks or something and then landed up back in the studio with the sort of rough intention of doing something.

We were fooling around and just... jamming with tracks and suddenly we said, "Why don't we just see what we can do on the spur of the moment?"

Then it's the pressure of His Majesty David being there and everybody wanted to look suave and quick with ideas and stuff.

Deacy of course came up with this riff - dun dun dun de de dun dun.


♪ Bom bom bom buddle der der

♪ Ding ding ding digger ding ding

He kept playing that over and over and over again.

And then we went for a pizza and he forgot it.

Completely escaped his mind! We got back and I remembered it.

And of course, we're used to playing together and now we have this other guy there who's also inputting, inputting, inputting.

David's idea of putting these clicks and claps and then the track just grew.

By that time, David was very impassioned.

He had a vision in his head, I think.

It's quite a difficult process and somebody has to back off and actually I did back off, unusual for me.

♪ Pressure pushing down on me

♪ Pressing down on you

♪ No man ask for

♪ Under pressure

♪ That burns a building down

♪ Splits a family in two

♪ Puts people on streets... ♪ For the vocals, one of them was to be locked out and not allowed to hear what the other one sang and they sang anything off the top of their heads.

♪ It never rains but it pours

♪ Um ba-ba bey... ♪ Fred starts doing his bum-didder-dup and his bits-and-pieces and I see out of the corner of my eye, I see David sticking his head in, listening.

Then Fred came down, David went up and Freddie was quite impressed that he was counterpointing to what he did before.

♪ ..This world is about

♪ Watching some good friends screaming let me out

♪ Pray tomorrow gets me higher, high, high

♪ Pressure on people People on streets... ♪ And Fred said, "What do you make of this?"

I said, "It's kind of easy if you stand in the doorway listening to what you're doing."

And Freddie turned, "What the BLEEP"?

♪ Cos love's such an old fashioned word

♪ And love dares you

♪ To care for the people on the edge of the night

♪ And love dares you

♪ To change our way of

♪ Caring about ourselves

♪ This is our last dance... ♪ The result is very good but it was a difficult experience, I think, because people pulling in different directions, in a sense.

♪ Under pressure... ♪ Under Pressure, David Bowie, the band, me, I don't think it mixed too well.

♪ Pressure. ♪ Shame actually, it's...

I thought it was fabulous, we could've done some incredible further things, actually.

Well, here we have a total change of life for all of us, really.

We went back to Munich to do the next album and really, I suppose, things started to go downhill.

It's actually a rather grim place.

It's a studio in the basement of a huge tower block which is a hotel.

And it's kind of depressing.

A lot of people used to jump off that building and kill themselves, off that particular building, it was well known for it.

We didn't know that until we got there, so we went a bit nuts.

By that time, we were getting very finicky about recording and we spent months there.

After the massive success of Another One Bites The Dust, the thinking was we'll make an album that's slightly more dance orientated.

Not my idea.

Especially in Freddie's entourage, I won't mention any names like Paul Prenter, for instance, loathed guitars and found that Brian was old fashioned.

Paul Prenter had become Freddie's personal assistant.

He was a very, very bad influence upon Freddie, hence on the band, really.

He very much wanted our music to sound like you'd just walked in a gay club.

And I didn't.

♪ Back chat, back chat

♪ Criticising all you see

♪ Back chat, back chat

♪ Analysing what I say... ♪ There were a lot of strains in the band that'd happen with four people of that strength of character.

Everybody had their say and the arguments were creative and then it would become personal.

Of course!

It was a sort of emotional roller coaster.

I think less and less time was spent in the studio.

Get up about three o'clock and go and have breakfast and then a bit of work would be done and then you'd have dinner and then one of the roadies would start mixing cocktails and then... other things would...ahem, happen.

♪ Give me... ♪ I'm not saying cocaine and other drugs and loose women had anything to do with that at all.

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!

♪ Body, body

♪ Give me your body... ♪ It turned into a rather exhausting cycle, I think, in the end.

♪ Don't talk, don't talk, don't talk

♪ Baby, don't talk... ♪ I don't know if I can say this... Yes, I could probably say this.

We all got ourselves into deep trouble emotionally in Munich and Freddie was no exception, he got himself deep into emotional waters which he couldn't really handle and was very unhappy for some of the time.

♪ Give me your body... ♪ He was being sucked into places which really probably weren't good for him.

And I think we all felt that and realised that he was in some kind of danger.

♪ Give me, yeah

♪ Your body... ♪ I certainly saw the change in Freddie...

♪ Don't talk... ♪

..in the club Heaven in 1983.

I said to him, "Have you modified your behaviour

"in light of 'the new disease'", which as of yet did not have a name.

And with the sweep of his arms in a theatrical fashion, he said, "Darling, my attitude is fuck it, I'm doing everything with everybody."

If someone kept a chart of rock and roll royalty, Queen would have to be at the top.

Now Queen is back on tour and perhaps up against their biggest challenge yet.

Now, most of you know that we've got some new sounds out last week and...

..for what it's worth, we're going to do a few songs in the funk-black category, whatever you call it.

Record sales are not as strong as in the past and that's left everyone wondering.

I don't like everything that we do.

I like a lot of what we do but not everything.

It depends on whatever the four individuals in the group, what music they're into at the time and what songs they're writing.

There might be a couple of songs come out you don't like very much.

I could name a couple!

Well, Hot Space in Queen terms was pretty disastrous, really.

It didn't appeal to some of the hardcore Queen fans who would turn up at concerts with banners saying "disco sucks".

It's only a bloody record, people get so excited about these things. I mean...

The band...

It was pretty much on the verge of falling apart.

I think we had a couple of meetings and staff to discuss were we still together etc, etc.

What to do if you're a member of an internationally successful rock band but want to blow off creative steam that doesn't fit the band's image.

Our next guest has faced that, he is Roger Taylor.

He's just blown off some of his own steam with his second solo album, Strange Frontier. Let's look at it.

♪ Sometimes I feel like a man on fire

♪ Sometimes I feel like a man possessed

♪ Sometimes I wanna burn down this crazy town... ♪ I think we decided we needed a break.

Queen propelled us into the world but also in a sense it confined us into a very small space. We just worked with each other, not the other fabulous musicians.

I ended up in LA and one morning just got up and rang up some mates there and said, "Why don't we do something?"

And it led to the Star Fleet Project.

♪ Star fleet, star fleet

♪ Star fleet, star fleet... ♪

At a certain point we were all ready, there's no doubt.

We'd been off doing our different things, refreshing ourselves but we were ready to get back in the studio.

This is the hardest time for us, this is a big test, we've been in the business 12 years and to keep it going that much further is hard.

The Works was the next album.

We thought we wanted somewhere nice and warm and not freezing bloody cold Munich.

So that really made sense, to go to LA to make that record.

And I think we got back on track in The Works, actually.

They were a complicated musical marriage.

They didn't have one room in a studio, they had three or four.

Studio B, Studio C, Studio D, Studio E.

But that was a good thing cos it allowed everybody to work on their individual songs.

In the early days it was Brian and Freddie who really used to write most of the material but over the last five years, Roger and I have started to contribute more.

I thought John Deacon was kind of a secret weapon because he would come up with these major hits out of nowhere.

He had this track, I Want To Break Free, and it was pretty much there except this big hole in the middle.

I mean, John did not want a guitar solo so he asked Fred Mandel, a very brilliant keyboard player, to improvise something around the main tune and Fred did this brilliant take.


You know, all their records used to say prominently "no synthesizers" then I come along like another schmuck and put synthesizers on everything.

I wasn't too happy at the time but I gave it my blessing, that's the deal.

The polarity of writing within the band changed.

I think the time has come where we actually... in songwriting, we're completely even.

Roger will come up with something like Radio Ga Ga and it's perfect.

It was Sunday afternoon, my son Felix came in, he was very young and he just sort of went, "Ah, radio, caca" cos he's half French.

And, um, I just thought that's quite nice, you know.

I put the backing track together and presented it to Freddie who really loved it.

We took it into the next room and then Fred and I worked on the vocoder parts.

♪ All we hear is

♪ Radio ga ga

♪ Radio goo goo

♪ Radio ga ga... ♪ If you listen, several times it says "radio caca".

♪ Radio ga ga

♪ Radio ga ga... ♪ Radio Ga Ga brought Queen back.

♪ Radio... ♪ It came from a rock thing.

Radio Ga Ga combined the best elements of the '70s with the '80s.

That's where Queen had a strength with The Works.

It was more of a substantial hit even though it didn't actually make the top 10 in America.

But it got played a lot and the video made a big impact.

♪ Let's hope you never

♪ Leave, old friend

♪ Like all good things

♪ On you we depend

♪ So stick around

♪ Cos we might miss you... ♪ We had a killer video which we put a lot of work into.

♪ You had your time

♪ You had the power

♪ You've yet to have... ♪ The whole thing just felt good, of its time.

It felt a bit different. It felt modern and it was very fresh.

♪ All we hear is radio ga ga

♪ Radio goo goo

♪ Radio ga ga... ♪ All of a sudden people, would participate jointly in Radio Ga Ga situations.

A collective statement that was good on the radio, or on a turntable.

In live, it really was a unification.

♪ All we hear is radio ga ga

♪ Radio goo goo

♪ Radio ga ga... ♪ Freddie said, "What we do is like the Olympics.

"It's people believing in you and everyone behind you.

"Everyone doing the same thing.

"That's the Olympics." He said, "That's what we do."

♪ Radio ga ga, radio ga ga... ♪ Suddenly the MTV generation grew up and video became all-important.

The most enjoyable video was I Want To Break Free because we just laughed.

I was dying to dress up in drag. Doesn't everybody?

And everybody ran into their frocks quicker than anything.

It was their idea, basically, and I said, "Yeah, let's have a go."

♪ I want to break free

♪ I want to break free

♪ I want to break free from your lies... ♪ That great video was a loving reference to Coronation Street.

♪ I've got to break free... ♪ Americans didn't understand it. It just looked like we wanted to dress up in drag.

It was unthinkable to most of middle America.

♪ I've got to break free... ♪ It's a very British thing. Sometimes the humour doesn't translate. I'm Canadian so I get it.

It was just a different style of humour and I don't think it went over with the "MTV generation".

I remember this video being banned.

MTV were very quick on the trigger to ban things then.

I mean, if you thought Mary Whitehouse was bad, you should have seen some of the geezers running MTV in the very early '80s.

Well, MTV were very narrow-minded.

It was Whitesnake, and fucking Whitesnake, and then another Whitesnake track.

And they decided that they didn't think men in drag was rock enough for them, I guess, so they didn't play the video.

Most Americans were deprived of my, and Freddie's, favourite moment of that video.

I said to Freddie, "I love the way you double-step...

♪ But life still goes on... ♪

..to get from one room to the other.

And he said, "I'm so glad you noticed. That's my favourite part."

♪ ..without you by my side

♪ I don't want to live alone

♪ Hey, God knows

♪ I've got to make it... ♪ The funny thing is, we became global but we lost America.

And we kind of never got it back.

♪ I've got to break free. ♪ Freddie wouldn't go back to tour America unless they were touring a hit, and of course that's the chicken and egg because the less you tour America, the more you lose America.

It was sad, it's a shame, because there's a whole catalogue of hits, worldwide hits, but not in the States, and that'll never come back.

Appearing at Sun City never helped anybody's image, and sometimes it hurt.

Sun City was this resort of international standard in South Africa and the position taken by most of the rock community was that if you went to South Africa you supported apartheid.

It's very nice to be here in South Africa and I just want to have a good time.

Anything you'd like to say to your fans?

Yeah, we hope you get real excited, because we're pretty excited to be here.

The controversy behind Sun City...

Sun Fucking City - wish I'd never heard of the place.

The principal reason that Queen went there was because they were offered a large amount of money.

There was all sorts of hoo-ha going on, you know - "You mustn't play Sun City because it's a sign

"that you're supporting apartheid."

Well, it's simply not true.

If you adopted a policy of never playing in a country where you don't approve of the politicians, there'd be very few places you can play.

Did you know you had so many fans in South Africa?

Well, I think we had some idea of our popularity here, but we didn't realise it was quite that.

Jim went down there time after time and I asked if we'd play to mixed audiences.

He said we wouldn't play to segregated audiences.

And it was not an apartheid audience, but it was mainly white.

Are you going to the concert? Definitely.

What have you heard? I heard it's a great show.

What are you expecting at the concert? Something fantastic.

I've heard it's the most fantastic show ever.

The band then supported a school for the deaf in Bophutswana that we became very involved with.

The general audience doesn't read the small print. It just sees the headlines.

If it goes, "You're making a lot of money playing a gig in an apartheid state", it makes it look like you're following apartheid. It did not help them.

I will say to my dying day that we acted properly according to our conscience as regards South Africa.

Um... We went there to play music, the same as we did in all kinds of other places.

We got so much shit for it. But we went for good reasons.

But, on balance, I think it was a mistake to go.

Whenever the band came under pressure, there would be maybe a walkout, a separation, a row.

♪ Sometimes I feel I'm going to break down and cry

♪ Nowhere to go Nothing to do with my time

♪ I get lonely

♪ So lonely

♪ Living on my own... ♪ I like Queen very much, but I don't want to end up living a quartet.

I'm 37 years old I want to do something different, otherwise I'll get too damn old and I'll be in a wheelchair.

There was a lot of strain when Freddie did his solo album, mainly because the advance was considerably more than the advances for Queen albums.

♪ Got to be some good times ahead

♪ Sometimes I feel nobody gives me no warning... ♪ There is an inward jealousy - they're all waiting to see if my album does better than the last Queen album, or something like that.

♪ It's not easy

♪ Living on my own... ♪ Sometimes it's nice to break away from a group that's actually been going for so long, meaning staying away.

He was definitely contemplating the idea of what Living On My Own actually means because he lived in Munich for well over a year.

♪ Got to be some good times ahead... ♪

When Freddie was alone in Munich, he had to basically fall back either on the gay community, or, when he needed some sense or decent advice, he would call us.

He was hanging out a lot at our place.

He'd spend a lot of time with the kids.

It was like a family affair.

He said a lot of times that this was the best time in his life.

Out of the songs you've put on this album, Freddie, which one do you find the most rewarding, personally?

Oh, I don't know, the one that sells the most.

Freddie had a very fulfilling experience of creativity, but he didn't have a very fulfilling experience, um...how shall I say, economically.

The Mr Bad Guy album really was a disaster, in terms of sales.

The strength of Queen came from the arguments.

It was the fact that you had to fight your space.

Songs got fine-tuned by that, and Freddie working on his own in Munich with an orchestra and Mack, there was nobody really to stand up with him.

Well, tomorrow, the pop world's greatest extravaganza, as we've been talking about, Live Aid, will bring together rock's brightest and best from both sides of the Atlantic, all performing free in the hope of raising millions for the starving people of Africa.

You know, looking back, there was a moment when Queen were thought of as a good group that was predominantly historic.

Radio Ga Ga was their one big hit in four years.

They weren't on a hot streak, and they weren't a particularly productive group at that time.

There was a feeling that maybe that was it.

But Geldof ordered them to regroup and perform.

The thing was, did Freddie want to do it? He wasn't that keen.

Freddie was a bit reticent about doing anything, but Bob came in one day when we talked about Live Aid, and said, "I told Freddie he's doing it." And I kind of believe him.

It really is a gathering of the rock world's elite, and already rehearsing in here are some of rock and roll's royalty.

It was rehearsed quite intensely at the Shaw Theatre on Euston Road.

♪ Here we stand and here we fall

♪ History won't care at all

♪ Make the bed, light the light... ♪ Queen took the responsibility more professionally than anyone else on the bill.

♪ You don't waste no time at all

♪ Don't hear the bell but you answer the call... ♪ I went out and bought these big plastic white clocks and put them in the orchestra pit so we could see the time.

There was an 18-minute slot that each artist had, and there were traffic lights at the side of the stage.

And you were warned that the traffic lights after 16 minutes would turn amber from green, and they said, "You won't see them turn red because the power goes off."

So you make it quick and you make it something they know.

Just after 16 hours of live Aid, would you welcome Status Quo!

♪ Here we are and here we are and here we go... ♪ The energy that day was sensational.

♪ Rockin' all over the world... ♪ We were all quite nervous, actually.

Not necessarily our audience because they'd put together the bill of Live Aid before we'd been announced as being on it.

They set the level for the PA with limiters and then when Queen came on, Trip, who was Queen's sound engineer, switched the limiters so that Queen would be louder.

From the word go, he came out of the traps like a champion.

Freddie performed against the advice of his doctor because of a throat condition.

But he went out there and gave one of the greatest live television performances ever.

♪ You don't waste no time at all

♪ Don't hear the bell but you answer the call

♪ Comes to you as to us all, yeah!

♪ And it's time for the hammer to fall... ♪ The ballet with a BBC cameraman was shockingly charismatic.

♪ Every night, every day

♪ A little piece of you is falling away

♪ Lift your face the western way... ♪

And it was as if all the artists backstage had heard a dog whistle.

And their heads turned and the frisson you felt was, "They're stealing the show."

♪ I've paid my dues

♪ Time after time

♪ I did my sentence

♪ But committed no crime

♪ And bad mistakes

♪ I've made a few

♪ I've had my share of sand kicked in my face

♪ But I've come through

♪ We are the champions, my friend... ♪ I defy anybody who saw it not to have goose pimples on the back of their neck when you saw that sea of people.

♪ We are the champions

♪ We are the champions... ♪ I remember looking up and seeing the whole place going completely bonkers in unison and thinking, "Oh, this is going well."

♪ ..the champions

♪ We are the champions, my friend

♪ And we'll keep on fighting till the end... ♪ We did have an unfair advantage. We had done football stadiums.

Freddie particularly learned this magical way of involving everybody. In a huge football stadium, he could make everybody feel they were in contact.

♪ We are the champions...

♪ ..of the world. ♪

People say, "Was it a career move?"

Well, no, it wasn't a career move but of course that's in the back of everybody's mind.

We got a great reception from the crowd, even at Wembley, and also from the TV audience as well.

So in fact, it was a great boost of confidence, in a way, for the group.

To have conquered Live Aid in that way undoubtedly breathed fresh energy into the band.

It was a shot in the arm and we went back in the studio.

We were back in Munich with all its attendant dangers, so we tried to keep ourselves in the studio as much as possible.


♪ Hey! One man, one goal

♪ One mission, one heart... ♪ I had a page, a sort of poem that was sort of half nicked off Martin Luther King's famous speech.

It doesn't fit. It does.

One goddamn decision. Real decision.

No, it won't fit.

It was all one this and one that.

♪ One God, one soul, make one decision... ♪ Make one decision. One true religion.

♪ One God, one vision

♪ One man, one goal, one true religion

♪ One dump, one turd Two tits, John Deacon

♪ Woh-oh-oh-oh-oh

♪ Give me one vision... ♪ The Magic Tour was the biggest tour we'd ever undertaken.

♪ No wrong, no right

♪ I'm gonna tell you there's no black and no white... ♪ We planned an entire tour of stadium gigs.

♪ All we need is one world, one vision... ♪

Massive shows all over Europe, and really fantastic reception. We hit another level.

We were finally in the place we'd always dreamed of being, perhaps.

♪ I had a dream when I was young

♪ A dream, sweet illusion... ♪ That tour had gigs like Budapest in it, which in itself is a great thing.

Budapest was the first stadium concert behind the Iron Curtain.

People hitch-hiked from all over Eastern Europe.

♪ Look what they've done to my dream... ♪ It was a great tour because it ended up two nights at Wembley.

Hello there, my beauties. This is happening.

♪ Give me your hands Give me your hearts... ♪ In addition to Wembley Stadium, we put on an extra one because it sold out so quick, the two nights, so we put Knebworth on.

♪ One voice, one hope One real decision

♪ Gimme one light One light Gimme one hope One hope

♪ Just gimme, ah One man, one man

♪ One bar one night One day hey hey Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme fried chicken. #

They were the final shows with Freddie, and I remember it being pretty much perfect.

MUSIC: "God Save The Queen"

I just got the vibe from Freddie, he felt that he wasn't maybe able to do any more.

I know there'll be a time when I can't run around on stage because it'll be ridiculous. There comes a time when you have to stop.

I think he had an idea that he might not be terribly well.


Freddie told me that he was HIV positive before he told the band.

This put me in a very difficult position because he told me he didn't want me to tell the band.

So there was I, managing a band, knowing something of crucial importance to the band which I couldn't pass on to them.

♪ Every drop of rain that falls in Sahara desert says it all

♪ It's a miracle

♪ All God's creations Great and small

♪ The Golden Gate and the Taj Mahal

♪ That's a miracle

♪ Test-tube babies being born

♪ Mothers, fathers, dead and gone

♪ It's a miracle... ♪ There were rumours and he was obviously suffering, and we didn't know what it was, and rumour, rumour, rumour...

And so he did sit us down at one point and said, "Look, you probably know what I'm going to say.

"You know what I'm suffering from. You know what the problem is but I don't want to talk about it anymore. I just want to make music until the day I fucking die. And...let's get on with it.

♪ It's a miracle

♪ It's a miracle... ♪ These are some of our best studio times.

We've made the decision that all the songs we write will be credited to all of us, so it kind of releases a bit of... positive energy in us.

They became closer and closer, without any doubt.

The sharing of writing credits was a major breakthrough.

Some magical things happened, I think.

There's this track called The Miracle, itself, which I think is one of Freddie's most beautiful creations.

♪ The one thing The one thing

♪ We're all waiting for

♪ Is peace on earth Peace on earth

♪ And an end to war An end to war... ♪

'I love the track. It's all so optimistic about the world' and the miracles that are being found in the world.

Which is incredible when you think what he's looking at because he knows what he's got and he knows what the prognosis is.

♪ That time will come One day you'll see

♪ When we can all be friends

♪ That time will come One day you'll see

♪ When we can all... ♪ APPLAUSE Special Award for an outstanding contribution to British music goes to John Deacon, Brian May, Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor - Queen.


The first indications something wasn't right was Freddie looked a little thinner to me.

And I called John up to see what was going on.

I said, "Is something wrong with Freddie?" And he wouldn't tell me.

The thing that annoyed me more than anything was a shot of Freddie in The Sun and he'd just come out of the doctor's, I think.

It's a really grainy, full-page shot. "Is this man dying?"

And I thought, "You fucking wankers."

♪ Scandal

♪ Scandal... ♪

We hid everything and we avoided questions.

♪ Scandal... ♪ I guess we lied.

Because we wanted to protect him.

♪ Scandal... ♪ I would then say anything to anybody. "Is Fred sick?"

"Absolutely not, no. He was in the gym yesterday.

"Fuck you," you know. "None of your business."

Everybody had to draw the wagons around him.

Because at that time, to become ill was to have a death sentence.

♪ Today the headlines Tomorrow hard times

♪ And no-one ever really knows The truth from the lies... ♪ His house was surrounded by...

I don't know, a couple of hundred, I reckon.

Just like vultures, really.

♪ Deeper and deeper inside... ♪ It was utterly shocking, you know.

Filming the groceries in the back of the car boot.

♪ Scandal... ♪

"Any medicine in there?" You know, it's absolutely shocking.

It became difficult to work in London, there was such a terrible focus of attention on him.

People sticking cameras through his toilet windows, as soon as the rumours were out there.

So Montreal was a much more peaceful place to work so we ended up doing a lot of stuff there.

SONG: "I'm Going Slightly Mad"

Freddie felt much safer there because people didn't bother.

You know. They weren't intrusively observing him.

At that point we can't play live but in the things that we're doing, it's business as usual.

♪ I'm going slightly mad

♪ I'm going slightly mad... ♪ He was determined to work right up to the last minute.

I was surprised that he did Going Slightly Mad.

♪ It finally happened... ♪ Which I thought was a good video, actually, and it had lots of humour in it.

♪ I'm slightly mad! ♪

There was a lot more humour in Freddie than I think the general public realised.

You want to take it? No, I...

Oh! What's it doing?

HOOTS OF LAUGHTER Roger, what did you do?

It was just really a very close time.

Go for me. Waaa!

Freddie found an amazing tranquillity and I never really heard him complain.

I remember we went out one night and he had horrible problems with his leg.

And Freddie saw me looking at it and said, "Oh, Brian, do you want to see what it's like?"

And he showed me, and I think... he reacted to my face, and he said, "I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to do that to you."

I never heard him go, "This is really awful. My life is shit.

"I'm going to die." Never, never, never.

He was an amazingly strong person.

The sicker Freddie got, the more he seemed to need to record, to give himself something to do, you know - some sort of reason to get up.

And he would make it in whenever he could.

So really, it was a period of fairly intense work, actually.

Freddie is becoming weakened by this horrible disease and he finds it hard to stand up a lot of the time but he'll throw a couple of vodkas down and prop himself up on the mixing desk and have his mike there, and go for it.

Roll camera, roll playback.

♪ Sometimes I get to feeling

♪ I was back in the old days

♪ Long ago... ♪

'I can hear the voice is getting thinner.'

♪ Things seemed so perfect You know... ♪

'I think you can really tell that it's an ailing voice.'

Although he hits the notes.

♪ The sun was always shining

♪ We just lived for fun

♪ Sometimes... ♪

'Roger started writing These Are The Days Of Our Lives about his kids' and the way he felt about life and how it comes back.

But of course, in that context, it had another meaning.

♪ Those were the days of our lives... ♪

'He looked so ill there. It was quite scary,' and...I thought that was a very brave thing to do.

And why not, you know?

'He spent hours and hours and hours in make-up, sorting himself out, 'so it would be OK.'

♪ Those days are all gone now but

♪ One thing is true... ♪ I did too many movements.

But I just wanted to see... No, I know...

♪ I still love you... ♪ I just want to see... It doesn't look...

It doesn't look...

I think it should be waisted.

Do you know what I mean? I want a little bit of shape here. A tiny bit.

'Yeah. I like the shape now.'

♪ Those days are all gone now, but

♪ One thing's still true

♪ When I look... ♪

'Freddie actually kind of says a goodbye in that song.'

♪ I still love you... ♪

I still love you.

Innuendo was out on the streets, it was number one and two weeks later they were here in Montreux.

And they started doing more music.

And Freddie, at that time, said, "Write me stuff. I know I don't have very long.

"Keep writing me words. Keep giving me things.

"I will sing and then you can do what you like with it afterwards, "you know, finish it off."

And so I was writing on scraps of paper these lines of Mother Love.

He was dying and he did those things and he knew he would be dead when they were finished.

Because he said to me, "I'm going to sing it now, "because I can't wait for them to do the music on this.

"I'll give it to you on a drum machine.

"Give me a drum machine thing... They'll finish it off."

♪ I don't want to make no waves

♪ You can give me all the love... ♪ Every time I gave him another line, he would sing it, sing it again, and sing it again.

So we had three takes for every line, and that was it.

♪ I long for peace before I die... ♪ Mother Love, I think, was the last one. There's an exceptional spine-chilling note in the middle.

A fantastic bit of singing.

♪ Out in the city

♪ In the cold world outside

♪ I don't want pity

♪ Just a safe place to hide

♪ Mama, please, let me back inside... ♪ It's absolutely...spine-chilling.

And we got to the last verse and he said, "Oh, I'm not up to this now, I need to go away and have a rest.

"I'll come back and finish it off", you know.

And he never came back.

That was the last moment that I had with him in the studio.

I went to see Freddie, and it was in fact the last time I saw him.

He said to me, "I haven't given you anything in my will.

"You're my executor, you can do anything with my legacy, "you can do anything with my music

"but never make me boring."

The last time I saw Freddie was, Anita and I went to see him and he was in bed, with the curtains open so he could see out into his garden, and I was talking about things in his garden, saying, "That's really interesting" and he said, "Guys, you don't need to feel like you need to make conversation.

"I'm just so happy that you're here, "so even if we say nothing, it's just having these moments."

The worst thing was I was actually on my way to see him, and I was about 300 yards away when Peter Freestone rang me to tell me, "Don't bother coming cos he's gone."

It was me who wrote the little epitaph that's on his statue in Montreux which just says, "Freddie Mercury, Lover of Life - Singer of Songs."

To me, that sums him up because he lived life to the full, there's no question, with all that that entailed.

He was a generous man, a kind man, an impatient man sometimes, but utterly dedicated to what he felt was important, which was making music.

We made the announcement that we were going to do a tribute concert to him when we felt that we could, to send him out in the style which he deserved.

We hope that a lot of you will be able to join us on April 20th at Wembley Stadium for a celebration of Freddie's life and career.

You're all welcome. Please join us.

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE So we drew up a list of people that we'd like to be on the show.

Roger got the ball rolling.

Roger got up one morning and said, "Look, we're doing this." And made a few phone calls.

And Brian said, "Well, if you can get that lot, I'll come."

On stage, Mr Roger Daltrey!

Mr Robert Plant, thank you!

Mr David Bowie!


♪ Any way the wind blo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ows! ♪ We got a date, Wembley Stadium... Had to be Wembley Stadium, didn't it? Had to be.

The scene of Freddie's greatest triumphs.

A lot of amazing things happened.

I'd like to offer something, in a very simple fashion.

David Bowie spontaneously went into the Lord's Prayer which was a surprise to us all.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever, A-men.

APPLAUSE God bless Queen.

God bless you.

Thank you, good night.

I want to hear every single person.

See every single pair of hands.

Three, four.

♪ Find me somebody to love

♪ Find me somebody to love

♪ Find me somebody to love

♪ Find me somebody to love

♪ Somebody! Somebody!

♪ Somebody! Somebody! Somebody! Somebody!

♪ Somebody find me somebody to love

♪ Anybody find me-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e...

♪ Somebody to-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o... ♪ Come on!

AUDIENCE: ♪ Lo-o-o-o-ve. ♪

'It was completely cathartic.'

It was like working out a bit of grief in a way.


♪ Somebody find me somebody to-oo-oo love

♪ Find me somebody to-oo-oo love Oo-oo-oo-oo-ooh!

♪ Find me is somebody, somebody

♪ To-oo-oo love

♪ Anybody anywhere find me somebody to love

♪ Yeah, yeah

♪ O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oh

♪ O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oh. ♪ CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

And I remember just as we were coming off, Joe Elliott from Def Leopard put his hand on my arm and said, "Stop, Brian, "just turn around and look at that audience and remember this moment.

"Nothing like this will ever happen again."

'The incredible thing is, it's 40 years since the band was formed.

'The band is probably as big as it's ever been.'

And yet 20 of those 40 years have been without Freddie.

We don't have John either because he's chosen to be in a very different place.

For Roger and I... there is always that searching.

♪ The show must go on! ♪

What's lurking in the wings was the material we'd done with Freddie which was unfinished, and what were we going to do with this, make an album?

Made In Heaven was obviously different.

It was very weird working with Freddie's voice coming out of the speakers but Brian and I felt that we knew what Freddie would have been thinking so we got there and I was very pleased with the result.

I feel like it was the right completion.

It was, um...it was the right album to finish up on.

Once you've passed your initiation into being a rock star, it never leaves you.

You cannot stop having that feeling inside you that makes you want to play.

♪ The show must go on! ♪ When we did the Paul Rodgers tour, it was great, actually.

Paul was a great singer, completely different.

♪ I've never given in On with the show

♪ The show must go on. ♪ It constantly amazes me to think we were lucky enough to be in a great band, to have a great band together, and that, actually, people still like the music, you know.

Queen is such a stimulating creative environment, there's really nothing quite that could live up to that.

There was a perfect creative hothouse that was Queen at its best.

♪ One dream, one soul

♪ One prize, one goal

♪ One golden glance of what should be

♪ It's a kind of magic

♪ One flash of light that shows the way

♪ No mortal man

♪ Can win this day

♪ It's a kind of magic

♪ The bell that rings

♪ Inside your mind

♪ Is challenging

♪ The doors of time

♪ This rage that lasts a thousand years

# Will soon be, will soon be Will soon be...

♪ Will soon be done

♪ Will soon be done CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

♪ E-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-up AUDIENCE: # E-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-up

♪ E-e-up E-e-up

♪ E-e-up E-e-up

♪ E-e-up E-e-up

♪ Ee-do-ree-ro-re-ro

♪ Ee-do-ree-ro-re-ro. ♪ Fuck you.