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Brian May Has Rocked Out in the Car to Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Frank Micelotta, Getty Images / Paramount
Frank Micelotta, Getty Images / Paramount

When Mike Myers and Dana Carvey banged their heads to Queen‘s “Bohemian Rhapsody” during one of Wayne’s World‘s most famous sequences, it was a case of art imitating life.

In honor of the song’s 40th anniversary, Queen guitarist Brian May spoke with the BBC about the history of the group’s landmark hit, revealing that the excellent party time depicted in Wayne’s World struck surprisingly close to home.

“I didn’t know Mike Myers,” recalled May, “but he rang me up out of the blue and said, ‘We’ve done this amazing sequence in our new film — can we have your approval?” Myers specifically asked May to play the scene for singer Freddie Mercury, who was near the end of his life. “I took it around to Freddie, who was not in a good state at that time. He was … confined to his bed, but I took it round and played it to him and he loved it. Strangely enough, the humor in it was quite close to our own. Because we did that kind of thing in the car, bouncing up and down to our own tracks!”

The song’s inclusion in the movie gave “Bohemian Rhapsody” a new lease on life at Top 40 radio, where it enjoyed an impressive second run in the upper reaches of the chart. As May points out, it sparked a comeback for Queen in the U.S., where they’d struggled to regain momentum on the airwaves after the mid-’80s.

“There’s a huge irony there — because there was a time when we completely owned America and we would tour there every year. It seemed like we couldn’t go wrong — and then we lost America for various reasons, which are now history,” mused May. “Freddie had a very dark sense of humor. And he used to say, ‘I suppose I’ll have to die before we get America back.’ And, in a sense, that was what happened. And it was Wayne’s World — which came completely out of nowhere — that made it happen.”

Even after 40 years, May says he isn’t tired of “Bohemian Rhapsody” — though he doesn’t rock out in the car the way he used to. “I still enjoy hearing it. If it comes on the radio, I’ll turn it up and listen,” he insisted. “But no air guitar. I’m too old for air guitar now.”

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