Friday, September 10, 2010

Queen Song of the Week: Love of My Life

Unfortunately I don't own any of the Freddie Mercury solo albums so I'm rather ill-informed when it comes to his career outside of Queen. Therefore, this week in honor of Freddie's birthday on Sunday (click here) I've decided to feature another song that Freddie wrote for Queen's 1975 release A Night at the Opera.

This week's Queen Song of the Week is Love of My Life. It was written by Freddie Mercury and is the 9th track on A Night at the Opera. A live version of the song was released as a single in 1979 where it peaked at #63 on the U.K. charts.

Courtesy of bonjovi1567

Of all the songs Freddie Mercury wrote for A Night at the Opera (excluding Bohemian Rhapsody which is just in a class of it's own), this song is definitely my favorite. The studio version features Dr. May on a harp! Despite what some sources claim, however, Dr. May is not a harpist. Rather, he played one chord at a time and the tune was pieced together.

Dr. May discussed the difficulty of playing the harp in 1982: I did it chord by chord. Actually, it took longer to tune the thing than to play it. It was a nightmare because every time someone opened the door, the temperature would change and the whole thing would go out. I would hate to have to play a harp on stage. I just figured out how it worked - the pedals and everything - and did it bit by bit.

Originally written on the piano, the band reworked this song on the acoustic guitar and it soon became a live favorite, featuring Dr. May and Freddie alone on stage. The song exploded in South America while the band was touring in the late 1970s and as a result was put in the set list. Typically Freddie would sing the first few lines and then let the audience take over in a sing along style. When the band recorded their 1981 show in Montreal, they kept the song in the set list which resulted in a rather charming moment of Freddie realizing that the audience wasn't terribly familiar with the song and he'd have to actually sing it in its entirety!

Courtesy of QueenOfficial

This is another song that Husband really likes though I'm pretty sure he's more a fan of the live version. I am as well because it showcases Freddie Mercury's ability to connect with the audience.

The lyrics of the song are rather lovely and are suspected to be about Mary Austin, Freddie's girlfriend in the early 1970s. Though they broke up right around the time this album was recorded, they remained very good friends. When Freddie Mercury died in 1991, he left a vast majority of his estate to Ms. Austin. To this day she lives in his Kensington home.

Even after Freddie's death, the song continues to be a fan favorite at concerts. Dr. May performed the song at his Brixton Academy show in 1993 (click here for the first bit) and when Queen toured with Paul Rodgers in 2005 and 2008, Mr. Rodgers would sing the first few lines of the song before letting the audience take over. Just another example of Queen's music living on.

Happy Listening!


  1. Good pick! Did Emily ever tell you about the time we went to London together? I tagged along on a trip she and some family were going on, and coincidentally, the hotel we stayed at ( which I did not pick) was in Kensington, about a 5 min walk to Freddie's mansion! It was amazing to be there, even though theres this really high wall all around it.

  2. Suz - Yeah it is!

    Sarah - That's so funny because Maggie/Emily were just talking about being in England and seeing his house and I couldn't figure out how they knew it was his, but it makes sense if you were there too!

  3. Love this song - it's one of my absolute favorites!