Friday, October 15, 2010

Queen Song of the Week: The Prophets Song

Only two original songs left on Queen's 1975 album A Night at the Opera!

I say original songs because the album ends with a guitar version of God Save the Queen, which was obviously not written by the band. At the end of concerts, the band would play a recorded version of the song as they took to the front of the stage for bows. Click here to listen to it.

Alright back to this week's song. The Prophets Song was written by Dr. May and at 8:17 in length is Queen's longest recorded song (excluding Track 13 at the end of Made in Heaven, which is 22:32 long and contains instrumental bits mixed with Freddie talking).

Supposedly before Bohemian Rhapsody was selected as the first single from A Night at the Opera, The Prophets Song was also being considered.

Video courtesy of QueenSource.

There are some Queen songs that most diehard fans are crazy about: The March of the Black Queen (reviewed here) is one, The Show Must Go On (reviewed here) is another, and The Prophets Song falls into that category too.

Dr. May based the song on a dream he once had. He has said, "I had a dream about what seemed like revenge on people, and I couldn't really work out in the dream what it was that people had done wrong. It was something like a flood. Things had gone much too far and as a kind of reparation, the whole thing had to start again."

Probably the most recognizable bit of this song is the vocal canon that begins about 3:30 into the song and lasts for nearly two and a half minutes! When I was in Girl Scouts as a child, we'd sing songs in rounds and that's basically what this is. My favorite bit is when the two groups simultaneously sing, "Come here" and "I hear you" singing "here" at the same time.

For me, this is one of those songs that I forget about for ages, then listen to again and remember how great it is. It'll probably never be one of my favorites (just because my short attention span really can't handle a song this long and intricate!), but when I do hear it, I always enjoy it.

Happy Listening!


  1. Yes! I knew it!!! Such an amazing piece of work, it's like a musical adventure. I wonder if this and Bohemian Rhapsody were composed around the same time, or if one influenced the other.

  2. From what I can figure out, Brian was working on this one way before BoRhap came about then he finished it for this album. Nothing really talks about if they were influencing each other but I think you can definitely see some similarities in the two songs.