Freddie Mercury Was ‘Outraged’ by How This Queen Song Was Received in England

Freddie Mercury was upset because he felt the English public rejected one of Queen’s songs. He acknowledged the song was unlike any music the band produced before. On the other hand, Mercury felt the American public embraced the song.

Freddie Mercury of Queen holding a Union Jack flag
Freddie Mercury of Queen | FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Freddie Mercury wanted this Queen album to be different from the band’s previous albums

In the 1970s, Queen became famous for its rock songs. With its 1982 album Hot Space, the band tried something different. Hot Space draws a lot more from disco music than Queen’s previous albums. According to the book Freddie Mercury: A Life, In His Own Words, Mercury said he wanted the album to take its cues from his band’s dance hit “Another One Bites the Dust.” Mercury also wanted Hot Space to be more musically cohesive than previous Queen albums.

Mercury said the English public didn’t embrace the album. “In this case, with Hot Space, I think it is a big risk and the public have been torn between two,” he opined. “I hope the Americans will see it as something new because the other side of the spectrum is that England just totally ignored it. It was obviously not their cup of tea. So, they just rejected it totally.”

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Freddie Mercury said this song ‘was the 1st of its kind’ from Queen

Mercury was particularly perturbed by the way the English public rejected Hot Space‘s second single: “Body Language.” “I’m extremely upset — outraged, in fact,” he revealed. “I just think they could have given it a chance. I mean, I know ‘Body Language’ was the first one of its kind from us, but it met with such disapproval in England. God!”

Mercury said the reaction to “Body Language” wasn’t going to cause him to return to Queen’s roots. “If they think that because of that situation, I’m going to send leave back and come out with a rehash of ‘[Bohemian] Rhapsody,’ they’re mistaken,” he said. “There’s no way I’m going to see that. But I’m glad that the Americans have seen that side of it.”

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How United Kingdom and United States audiences reacted to the song

“Body Language” was more popular in the U.S. than in the U.K. The Official Charts Company reports the track reached No. 25 in the U.K., staying on the chart for six weeks. Hot Space became more popular there, peaking at No. 4 in the U.K. and lasting on the charts for 19 weeks.

On the other hand, “Body Language” peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 14 weeks. Hot Space hit No. 22 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 21 weeks. Although “Body Language” was more successful in the U.S. than it was in the U.K., it still wasn’t as successful in the U.S. as other Queen songs like “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” or “We Are the Champions.” While Mercury wasn’t completely satisfied with how audiences reacted to “Body Language,” the song remains a classic dance track.