Freddie Mercury Said This Queen Song Was a ‘Killer to Do Live’

Queen’s Freddie Mercury is one of the most acclaimed classic rock vocalists of all time. However, one of his band’s songs was still very difficult for him to perform live. Here’s what he had to say about this classic song — and how the world reacted to it.

Queen's Freddie Mercury with a flag
Queen’s Freddie Mercury | FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Freddie Mercury said this classic Queen song was very hard to recreate live

In the book Freddie Mercury: A Life, in His Own Words, Mercury discussed singing Queen songs at length, He mentioned how songs don’t always sound the same live as they do on record. He cited Queen’s classic track “Somebody to Love” as an example of a song which is difficult to recreate live for technical reasons.

“I would say songs like ‘[Bohemian] Rhapsody’ and ‘Somebody to Love’ are big production numbers – very, very vocal -orientated, which is a very heavy aspect of Queen,” he opined. “That’s why ‘Somebody to Love’ is a killer to do live, I tell you, that is very nerve-racking, and the first time we did that song, we did it so fast because we just wanted to get it over with. Those kinds of tracks have to be arranged differently. I mean, how could you recreate a 160 -piece gospel choir on stage?”

Queen’s “Somebody to Love”

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Mercury said he couldn’t recreate that song live. “As far as I know, a lot of the people who buy our records are intelligent enough to realize that all the vocals are just the four of us,” he added. “Therefore, they know that we cannot possibly recreate a 160-piece choir on stage, no matter how hard we try. As long as the atmosphere of the song is put across on stage, that’s what more important as far as I’m concerned.”

How did the world react to Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’

Mercury described “Somebody to Love” as “killer.” Was the rest of the world as impressed?  The track reached No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was not an enormous hit, but it charted higher than most of Queen’s other songs, including classics like “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Under Pressure,” and “I Want to Break Free.” In addition, the song’s parent album, A Day at the Races, reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

Troye Sivan’s “Somebody to Love”

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“Somebody to Love” still seemed to resonate decades after its release. The track was included on the Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The song even featured in movies like Happy Feet and Ella Enchanted.

In addition, Troye Sivan released a moody, low-key cover of “Somebody to Love” in 2019, around the time Bohemian Rhapsody hit theaters. Interestingly, Sivan’s version eschewed the gospel choir that made the original version of the song so difficult to recreate live. Mercury said the song was difficult to sing, however, it seems the world was glad he sang it.

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