The internet is full of images and videos connecting Elvis Presley with the song A Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Many fans believe that the king of rock and roll wrote the hit, but that isn’t actually the case. The song belongs to another rock legend, Freddie Mercury.
And despite A Crazy Little Thing Called Love being a massive hit, it took little effort from Mercury to create the tune. Here’s the story of the song that refreshed Mercury’s image and shot his band, Queen to the top of the US charts.
Why does everyone think Elvis sang ‘A Crazy Little Thing Called Love’?
Search YouTube for A Crazy Little Thing Called Love and the results will be filled with images of Elvis. Many believe he wrote, or at least performed the song before his death in 1977. While it’s true that the song fits Elvis’ normal style, it wasn’t written until 1979 — two years after Elvis’ death.
Mercury created the song as a tribute to Elvis, but the king of rock and roll never heard the song and definitely didn’t perform it.
So, why does everyone believe Elvis is behind A Crazy Little Thing Called Love? Since Mercury wrote the song as a tribute, he often performed the hit in typical Elvis fashion, wearing a black leather jacket, white t-shirt, and slicked-back hair. In addition, many Elvis impersonators have performed the song over the years, adding to the myth that it’s an Elvis creation.
Mercury may not have earned the same legend status that Elvis gained during his lifetime, but he was certainly a rock-god in his own right and deserves credit for A Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
‘A Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ was a big departure from Freddie Mercury’s previous style
One of the reasons that people don’t realize Mercury wrote A Crazy Little Thing Called Love is that it’s so different from his other songs. For example, one of Mercury’s other big hits, Bohemian Rhapsody, was an eccentric rock masterpiece that lacked any sort of pop style that you see in A Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
However, Mercury loved to mix things up and created lots of variety in his music.
“It’s not typical of my work, but that’s because nothing is typical of my work,” Mercury once said of the song in The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, by Fred Bronson.
Another difference was that it was the first song Mercury had ever played rhythm guitar. In fact, Mercury himself even admitted that he had limited knowledge of guitar chords. But, he thinks that may have actually helped his song-writing ability.
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love took me five or ten minutes,” Mercury said in a 1981 interview with Melody Maker. “I did that on the guitar, which I can’t play for nuts, and in one way it was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords. It’s a good discipline because I simply had to write within a small framework. I couldn’t work through too many chords and because of that restriction I wrote a good song, I think.”
Freddie Mercury wrote ‘A Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ in the bathtub
A Crazy Little Thing Called Love was Queen’s first number one hit in the United States. It also made it to number one in the band’s home country of the United Kingdom. The song topped the charts in several countries for many weeks. However, despite the song’s success, it took Mercury very little time to create. The process was so easy that Mercury came up with the song while taking a bubble bath.
According to Songfacts, Peter Hince, the head of Queen’s road crew, told Mojo Magazine in 2009 that Mercury wrote A Crazy Little Thing Called Love while in Germany, surrounded by bubbles in a Hilton bathtub.
“The idea for the song came to him while he was in the bath,” Hince said. “He emerged, wrapped in a towel, I handed him the guitar and he worked out the chords there and then. Fred had this knack of knowing a great pop song.”
It’s incredible to think that such a momentous event in history, one that we are still talking about today, took place in a simple bathroom.