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Queen have a huge catalog of hits. Many of the band’s fans would have a hard time picking their ten favorite Queen songs, much less their favorite Queen song. Freddie Mercury was different.

Mercury was both Queen’s frontman and one of the major creative forces behind the band. If anyone knew Queen’s catalog, he did. Despite this, he had no difficulty choosing his favorite Queen song.

Freddie Mercury | G/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

When Aretha Franklin inspired Freddie Mercury to write a song

Critics often hail “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the crown jewel of the Queen canon. In addition, the band gave us sports anthems, killer disco tracks, and more experimental songs. However, Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury says Mercury’s favorite Queen song was a gospel number called “Somebody to Love.”

According to the book Somebody to Love: The Life, Death, and Legacy of Freddie Mercury, Mercury explained the song was influenced by soul legend Aretha Franklin. “For ‘Somebody to Love,’ we had the same three people singing on the big choir section, but i think it had a different kind of technical approach because it was a gospel way of singing – which was different to us. That track was me going a bit mad. I just wanted to write something in the Aretha Franklin kind of mode.”

“Somebody to Love” by Queen

Franklin’s music got more eclectic as time went on, but “Somebody to Love” was specifically inspired by Franklin’s earlier stuff. According to Bohemian Rhapsody: The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury, Mercury said “I was inspired by the gospel approach she had on her earlier albums. Although it might sound like the same approach on the harmonies, it is very different in the studio because it’s a different range.”

The creation of ‘Somebody to Love’ and its legacy

Mercury revealed the process of creating the song was labor-intensive. “I knew I wanted a gospel choir feel to it and I knew we’d have to do it all ourselves. You can imagine how long it took to do it – over and over and over again.” Mercury went on to say it took over a week for him and the other members of Queen to finish the track!

Freddie Mercury | Pete Still/Redferns

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Mercury said he and the other members of Queen had no issue taking such a long time to craft songs. He said the members of Queen would rather take a long time getting a song just right instead of looking back on one of their tracks and wishing they’d done a better job on it. He revealed everyone in the band was a perfectionist.

The band’s work on “Somebody to Love” paid off. The track immediately became a hit on the British charts. Today, it’s considered one of their masterpieces. Jer Bulsara, Mercury’s mother, also said it was her favorite Queen song. According to AXS, Rami Malek — the actor who played Mercury in the film Bohemian Rhapsody — said it was one of his favorite Queen songs as well, alongside the lesser-known track “Lily of the Valley.”

Also see: Why Did ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Upset Freddie Mercury’s Mother?