Why the Lyrics of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ Made a Member of Queen Uneasy

“Don’t Stop Me Now” was not one of Queen’s big hits. It came back in popular culture in a major way after being used in movies and television shows. Today, “Don’t Stop Me Now” is widely considered to be one of the many classic songs Freddie Mercury wrote. Brian May, however, was rather uncomfortable with it. 

Freddie Mercury | FG/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

Why Freddie Mercury’s life made Brian May uncomfortable with ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’

“Don’t Stop Me Now” is an incredible song for several reasons. Firstly, it has some of the best vocal harmonies in Queen’s discography. In addition, “Don’t Stop Me Now” has an infectious energy that captures the feeling of going past your limits in the best way possible. Life reports the song was autobiographical and it certainly captures Mercury’s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Despite its charms, May had mixed feelings about the track.

“I thought it was a lot of fun, but I did have an undercurrent feeling of, ‘aren’t we talking about danger here,’ because we were worried about Freddie at this point,” May said, according to Billboard. May was worried about Mercury at the time because of his promiscuity and drug use. The fact May saw a dark side to the song is ironic, considering how many people see it as very upbeat. 

“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

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“That feeling lingers, but it’s become almost the most successful Queen track as regards to what people play in their car or at their weddings,” said May, according to Smooth Radio. “It’s become a massive, massive track and an anthem to people who want to be hedonistic. It was kind of a stroke of genius from Freddie.”

The hedonism of the song was made more evident by its music video. In the video, Mercury wears a shirt advertising the Mineshaft, a notorious club in New York City. The stuff in the club was risque enough to make Christian Grey’s red room from Fifty Shades of Grey look like Disneyland. Mercury enjoyed hanging out at the Mineshaft and it made sense he paid tribute to it in the video for a song about his life.

The ironic second life of a Queen song

Queen | Ian Tyas/Keystone/Getty Images

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According to Rolling Stone, “Don’t Stop Me Now” merely hit No. 86 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its performance did not live up to expectations. However, the track was saved from obscurity by the horror-comedy film Shaun of the Dead. The track was used in a memorable scene where the film’s main characters fight zombies. After that, the song appeared in the film Shazam as well as in a number of commercials.

Since then, “Don’t Stop Me Now” has been covered by everybody from Katy Perry to the cast of Glee. The song is now seen as empowering by many people. Ironically, a song which May found discomforting has become an empowerment anthem to numerous fans.

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