Some days there just seems to be a lot of synchronicity running through my life. It feels like I have been a Queen fan forever.
Today my friend Don shared the link to Hayseed Dixie‘s country music video parody/cover of the classic Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” Redneck Rhapsody. Although I don’t think their video is anything to write home about, musically it is very well done. You haven’t heard Bohemian Rhapsody until you’ve heard some of their banjo riffs. Instead of being imitative Hayseed Dixie does a whole new Blue Grass interpretation of this classic Rock song. From my perspective, that is what a cover ought to strive to do.
Then, there is the real Queen video of Bohemian Rhapsody. Although state of the art when it was created (remember: this video predates MTV) even to me, a queen fan, it seems to drag somehow now.
But my favorite video of this song is undounbtedly the Muppet’s interpretation of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
Just the other day a friend remarked that he’d been discussing “Bohemian Rhapsody” with a co-worker and they had agreed among themselves that although the song is musically excellent, the lyrics were meaningless.
For their eddification I want to share the following interpretation a young man I know did as a school project some years back:
Lyrics by Freddie Mercury (1975) Bohemian Rhapsody’s main message is about what poverty stricken people have to do in order to survive.
“Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality”
The line between fantasy and reality line is fuzzed and the singer cannot tell which is which.
“A little high, little low”
Some days are better than others, like one day he could have enough to eat and others he might not have any food.
“Any way the wind blows”
is a metaphor for “anything that happens”
“Mama I just killed a man” emphasizes the main message
“Too late my time has come” means that it is time to make a big decision in life.
“Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth”
He alone can fix what he has done.
“Scaramouche, scaramouche will you do the fandango- ”
The powers that be making fun of him
We will not let you go-
Let him go”
The justice system and his family are fighting over him.
“Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me,
He has a place reserved in hell.
“So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die
Can’t do this to me baby”
He insists that you cannot treat him like a doormat.
The music in the song changes for different moods, heavy guitar for defiant and and light piano for sad.
The social implications are about what poverty stricken people have to do to survive.
Willem Jonkman, 2005
But then, the Queen “Live” in Concert version is pretty much like what I remember from the one time I was privileged to see Queen perform live at Maple Leaf Gardens. What a great show. Of course my memories stretch back to my college days, when most of my classmates knews the words to a goodly number of Queen songs.
Queen certainly made a great deal of beautiful music, and whether you think it means anything or not, Bohemian Rhapsody is unquestionably an excellent piece of music. Thanks guys.