6 Weird-But-True 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Facts on Freddie Mercury's 65th Birthday

Queen Bohemian RhapsodyThe calendar may say "Labor Day," but the world is celebrating what would have been the 65th birthday of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury today. Even the Google Doodle has gone from the standard imagery to music video form to celebrate the late singer's powerful pipes. But if you really want to understand the power of Freddie Mercury, you have to check out his most controversial creation: Bohemian Rhapsody.

It's been called Queen's "grandest moment" by the experts at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it's on countless "best of" lists. Everyone puzzles over the meaning. But here are some real off-the-wall facts about the song everyone's singing today:

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1. It Broke the Top Ten on the Charts Twice. Initially released in 1976, Bohemian Rhapsody catapulted to the top. It enjoyed another trip to the top when Mike Myers' Wayne's World featured the song in 1992.

2. It's Seven Minutes Long. Nothing compared to Iron Butterfly's 17-minute long In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida or Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick (which crosses the 45 minute mark), but the opus-like length was supposed to keep the song from ever achieving a spot in regular airplay. Supposed to.

3. It's Powerful Enough to Get Itself Banned. A Wasila, Alaska (yes, home to good old Sarah Palin) refused to allow students to sing the tune at graduation not because Mercury's lyrics mention killing a man but because the singer/songwriter was gay.

4. It Requires a Disclaimer in Iran. The first rock album ever sold in the country -- because Mercury is of Persian descent -- Queen's Greatest Hits included a leaflet that claimed the reference to a man killed in Bohemian Rhapsody was actually accidental. The leaflet claimed he then sold his soul to the devil, but confessed to God and got it back on the night before his execution.

5. It's the Only Song to Win Queen an MTV Video Music Award. Sixteen years after the song was released and a year after Mercury died from complications from the AIDS virus, Bohemian Rhapsody snagged the band its only VMA -- a nod for "Best Video From a Film."

6. It's the Most Popular Muppets Cover Ever. At least if you go by YouTube views, which hits more than 22 million. That's more than the 20 million Queen's official YouTube channel has for the original. Check them out:

Is Bohemian Rhapsody the best of Queen, the best of Freddie Mercury?

 

Image via YouTube

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