23 Nov Bohemian Rhapsody Hits #1 on UK Charts
On this day in 1975, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody arrived at #1 on the UK charts
The song was designed to be a more accessible version of the popular progressive rock genre that was thriving at the time. It used a complex composition and lyrics that referenced murder and nihilism, in contrast to the usual love-based narratives, though Freddy Mercury, the song’s writer said that it was about relationships. Bohemian Rhapsody is said to have been the most expensively produced piece of music to be released at the time, although the full cost is unknown.
Various executives informed the group that the song was too long and therefore would not be a hit. The band however, ignored this advice and gave a copy to Capital Radio DJ Kenny Everett who teased the track for a week before playing the full song. By the next day, record stores were inundated with requests for the song, which had yet to be officially released.
Upon it’s official release, Bohemian Rhapsody sped to number one in the UK charts, where it remained for nine weeks, becoming the UK number one Christmas single. The track also fared well overseas, gaining number one in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands, although it didn’t fare as well in the US, peaking at number nine. The song is a favourite in the UK however, topping a 2012 survey to find the UK’s favourite number one, held by the ITV.