Brian May Confirms Freddie Mercury Was Hard To Work With
In a recent interview with Total Guitar, Queen’s guitarist Brian May reflected on the challenges and rewards of working with Freddie Mercury, highlighting the difficulties posed by Mercury’s avant-garde approach to songwriting.
The musician opened up about the complexities of collaborating with Freddie, particularly when it came to adapting Mercury’s intricate compositions for guitar, saying:
“Freddie had a habit of writing in E♭ and A♭, so it was always a challenge for me to find places on the guitar to make that work, but it obviously contributed a lot to the way I developed as a player. It was a good thing, even if it was… strange!”
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ As A Guitarist’s Nemesis
The conversation also touched on Queen’s hit rock opera, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ which May describes as his Achilles heel, noting:
“It’s not a riff that a guitarist would naturally play. And that’s a double-edged sword. It’s difficult for the guitar to get a hold of it, but once you have got hold of it, it’s very unusual… to be honest, I still don’t find it easy!”
The song’s complex riff, requiring extensive finger stretching, remains a challenge for May to execute, especially under the pressure of live performances.
The Genius Behind The Lyrics
Brian also talked about Mercury’s songwriting talents in an interview with Uncut for its July 2022 edition. He praised the ‘fantastical’ lyrics of ‘In The Lap Of The Gods… Revisited,’ stating:
“In the beginning, a lot of his writing was very fantastical, but underneath, I think he was really pouring his heart out. Freddie was struggling with various things at various times, and we all know that his sexuality was quite fluid. It was hard for him to express. And I think you can hear him in this song, struggling with his relationships, putting them into words and music.”
The late singer’s role as the band’s primary lyricist contributed significantly to Queen’s success, with songs like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ showing his innovative approach and deep understanding of song structure and harmony. While Mercury is often celebrated for his contributions to Queen’s legacy, May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon also played crucial roles in the band’s songwriting process.