Brian May Explains How Freddie Mercury Helped Him Create ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Guitar Solo
Queen lead guitarist Brian May recalled the times while Queen was working on ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and talked about Freddie Mercury’s contribution to his guitar solo during his appearance on Rick Beato’s ‘What Makes This Song Great?’
As you may know, Queen released their fourth studio album entitled ‘A Night at the Opera’ on November 21, 1975. It became Queen’s one of the most popular and commercially successful albums by reaching number on the UK Albums Chart and four on the US Billboard 200. Among the other tracks, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was a groundbreaking song for progressive rock.
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ achieved many successes such as being the most-streamed song of the 20th century with many more thanks to Freddie Mercury’s unique voice, songwriting, and Brian May’s iconic guitar solo. During his interview, Brian May revealed that he came up with the idea while he was listening to Mercury during the recording process.
May stated that he wanted his ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ guitar solo to be a part of the vocals because he thought that they shouldn’t be too different or independent from each other. Therefore, he focused on Mercury’s lyrics and voice to continue his story with his guitar solo. It can be said that Queen’s most popular song features a great harmony between May and Mercury.
May said in his interview that:
“Yeah, I had ample opportunity because I’m sitting in the control room listening to them do it over and over again. I think we talked about solos, I don’t know how the thing came up, but I think Freddie said, ‘What do you want for the solo? What do you need?’
I said, ‘I would like basically a piece of a verse, I want to be joining in and taking the story a bit further, so I want a verse pattern.’ So they built that into the backing track. I could hear it in my head. I come from a strange place, I come from a world where Mantovani and ‘The Laughing Policeman’ were in the hit parade.
So my melodies aren’t really rock melodies as such, I could just hear something very sweet and melodic, which seemed to be a continuation of what Freddie was doing telling his story in the vocal. That might sound pretentious or it might sound plain stupid, I don’t know, but I always hear the solo piece as part of the vocal.
It’s just like the vocalist’s hands over to somebody momentarily who’s going to continue the story and then give it back to the vocalist.”
You can watch the interview and listen to the song below.