Brian May Explains How Freddie Mercury’s Performance Was Affected By His Illness


Queen guitarist Brian May gave an interview to Newsweek in which he talked about the effects of Freddie Mercury’s illness on his performances.

It is almost indisputable that Queen is one of the most successful musical acts in the world. Since their formation, the band enjoyed phenomenal commercial success, but their frontman Freddie Mercury’s tragic death put the band on hiatus. Although Queen continued performing after a while with the contribution of other musicians, it is a well-known fact that Mercury’s place can never be filled.

After Freddie Mercury’s passing, Queen’s talented guitarist Brian May felt devastated. As you know, May was the one who wrote and co-wrote most of the band’s songs, including the track ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You.’ May first performed the song in 1992 during the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, and it also appeared on Queen’s ‘Made In Heaven’ album. The song’s lyrics made some think it was a song about Mercury, but May had written ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’ in the mid-1980s.

In an interview by Newsweek, Brian May talked about the Queen hit ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You.’ He stated that the song was about his personal feelings due to a complicated romantic situation. Following that, May recalled when he played the song to the band for the first time. According to the guitarist, Mercury said he would sing that song and perform it amazingly.

However, May also revealed that Mercury was struggling with his illness during those times. He then said he didn’t know about it at the time and implied that Freddie sang the song with such a passion due to what he was dealing with.

Brian May told Newsweek about ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’ that:

“It was about my own personal feelings being in a very difficult romantic situation, and not being able to see a way forward. I recorded my own version early on and then it was put in a drawer for a while. But when I played it to the band, they all loved it and said, ‘Look, this has to be a Queen song.’ And Freddie, in particular, said, ‘I’ll sing it.’

The Queen version is kind of dramatic and bombastic, and Freddie gives it an amazing performance. I didn’t know at the time what he was dealing with. He sang with such incredible passion. And now looking back on it, I realize he probably had other thoughts in his head. I now realize that the song in Freddie’s hands and voice became something different.”

Brian May released a reissue of his solo album ‘Back To The Light’ on August 6. The reissue featured remastered editions of the songs in the album, including ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’ and ‘Driven by You.’