Brian May Reveals The Worst Cover Version Of ‘Show Must Go On’
During a recent conversation with Express, Queen lead guitarist Brian May reflected on the cover version of ‘The Show Must Go On’ in the 2001 movie ‘Moulin Rouge!.’ Apparently, the film didn’t directly ask permission from the band members, which was upsetting, according to the guitarist.
Queen released ‘The Show Must Go On‘ as the twelfth and final track on their 1991 album, ‘Innuendo.’ The song represents the efforts of frontman Freddie Mercury continuing to perform despite his HIV/AIDS diagnosis, which wasn’t publicized then. However, there were ongoing rumors instigated by the media claiming that he was seriously ill.
Moreover, Mercury’s condition had deteriorated to the point that May had concerns about whether he was physically capable of singing it during the recording process in 1990. Being the iconic singer he was, the frontman went on to record the song and completely nailed it as we all know it today. In addition to its success upon its release, the song became one of the most well-known tracks in rock music.
As a result, ‘The Show Must Go On’ has appeared on television and in countless films, including an operatic version in ‘Moulin Rouge!‘ which premiered on May 9, 2001. Brian May reflected on the cover version of the song in the movie during a recent interview. The guitarist revealed that the band members weren’t asked for permission which is why he was upset about this cover version. May also stated that the performance was good, but he hated it for many reasons, the first; being unnoticed.
Along with that, Brian May expressed his discomfort with the way ‘Moulin Rouge!’ changed the song. According to him, they got rid of one of the most crucial parts, which horrified him since the song turned into something Queen never intended to. The guitarist also didn’t forget to mention that if they were allowed to participate, something beautiful could’ve been done with the cover.
May’s statement about the cover follows:
“You know what, nobody asked me or us. I’m probably going to upset people saying this, but I really hated it. I wished they’d asked me because I thought they killed it. They completely rearranged it and got rid of one of the most important parts, which is ‘the wings of butterflies’ part. I was horrified. I was so upset when I saw that film and realized that they’d just taken it and molded it into something different. So yeah, that’s all I can say, really. I wish they’d asked, and I wish they’d allowed us to participate.”
When asked how did they include the song without his permission, Brian said:
“I don’t know. It might have been something that slipped by. Maybe they talked to our management, and it just got green-lighted, I don’t know. I just remember going to see it in the cinema, and I had all the wrong things going up and down my spine.“
You can listen to ‘Show Must Go On’ by Queen and Moulin Rouge version below.