Genesis’ Steve Hackett Talks About Brian May’s Risky Decision For ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

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Former Genesis member Steve Hackett recently appeared as a guest on The Mitch Lafon and Jeremy White Show and reflected on Queen icon Brian May’s bold decision for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’

There is no doubt that the ’70s were undoubtedly a crucial period for the evolution of music. During the 1970s, the music scene witnessed the emergence of some new music genres like punk, heavy metal, and hard rock. The musicians started to experiment with new melodies and rhythms. The era also changed the editing process of the songs. During the ’50s and ’60s, radio stations generally demanded the records to be around 3 or 4 minutes long.

However, this cycle started to break during the late ’60s and the early ’70s and allowed the artists to produce more complex tracks with more depth. During a recent interview, Steve Hackett also addressed this issue. He stated that there was suddenly a change in music during this period that the musicians were not limited to producing three or four minutes singles anymore.

Hackett mentioned Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and Richard Harris’ ‘MacArthur Park,’ which were released in the late ’60s and were longer than 6 minutes, and then he recalled Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ Hackett expressed that Brian May took a risk there and decided not to edit the song to a shorter version. He determinedly wanted the record to stay as the whole thing, which was pretty risky at the moment as the listeners and radios were not used to playing songs that lasted over 4 minutes.

Steve Hackett’s statements on Brian May’s risky decision for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ are as follows:

“Television takes over from film. The film was in recession until ‘Star Wars’ comes along so an epic-length comeback of cinema as we know it, the comeback of Hollywood, I think perhaps there was a parallel in music where suddenly people were not afraid to do the epic song, the tone poem, programmatic music which classical music had.

Music that tells a story. All of that allow that to happen wasn’t limited to the small screen. We weren’t limited suddenly to three of four minutes singles. Let’s not forget, the era of the ’60s that had Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone‘ and Richard Harris performing ‘MacArthur Park,’ suddenly you’ve got a seven-minute song.

In the later era, there was Queen sticking out and saying, ‘No, we’re not going to put out an edited version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.‘ Brian May, who I worked with on a couple of projects, said, ‘No, we made a decision but either going to put up the whole thing or nothing at all,‘ so it’s that element of risk.”

You can watch the full interview below.