Freddie Mercury and Brian May’s Queen tension laid bare: ‘We said terrible things’
GMB: Brian May remembers Freddie Mercury's final days
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‘Queen at the BBC’ airs on BBC Two at 8pm. The programme shows a collection of the band’s TV appearances from the BBC’s archives including highlights from their famous performance at the Montreux Pop Festival in the Eighties. There are also clips from the band’s lauded 1975 concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.
Over the course of the programme Queen fans can enjoy performances of ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’, ‘These Are the Days’ and perhaps the band’s most iconic song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
Queen were one of the most successful bands of the Seventies and Eighties while they have had a global presence in popular culture that has endured three decades after the original lineup split.
Estimates of the band’s record sales range from 170 million to 300 million, which places them as one of the world’s best selling musicians.
However, Queen guitarist Brian revealed that despite their massive success, behind the scenes there were tensions between the band’s four members.
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Brian admitted in a detailed retrospective with MOJO that there would be massive creative tensions between the band.
He said: “It was a struggle. That’s what breaks bands up.
“There were lots of arguments about how much input everybody had.
“We had four painters with a brush each but one canvas.
“There was conflict but we got there.”
The guitarist also revealed that the tension in the band went beyond their creative differences.
Brian added: “We all influenced each other. That was the secret of Queen.
“We pushed and pulled each other mercilessly.
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“We had a family relationship.
“It wasn’t always nice because families aren’t always nice.
“We sometimes said terrible things, but we got the best out of each other.”
Queen’s performance at Live Aid in 1985 is ranked among the greatest in rock history, and was dramatised in 2018 film ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
However Freddie gave his final performance with the band at Knebworth in August 1986 and tragically died five years later due to complications with AIDS.
One of the bands’ central requirements was that all future songwriting credits were shared equally, and while in the film adaptation the agreement was a source of harmony between the members, Brian revealed it’s something that still bothers him.
Brain said: “There were moments when all of us thought we’d given too much away.
“When it comes to who wrote, say, ‘I Want It All’, I’ll say ‘Yes, that’s me.’
“Then I have to remember , ‘Oh hang on, it says Queen in the credits.’
“If I’m being honest there is still a bit of that.”
Watch ‘Queen at the BBC’ airs on BBC Two at 8pm.
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