Why Freddie Mercury Believed 'Somebody To Love' Was His Greatest Song
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
May 14, 2021
Though Freddie had diverse musical tastes, by his own admission he was obsessed with Aretha Franklin and American soul and Gospel music.
"Somebody to Love" was the nearest Freddie ever came to the sound of the soul music that he so adored. He later conceded that his preoccupation with Aretha might have grated on his bandmates, but he was undeterred.
“And there’s me going on about Aretha Franklin, sort of made them go a bit mad…I just wanted to write something in that kind of thing," Freddie said. "I was sort of incentivized by the gospel approach that she had on her albums, the earlier albums.”
Guitarist Brian May recalls feeling positive about "Somebody to Love" from the very beginning, and Freddie was just as exacting on the Gospel-inspired song as he was when the band recorded its opera-inspired "Bohemian Rhapsody" the previous year.
“Freddie wanted to be Aretha Franklin, you have to bear this in mind, and that explains everything," May said. "He loved Aretha. And, this was his Gospel epic. It kind of followed in the steps of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in the sense that we were building up these multiple vocal parts, but this time we were being a Gospel choir, instead of being an English choir.”
Much like "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Somebody to Love" enjoyed a resurgence in popularity some 15 years after it first became a hit. The song's second wind was largely credited to George Michael's passionate rendition of it during the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness.
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