Published On: Fri, Sep 15th, 2023
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Freddie Mercury had to persuade Roger Taylor that Queen classic would be a hit | Music | Entertainment

Queen’s back catalogue is full of household name hits, but some of them almost didn’t happen.

Back in the early 1980s, Roger Taylor heard his son utter the words “radio ca-ca” while listening to a bad song on the radio.

The drummer then spent three days in the studio, locked away working on what would become Radio Ga Ga.

Yet initially he thought he’d put it on a solo album before John Deacon and Freddie Mercury got involved.

The Queen singer once reflected: “I think Roger was thinking about it as just another track. But I instantly felt there was something in there, a really good, strong, saleable commodity.”

As a result, Deacon added a bassline and Freddie worked on the lyrics, harmony and arrangements while Taylor was on a skiing holiday.

By the time Queen came together for their only North American recording at Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles in August 1983, Radio Ga Ga was ready.

Released a year later with Brian May’s I Go Crazy as a B-side, the song about TV overtaking radio ended up hitting No 2 in the UK Singles Chart.

Incredibly Queen would go on to perform Radio Ga Ga at every single concert from 1984, including at Live Aid, until their final one with Freddie in 1986.

This is hardly surprising given the audience participation of the song, with fans clapping along in unison, is a highlight of the band’s concerts to this day.

In fact, this is the subject of this week’s Queen The Greatest Live video, featuring footage of the band performing the track with fans’ help at the historic Népstadion concert in Hungary during the 1986 Magic tour.

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