Definitions

to-break

I Want to Break Free

"I Want to Break Free" is a song performed by Queen, which was written exclusively by bassist John Deacon. It featured on their 1984 album The Works. In the UK Chart, it peaked at number 3, and remained in the chart for fifteen consecutive weeks from its release in late April of 1984. Most of the song follows the traditional 12 bar blues progression in E Major, a rare thing for a Queen song.

Variants

Two differing versions of the song are in circulation. The version on The Works is in fact shorter than the single remix by 61 seconds, because of a fade-in synthesiser introduction and a longer solo in which both the synthesiser and guitar feature separately. This is in contrast to "Hammer to Fall", a song which was edited down by thirty seconds from the album version to be released as a single. The promotional 45 sent to radio stations by Capitol Records had both versions on either side. However, Queen's name and the song title were deliberately left off, so the labels read "Special Single Mix (4:21)" and "Special Single Mix-Edited (3:59).

Music video

The music video, directed by David Mallet, was a parody of the northern British soap opera Coronation Street. During part of the video, the band members dressed in drag, as mildly similar characters found in the soap at the time. The video also depicted the band in what appeared to be a coal mine in their normal look, and it also features a ballet piece with the Royal Ballet (one of the dancers was Jeremy Sheffield), for which Freddie Mercury shaved off his trademark moustache to portray Nijinsky (though he had kept it for the parody part of the video, interestingly enough). According to Brian May in an interview about Queen's Greatest Hits, the video ruined the band in America, which might explain why singles failed to go above #40 in the US Billboard charts after "Radio Ga Ga", until The Show Must Go On reached No. 2. The video was initially banned by MTV in the U.S., but the ban was lifted in 1991 when it aired on VH1's My Generation 2-part episodes devoted to Queen hosted by guitarist Brian May. The song received renewed attention when it was used in a media advertising campaign for the soft drink Coca-Cola C2.

Chart performance

Country Peak
position
Certification
Australia 9
Austria 1
Belgium 1
Canada 26
France 9
Germany 4
Ireland 2
New Zealand 1 Platinum
The Netherlands 1
South Africa 1
Spain 5
Switzerland 2
UK 3 Gold
US 45

Covers

At the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, Lisa Stansfield performed the song. She entered the Wembley stage wearing hair curlers (à la Hilda Ogden) and pushing a vacuum cleaner in a direct reference and tribute to the song's video.

In the late 1990s, the Spanish TV program "El Informal" made a parody of the videoclip of the song. The song was called "Me Quiero Reir" (I Want to Laugh) and it featured the presenters dressed as the band members and performing funny sketches.

In 1998, Masterboy made a dance cover.

In 2006, Dewa 19, one of the bestselling Indonesian rock bands covered the song on their album Republik Cinta (Republic of Love).

A ska version was recorded and released by Australian ska band Area 7.

Sky One in Top 50 Showbiz Comebacks

References

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