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'Wayne's World' Using 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Comforted A Dying Freddie Mercury
It's impossible to overstate just how much of an impact that Queen had not just on rock and roll, but on the history of modern music as we know it. From 1970 to the early 90s, they were one of the biggest names in rock music, delivering best-selling album after best-selling album, with hit after hit receiving hours of radio play.
Even if Queen isn't your favorite band of all time (for some reason), chances are they have a song that's managed to find its way into your collection, and ultimately your heart. Whether it's the anthemic stomp of "We Will Rock You," the giddy weirdness of "Bicycle Race," the rocking pace of "Fat-Bottomed Girls" (my personal favorite), or the sheer grandeur of "We Are The Champions," the band had something for everyone.
Of course, the near-universal favorite of their songs is "Bohemian Rhapsody," a sprawling epic that, while we're still trying to figure out what the hell it even means to this day, we all can't help but sing along with whenever it comes on.
This phenomenon around the song is probably best remembered from one of the funniest scenes of the 1992 comedy Wayne's World, where Wayne and Garth drive along singing the song as loudly as possible. It's a scene that everybody loves, and apparently that even included Freddie Mercury himself, even as he was bedridden while dying of AIDS...
In an interview with Guitar World, Queen guitarist Brian May revealed that while filming Wayne's World, Mike Myers contacted the band to see if they could get approval on the "Bohemian Rhapsody" sequence from Freddie himself. According to May:
“I didn’t know Mike Myers, but he rang me up out of the blue and said, ‘We’ve done this amazing sequence in our new film—can we have your approval?’ I took it around to Freddie, who was not in a good state at that time. He was confined to his bed, but I took it round and played it to him and he loved it. Strangely enough, the humor in it was quite close to our own. Because we did that kind of thing in the car, bouncing up and down to our own tracks!”
Mercury would unfortunately succumb to his illness before the release of the film, but ultimately Wayne's World was able to do a favor in return to both his estate and his bandmates. The song's appearance in the movie launched it back onto the Billboard charts, and ultimately led to a resurgence in popularity for the band. As May describes:
“There’s a huge irony there, because there was a time when we completely owned America and we would tour there every year. It seemed like we couldn’t go wrong. And then we lost America for various reasons, which are now history. Freddie had a very dark sense of humor. And he used to say, ‘I suppose I’ll have to die before we get America back.’ And, in a sense, that was what happened. And it was Wayne’s World—which came completely out of nowhere—that made it happen.”