Song Lyric Sunday — Never Number One

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has asked us to feature a song by a group or an artist that surprisingly never reached #1 on the charts. As I was doing my research on great songs that never made it to the top, I was surprised by many of them. But none surprised me more than “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was written by Freddie Mercury for Queen’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera. In the United States, the song peaked at number nine in 1976, but reached a new peak of number two after appearing in the 1992 film Wayne’s World. In 2004, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The song did make it to the top spot in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and much of Western Europe. Yet, shockingly, it never made it to number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

There’s a lot of speculation about the meaning of the song, but Mercury was tight-lipped, and the band agreed not to reveal anything about the song’s meaning. Mercury stated, “It’s one of those songs which has such a fantasy feel about it. I think people should just listen to it, think about it, and then make up their own minds as to what it says to them.”

Some have suggested the song has its roots in his parents’ religion of Zoroastrianism. Many of the words in the song appear in the Qu’ran. “Bismillah” is one of these and it literally means “In the name of Allah.” The word “Scaramouch” means “a stock character that appears as a boastful coward.” “Beelzebub” is one of the many names given to the devil.

Another interpretation is that it’s about a boy pleading in front of an unsympathetic jury after murdering a man, evidenced by the lyric “He’s just a poor boy from a poor family / Spare him his life from this monstrosity.

And of course there is my personal favorite verse for obvious reasons:

“I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me”

Here are the lyrics to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I'm just a poor boy
I need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go
Little high, little low
Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me

Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away

Mama, ooh
Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on
As if nothing really matters

Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body's aching all the time
Goodbye everybody, I've got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth

Mama, ooh (any way the wind blows)
I don't wanna die
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo
Gallileo, Gallileo
Gallileo Figaro, magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
He's just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come easy go, will you let me go?
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go (let him go)
Bismillah! We will not let you go (let him go)
Bismillah! We will not let you go (let me go)
Will not let you go (let me go)
Never, never, never, never let me go
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh, mama mia, mama mia
Mama mia, let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
For me
For me

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh, baby
Can't do this to me, baby
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here

Ooooh, ooh yeah, ooh yeah

Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters
Nothing really matters to me

Any way the wind blows

20 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Never Number One

  1. donmatthewspoetry July 24, 2022 / 3:15 am

    I’m pleased Freddie wanted to use your name. A duck was only interested in me……such is life

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Michael July 24, 2022 / 3:16 am

    aah such fin singing along and not having a clue what its on about…such a tune, such a man, such a band

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Christine Bolton, Poetry for Healing July 24, 2022 / 3:46 am

    Wonderful choice. I’ve always loved the mystery behind this song. I tend to think that it was Freddie Mercury‘s way of dealing with his sexuality. At the opening of the song he talks about killing the man, which was probably his former self and he was trying to embrace the fact that he came out as gay and how that would be judged moving forward. It’s my number 1 favorite song ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango July 24, 2022 / 7:02 am

      That’s an interesting take, but it sounds very feasible.

      Like

  4. Nope, Not Pam July 24, 2022 / 3:46 am

    Classic song by a classic and classy band

    Liked by 2 people

  5. willowdot21 July 24, 2022 / 3:49 am

    Best song ever written , the American Charts have very often not been kind to Queen and the take offence to some of their videos too. It was No1 most places and will always be in my heart 💜💜 i

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Clive July 24, 2022 / 4:03 am

    Amazing that this didn’t get to #1 there when, as you say, it achieved that just about everywhere else (including Canada, which often follows your line). That scene from Wayne’s World still makes me laugh every time I see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango July 24, 2022 / 7:05 am

      I know. I was really surprised that this didn’t reach the top of the charts!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Clive July 24, 2022 / 7:13 am

        Even after two attempts. What were you guys thinking? 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  7. newepicauthor July 24, 2022 / 7:04 am

    Queen had six songs that went to #1, but this is the only one that mentions Fandango, so I can see why you like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. J-Dub July 24, 2022 / 9:27 am

    Wait! What? Surely this was #1. At least in our little part of the world, we played it on repeat. Very popular.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JT Twissel July 24, 2022 / 9:58 am

    That is surprising. I remember when the song came out I’d hear it on the radio but my life was way too busy at the time to know who Queen was or what they were trying to do. Loved the movie for that reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. pensitivity101 July 24, 2022 / 11:09 am

    It is a classic. I didn’t realise it never got to number 1 in the US though.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Carol anne July 25, 2022 / 10:22 am

    this is my favourite queen song! I’ve always loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. leigha66 July 28, 2022 / 12:15 am

    This is a song that must be played with the volume UP! Still shocking that it never made it to #1.

    Liked by 1 person

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