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Sunday, January 22, 2012
Bohemian Rhapsody And AIDS?
Is Bohemian Rhapsody (playing here) really about Freddy Mercury's life with AIDS?
Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the most famous rock songs of all time. It stayed a number one on the British chart for 9 weeks when originally released and returned to number one after Freddy Mercury's death in 1991 and event nearly unheard of.
The song, composed in three separate parts without a conventional chorus, is about someone facing death "Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me." The narrator eventually accepts his fate, reporting; "Nothing really matters to me." But Freddy Mercury, the author and lead singer, is vague about why the man is facing death. Could it be Mercury reporting his struggle with AIDS? There are some tempting lines in the dialog. First he says:
"Just killed a man. Put my gun against his head. Pulled my trigger now he's dead."
Possibly a metaphor for intercourse between men resulting in an HIV infection.
Later he says:
"Sent Shivers down my spine. Bodies aching all the time."
Life with chronic illness?
"So you think you can love me and leave me to die."
The lyrics do seem to suggest that the theme may be AIDs. There's just one catch.
So what's the Answer?:
Bohemian Rhapsody can only be about Freddy Mercury's experience with AIDS if Freddy was incredibly psychic. Bohemian Rhapsody was released in 1975, six years before HIV was first described in the medical literature in 1981. It is possible, though extremely unlikely that Mercury could have contracted HIV by that time but he probably would not have been symptomatic and would not have know that he had a fatal condition if he was.
There has been some suggestion that the song is based on "The Stanger" by Albert Camus. There are numerous parallels there are well. But what did Freddy have to say on the subject? He was reported to say that the lyrics were "random rhyming nonsense."
For those of you who'd like to spend one last minute with the man, we here at the Subcommittee on Obscure Facts (SOF) present Freddy Mercury's last interview:
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