Body Language (Queen song)
|Single by Queen|
|from the album Hot Space|
|B-side||"Life is Real (Song for Lennon)"|
|Released||19 April 1982|
|Format||Vinyl record (7" / 12")|
|Producer||Queen and Mack|
|Queen singles chronology|
"Body Language" is a 1982 dance/funk hit from the English rock band Queen. It was written by lead singer Freddie Mercury and was a fairly big hit in North America, where it received extensive radio-play. However, the single only received a luke-warm response in the United Kingdom. The track was the second single released from their 1982 album Hot Space. In a Rolling Stone magazine review, critic John Milward described the song as "a piece of funk that isn't fun."
The massive success of "Another One Bites the Dust" inspired Queen to temporarily abandon their glam and experimental rock roots in the early 1980s, and experiment with disco, funk and soul music. "Body Language" and more importantly, its parent album Hot Space were the results of this change. "Body Language" is notable for its near lack of guitar; atmospheric guitar chords sparingly dot the body of the song, while a brief two-note riff is heard during the fade out. The song's key feature was its minimal, sparse production, with the emphasis of "suggestive" lyrics, a "slinky" synth bass (played on an Oberheim OB-X), and writer Freddie Mercury's moans and groans. This song was played few times during the European Leg, with the first performance being in Vienna on May 13. It often got a lukewarm reaction, although the live arrangement was much different from the studio. The song was played much more frequently on the U.S leg, where the song achieved more commercial success.
The drastic change caused the single to stall at #25 on the UK charts. However, it did far better in the US, where Americans appeared to be a lot more supportive of Queen's forays into dance music. "Body Language" peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 and number thirty on the soul chart. The B-side is "Life Is Real (Song for Lennon)", this single was released just a little over a year after John Lennon's assassination.
In the US the accompanying music video caused a considerable amount of controversy. Due to thinly veiled homoerotic undertones plus lots of skin and lots of sweat (but apparently not enough clothing, save that worn by the fully clothed members of Queen themselves), it was deemed unsuitable for a television audience in 1982. It was not accepted by MTV, becoming the first ever music video to be banned from that television station, and also one of the most controversial music videos of all time.
Popular culture references
- "Body Language" was danced to in solo performances by both Blake McGrath and Jessica Fernandez on So You Think You Can Dance. "Body Language" was danced to in the Top 12 performances as a Jazz routine by Pasha Kovalev and Sara Von Gillern on So You Think You Can Dance (Season 3).
- "Body Language" can be briefly heard in the 1984 documentary film Stripper, being performed to by dancer Sara Costa.
- The Foo Fighters used "Body Language" in a video promoting the tour for Wasting Light, called "Hot Buns". Dave Grohl stated the song was used in the video, which features the bandmembers dancing naked in a shower, because "it sounds like the soundtrack for a gay porn".
- Freddie Mercury - lead and backing vocals, synthesizer, synth bass
- Brian May - lead guitar
- Roger Taylor - electronic drums