A Kind of Magic (song)

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"A Kind of Magic"
Queen A Kind Of Magic (song).png
Single by Queen
from the album A Kind of Magic
B-side
Released 17 March 1986 (UK)
4 June 1986 (US)
Format 7"/12" vinyl single
Recorded September 1985 – January 1986
Genre Rock
Length

  • 4:25 (Album version)
  • 3:37 (CD bonus track: "A Kind of 'A Kind of Magic'")
  • 6:23 (12" extended version)
  • 4:10 (Original Highlander version)
Label EMI, Capitol
Songwriter(s) Roger Taylor
Producer(s) Queen, David Richards
Queen singles chronology
"One Vision"
(1985)
"A Kind of Magic"
(1986)
"Princes of the Universe"
(1986)

"A Kind of Magic" is the title track of the 1986 album of the same name by the British rock band Queen. It was written by the band's drummer, Roger Taylor, for the film Highlander. The single reached number three in the UK Singles Chart, top ten in a number of European countries, and #42 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song is the opening track on the band's compilation albums, Greatest Hits II, and Classic Queen.[1]

Recording[edit]

Highlander[edit]

The phrase "a kind of magic" is used in Highlander by Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) as a description of his immortality. Roger Taylor liked the phrase so much that he used it as inspiration for the song. There are references to the film in the lyrics: "one prize, one goal"; "no mortal man"; and "there can be only one". The single's cover art features an image of Clancy Brown in character as the film's villain, The Kurgan.

Composition[edit]

Taylor wrote the melody and chords for the version that appeared in the film, which Brian May described as "quite lugubrious and heavy".[2] Freddie Mercury composed a new bass line, added instrumental breaks, and changed the song's order to make it more chart friendly. Mercury and David Richards produced this new version. The song was still credited only to Taylor. Whilst Taylor's version is at the end of the film, Mercury's version appears on the album. Taylor's version of A Kind of Magic did not see official release until it was included on the extra EP for the 2011 special edition of the album.

Live performances[edit]

The song was a live favourite on The Magic Tour of the same year, which proved to be Queen's last tour before the death of Freddie Mercury.

Taylor often included the song in solo set lists, and those with his band The Cross. On the Rock the Cosmos Tour of Europe, Taylor took lead vocals for the song at some concerts.

Music video[edit]

The music video for this song was directed by Russell Mulcahy, director of Highlander. Notable is that Brian May did not use his famous Red Special guitar in the music video, but instead a 1984 copy. In the video, Mercury is dressed as a magician type figure. He enters an abandoned theatre (The Playhouse Theatre in London) where May, Taylor and John Deacon (all dressed as stereotypical tramps) are asleep until awakened by Mercury's entrance. Mercury transforms the hobos into the Queen members, dressed regularly with their instruments, then back to hobos again as he leaves. Throughout the video, cartoon images dance to the beat of the song which were produced by The Walt Disney Company. As May later remembered, the theater was old and derelict, and lacking central heating, so the band were quite cold during the March filming.

Legacy[edit]

The single was certified platinum in Brazil for more than 100,000 digital downloads of the single.[3] On Last.fm the song has more than 48,000 hits and is the sixteenth most listened Queen song ever.[4]

Queen's compilations The Platinum Collection, Classic Queen, and Greatest Hits II all make an unsubstantiated claim that the song reached #1 in 35 countries around the world,[5] but it reached number one in Spain in 1986, the only country where it topped the charts.[6]

Musical theatre actress Elaine Paige recorded the song on her album of Queen covers The Queen Album in 1988.[7]

Chart positions[edit]

1986 Charts Position
Spain (Los 40 Principales) 1
UK Singles Chart 3
Irish Singles Chart 3
Swiss Singles Chart 3
Dutch Singles Chart 4
French Singles Chart 5
German Singles Chart 6
Australian Singles Chart 6
Austrian Singles Chart 12
U.S. Singles Chart 42
Canadian Singles Chart 64
Chart (2013) Peak
position
Slovenia (SloTop50)[8] 32
Chart (2018) Peak
position
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[9] 95

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[10] Platinum 100,000*

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Personnel[edit]

Usage in other media[edit]

  • The music was used in the trailer for the film The Adventures of Pinocchio.
  • A promotional music video, made by Boeing, was released called, Hornet Magic was released on VHS. The video was music video of the song set to video footage of F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter planes. In the video, the word "magic" appeared on screen every time it was mentioned in the song.
  • A shortened version of the song is used in the opening credits of the children's animated series A Kind of Magic.
  • The song was heard on a launch promo of Disney Channel in the UK in 1995, but also in 2009 for the launch in the Netherlands and Flanders.
  • A sample of Mercury saying "Ha ha ha ha ha, it's magic" also appears in the Queen version of the song "I Was Born to Love You" from their 1995 album Made in Heaven.
  • The BBC used the song as the background music for the 1986 edition of The Rock 'n' Roll Years (aired in 1994) when featuring footage from the all-Merseyside FA Cup final of that year, in which Liverpool beat Everton 3-1 at Wembley Stadium.
  • It was used by the BBC for the introduction of the opening ceremony in the 1986 Commonwealth games in Edinburgh.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Queen Album: Classic Queen Archived 27 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine. MTV. Retrieved 2 July 2011
  2. ^ Purvis, Georg (2011). Queen Complete Works. London: Titan Books. p. 209. 
  3. ^ ABPD | Associaçăo Brasileira de Produtores de Disco Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Queen’s Charts — Top Songs by Queen — Last.fm
  5. ^ Jenkins, Jim; Smith, Jacky; Davis, Andy; Symes, Phil (2000). The Platinum Collection (CD booklet). Queen. Parlophone. p. 11. 7243 5 29883 2 7. 
  6. ^ "Números 1 de 1986". Los 40. Retrieved 21 August 2018. 
  7. ^ "The Queen Album". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "SloTop50: Slovenian official singles weekly chart" (in Slovenian). SloTop50. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Brazilian single certifications – A Kind of Magic" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  1. "A Kind Of Magic by Queen Songfacts". Songfacts. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 31 December 2007. 

External links[edit]