Crazy Little Thing Called Love

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"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
UK picture sleeve
Single by Queen
from the album The Game
  • 12 October 1979 (UK)[1]
  • 7 December 1979 (US)
RecordedJune–July 1979
StudioMusicland (Munich, Germany)
Songwriter(s)Freddie Mercury
Queen UK singles chronology
"Love of My Life (Live at Festhalle Frankfurt, 2 Feb '79)"
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
"Save Me"
Queen US singles chronology
"We Will Rock You (Live)"
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
"Play the Game"
Audio sample
Music video
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" on YouTube

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is a song by the British rock band Queen. Written by Freddie Mercury in 1979, the track is included on their 1980 album The Game, and also appears on the band's compilation album Greatest Hits in 1981. The song peaked at number two in the UK Singles Chart in 1979 and became the group's first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US in 1980,[5] remaining there for four consecutive weeks.[6][7] It topped the Australian ARIA Charts for seven weeks.[8] It was the band's final single release of the 1970s.

Having composed "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" on guitar, Mercury played rhythm guitar while performing the song live, which was the first time he played guitar in concert with Queen.[9] Queen played the song live between 1979 and 1986, and a live performance of the song is recorded in the albums Queen Rock Montreal, Queen on Fire – Live at the Bowl, Live at Wembley '86 and Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest.[10][11] Since its release, the song has been covered by a number of artists. The song was played live on 20 April 1992 during The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, performed by Robert Plant with Queen.[12] The style of the song was described by author Karl Coryat as rockabilly in his 1999 book titled The Bass Player Book.[13]


As reported by Freddie Mercury in Melody Maker, 2 May 1981, he composed "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" on the guitar in just five to ten minutes.[14]

'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' took me five or ten minutes. I did that on the guitar, which I can't play for nuts, and in one way it was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords. It's a good discipline because I simply had to write within a small framework. I couldn't work through too many chords and because of that restriction I wrote a good song, I think.

— Freddie Mercury

The song was written by Mercury as a tribute to his musical heroes Elvis Presley[15] and Cliff Richard. Roger Taylor added in an interview that Mercury wrote it in just 10 minutes while lounging in a bath in the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich during one of their extensive Munich recording sessions, which was later confirmed by Mercury himself.[16] Mercury took it to the studio shortly after writing it and presented it to Taylor and John Deacon.[9][17] The three of them, with their then new producer Reinhold Mack, recorded it at Musicland Studios in Munich. The entire song was reportedly recorded in less than half an hour (although Mack says it was six hours).[18]

Having written "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" on guitar and played an acoustic rhythm guitar on the record, for the first time ever Mercury played guitar in concerts, for example at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium, London in 1985.[9][19] Billboard described Brian May's guitar playing as being "stunning in its simplicity".[20] Cash Box called it a "hip shakin' rockabilly romp" and an "upbeat tune".[21] Record World said that the band "does a superb job of capturing the spirit and sound of the late '50s be-bop rock'n'roll".[22]

May wanted to emulate Rick Nelson's and Presley's longtime guitarist James Burton, and at Macks's suggestion used a Fender Esquire rather than his regular Red Special for the recording session.[23]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was filmed at Trillion Studios on 21 September 1979 and directed by Dennis De Vallance involving four dancers and a floor of hands. An alternate version was included on the Days of Our Lives DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Live performances[edit]

In the immediate aftermath of the single the band embarked on a mini UK tour entitled the Crazy Tour.

Whenever the song was played live, the band added a solid rock ending that extended the under-three-minute track to over five minutes, with May and Mercury providing additional guitars. An example of this is on the CD/DVD Set Live at Wembley '86, where the song continues for five minutes.

On 13 July 1985, Queen performed the song for the Live Aid dual-venue benefit concert.

Single release[edit]

The "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" single hit number two in the UK Singles Chart in 1979, and became the first US number-one hit for the band, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. It was knocked out of the top spot on this chart by Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II".[6][7] The song also topped the Australian ARIA charts for seven consecutive weeks from 1 March to 12 April 1980.[8] The UK release had "We Will Rock You (live)" as the b-side and America, Australia, Canada had "Spread Your Wings (live)".


Although Mercury played an acoustic-electric twelve-string Ovation Pacemaker 1615 guitar and later on an electric six-string Fender Telecaster (both owned by May) live, he recorded the studio version of the song using a six-string acoustic with external mics. Mercury also played the original guitar solo on a version which has been lost.[24]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[53] Gold 45,000
Italy (FIMI)[54] Platinum 100,000
Netherlands (NVPI)[55] Gold 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[56] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[57] Platinum 600,000
United States (RIAA)[58] Platinum 1,000,000

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Dwight Yoakam version[edit]

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
UK CD picture sleeve
Single by Dwight Yoakam
from the album Last Chance for a Thousand Years: Dwight Yoakam's Greatest Hits from the 90's
Released19 May 1999
Songwriter(s)Freddie Mercury
Producer(s)Pete Anderson
Dwight Yoakam singles chronology
"These Arms"
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
"Thinking About Leaving"

American country music singer Dwight Yoakam included a cover of the song on his 1999 album Last Chance for a Thousand Years: Dwight Yoakam's Greatest Hits from the 90's.[59] Yoakam's version was released as a single. It debuted at number 65 on the US Billboard "Hot Country Singles & Tracks" chart for the week of 1 May 1999, and peaked at number 12 on the US country singles charts that year. It was also used in a television commercial for clothing retailer Gap at the time of the album's release. The music video was directed by Yoakam. This version appears in the movie The Break-Up (2006), starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston.


Chart (1999) Peak
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[60] 19
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[61] 1
UK Singles Chart 35
US Billboard Hot 100[62] 64
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[63] 12
Year-end chart (1999) Rank
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[64] 22
US Country Songs (Billboard)[65] 64

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BPI certifications".
  2. ^ Crouse, Richard (1998). Who Wrote The Book of Love?. Doubleday Canada. ISBN 978-0385257329.
  3. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir (2003). All Music Guide to Country: The Definitive Guide to Country Music. Backbeat Books. p. 368. ISBN 978-0879307608.
  4. ^ July 2016, Paul Elliott 13 (13 July 2016). "Every song on Queen's Greatest Hits, ranked from worst to best". loudersound. Retrieved 30 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Chart History for Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen". Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2006). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. Billboard Books
  7. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London: Guinness World Records Limited
  8. ^ a b Kent, David (1993) (doc). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W
  9. ^ a b c Lights! Action! Sound! It's That Crazy Little Thing Called Queen Archived 28 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine Circus Magazine. Retrieved 29 June 2011
  10. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine (30 October 2007). "Queen Rock Montreal – Queen | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Queen "Live At Wembley 1986 / Live At Wembley Stadium" album and song lyrics". Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  12. ^ "Queen "The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert" video and song lyrics". Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  13. ^ Coryat, Karl (1999). The Bass Player Book. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 59.
  14. ^ "Queen Interviews – Freddie Mercury – 05-02-1981 – Melody Maker". Queen Archives. Melody Maker. 2 May 1981. Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  15. ^ Queen interview: Brian May on Crazy Little Thing Called Love on YouTube Absolute Radio. Retrieved 18 December 2011
  16. ^ ROGER SPEAKS: COLOGNE AUDIO PRESS KIT Retrieved 29 June 2011
  17. ^ Billboard 18 Jul 1980 p.33. Billboard. Retrieved 29 June 2011
  18. ^ "Interview with Reinhold Mack, Esq". iZotope. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2009.
  19. ^ Crazy Little Thing Called Love UltimateQueen. Retrieved 29 June 2011
  20. ^ "Top Singles Picks" (PDF). Billboard. 22 December 1979. p. 76. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  21. ^ "Cash Box Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 22 December 1979. p. 11. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  22. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. 22 December 1979. p. 1. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  23. ^ "Music Radar: Brian May's 'other' guitars". 24 February 2011.
  24. ^ "May confirms Mercury played solo". Guitar & Bass. Archived from the original on 16 December 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2022.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  25. ^ "Australian (David Kent) Weekly Single Charts from 1980". Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  26. ^ "Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  27. ^ "Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  28. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9499a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  29. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Crazy Little Thing Called Love". Irish Singles Chart.
  30. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 47, 1979" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  31. ^ "Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  32. ^ "Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love". VG-lista.
  33. ^ "Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love". Top 40 Singles.
  34. ^ "SA Charts 1965 - 1989 Songs C-D". Rock Africa Rock Lists. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  35. ^ "Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love". Swiss Singles Chart.
  36. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  37. ^ "Queen Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  38. ^ "Queen Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  39. ^ " – Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  40. ^ "Queen Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  41. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1979". Ultratop. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  42. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1979". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  43. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1979". Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  44. ^ "Top Singles 1979". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 22 December 1979. p. 27.
  45. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1980". Kent Music Report. 5 January 1981. Retrieved 17 January 2022 – via Imgur.
  46. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  47. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on 25 April 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  48. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1980 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". 31 December 1980. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  49. ^ "Pop Singles" Billboard 20 December 1980: TIA-10
  50. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  51. ^ "Hot Rock Songs – Year-End 2019". Billboard. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  52. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  53. ^ "Danish single certifications – Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  54. ^ "Italian single certifications – Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 6 June 2023.
  55. ^ "Dutch single certifications – Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 19 August 2012. Enter Crazy Little Thing Called Love in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  56. ^ Scapolo, Dean (2007). The Complete New Zealand Music Charts: 1966 – 2006. Wellington: Maurienne House. p. 207. ISBN 978-1877443-00-8.
  57. ^ "British single certifications – Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  58. ^ "American single certifications – Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  59. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Last Chance for a Thousand Years review". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  60. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 8469." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 30 August 1999. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  61. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 8364." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 16 August 1999. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  62. ^ "Dwight Yoakam Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  63. ^ "Dwight Yoakam Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  64. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1999". RPM. 13 December 1999. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  65. ^ "Best of 1999: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1999. Retrieved 7 July 2013.

External links[edit]