Flash (Queen song)

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"Flash"
Single by Queen
from the album Flash Gordon
B-side "Football Fight"
Released 24 November 1980 (UK)
January 1981 (US)
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded October 1980
Genre Rock
Length 2:48 (single version)
3:29 (album version)
Label EMI Records, Elektra
Writer(s) Brian May
Producer(s) Brian May, Reinhold Mack
Queen singles chronology
"Need Your Loving Tonight"
(1980)
"Flash"
(1980)
"Under Pressure"
(1981)

"We Will Rock You"
(2000)

"Flash (Vanguard Mix)"
(2003)

"Another One Bites the Dust (The Miami Project Remixes)"
(2006)

"Flash" is a song by the British rock band Queen. Written by guitarist Brian May, "Flash" is the theme song of the 1980 film Flash Gordon. The soundtrack released to coincide with the film contained only the music composed and performed by Queen.

There are two versions of the song. The album version ("Flash's Theme") is in fact the start to the movie, with all the dialogue from the first scene. The single version features dialogue cut from various parts of the movie, most memorably, Brian Blessed's character exclaiming "Gordon's alive?!" This version was also included on the Greatest Hits compilation from 1981.[1]

Flash is sung as a duet between Freddie Mercury and Brian May, with Roger Taylor adding the high harmonies. May plays all of the instruments except for the rhythm section. He used an Imperial Bösendorfer Grand Piano (with 97 keys instead of 88, having an extra octave on the low range), Oberheim OBX synth (which he plays in the video) and his homemade Red Special electric guitar.

On the U.S. charts, "Flash's Theme aka Flash" reached #42 on the Billboard Hot 100. It peaked at #39 on the Cash Box Top 100. It fared much better in Europe, where it was a Top 10 hit in most nations, including #1 in Austria. In Australia and New Zealand, the song reached #6.

Music video[edit]

The video for the song was filmed at Anvil Studios, London in November 1980 and directed by Don Norman and features the band performing the song to a screen showing clips from the film. An alternate version which was broadcast during the Concert For Kampuchea during 1981 featuring alternate film clips was included on the Flash Gordon 2011 iTunes edition.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1980) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[2] 16
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[3] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[4] 19
Germany (Official German Charts)[5] 3
Ireland (IRMA)[6] 10
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[7] 13
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[8] 32
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[9] 17
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[10] 10
US Billboard Hot 100[11] 42

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[12] Silver 250,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Remixes and covers[edit]

Uses in popular culture[edit]

  • A segment of the song was often played at Miami Heat home games when Dwyane Wade, who is nicknamed "Flash," makes a spectacular play.
  • The song was played at Philadelphia Phillies home games when Phillies reliever Tom Gordon, whose nickname is "Flash Gordon", entered the game.
  • The song is played in the film Blades of Glory when Will Ferrell and Jon Heder do their final competition together, with the song as the background and basis for their routine at the end of the movie.[17]
  • Some Sci Fi Channel teaser-advertisements for the 2007 Flash Gordon series play the signature beats from the song over a simple logo. The song is not used in the actual show.
  • Mark Dudbridge, an English darts player, uses it as his entrance music on stage. A take on his nickname Flash.
  • "Flash" has been used as the opening theme song for Fuji TV's Formula One coverage in Japan since the 2007 season.
  • This song has been played on Toy Story 2 advertisement on ABC1 and Disney Channel using "Buzz" instead of "Flash".
  • NBA star Shaquille O'Neal sang the song during a press-conference, but replaced Flash with "Shaq, Ah! Ah! Greatest of the universe!".[18]
  • The song was featured in the Family Guy episode "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven", when Brian wonders why nobody has even seen God and what does he does in Heaven.[19]
  • The song was used in a 2011 commercial for the Blackberry Playbook, with "Flash" referring to the tablet computer's inclusion of Adobe Flash Player.
  • The song has recently been used in the UK Innocent smoothie advertising campaign replacing "Flash" with "Fruit"
  • The song was used on a promo for the CBS reality show The Amazing Race, replacing "Flash" with "Phil", referring to the show's host Phil Keoghan.
  • "Flash", along with other songs from the soundtrack, was used in the 2012 comedy film Ted.
  • The song was spoofed in a commercial for Clash Royale with "Clash" instead of "Flash".

Live recording[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Queen: Greatest Hits". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 May 2012
  2. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 243. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  3. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Queen – Flash" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Ultratop.be – Queen – Flash" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Queen – Flash". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  6. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Flash". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Queen – Flash" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Queen – Flash". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Queen – Flash". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Queen: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Queen – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Queen. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  12. ^ "British single certifications – Flash". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Flash in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  13. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London: Guinness World Records Limited
  14. ^ "Public Enemy's Terminator X to the Edge of Panic Sample of Queen's Flash theme" Whosampled.com. Retrieved 12 May 2012
  15. ^ "Tenacious D: The Complete Masterworks". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 May 2012
  16. ^ "Brian May to release 'The Badger Song' ahead of planned government cull - listen". New Musical Express. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Blades of Glory (2007) - Soundtrack". IMDb. Retrieved 12 May 2012
  18. ^ "All Is Right With Shaq's Universe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 May 2012
  19. ^ Family Guy Season 7 Episode 11 Not All Dogs Go To Heaven (10:53-11:02). Retrieved 12 May 2012

External links[edit]