Flash (Queen song)

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Single by Queen
from the album Flash Gordon
B-side"Football Fight"
Released24 November 1980 (UK)
January 1981 (US)
Format7" vinyl
RecordedOctober 1980
GenreProgressive rock, power pop
Length2:48 (single version)
3:29 (album version)
LabelEMI Records, Elektra
Songwriter(s)Brian May
Producer(s)Brian May, Reinhold Mack
Queen singles chronology
"Need Your Loving Tonight"
"Under Pressure"

"We Will Rock You"

"Flash (Vanguard Mix)"

"Reaching Out"

"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.

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 contains 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.[2] It fared much better in Europe, where it was a Top 10 hit in most nations, including #1 in Austria.

Music video[edit]

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



Chart (1980-81) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[3] 16
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[4] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 19
Canada RPM Top Singles[6] 24
Germany (Official German Charts)[7] 3
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 10
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[9] 13
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 32
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[11] 17
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[12] 10
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 42
US Cash Box Top 100[14] 39

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[15] 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.[20]
  • 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!".[21]
  • The song was used in the Family Guy episode "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven", when Brian wonders why nobody has even seen God and what does he do in Heaven.[22]
  • 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".
  • The song was recently spoofed in a commercial for the video game Agents of Mayhem with "Gat" instead of "Flash" promoting the character Johnny Gat if you pre-order the game.
  • The song was used in a Google Pixel 3 commercial; advertising their new “Nightsight” camera.

Live recording[edit]


  1. ^ "Queen: Greatest Hits". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 May 2012
  2. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, February 21, 1981
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Queen – Flash" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Ultratop.be – Queen – Flash" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1981-03-21. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  7. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Queen – Flash". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Flash". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Queen – Flash" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Charts.nz – Queen – Flash". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Queen – Flash". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Queen: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Queen Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  14. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, February 21, 1981
  15. ^ "British single certifications – Flash". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Flash in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  16. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London: Guinness World Records Limited
  17. ^ "Public Enemy's Terminator X to the Edge of Panic Sample of Queen's Flash theme" Whosampled.com. Retrieved 12 May 2012
  18. ^ "Tenacious D: The Complete Masterworks". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 May 2012
  19. ^ "Brian May to release 'The Badger Song' ahead of planned government cull - listen". New Musical Express. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  20. ^ "Blades of Glory (2007) - Soundtrack". IMDb. Retrieved 12 May 2012
  21. ^ "All Is Right With Shaq's Universe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 May 2012
  22. ^ Family Guy Season 7 Episode 11 Not All Dogs Go To Heaven (10:53-11:02). Retrieved 12 May 2012

External links[edit]