Love of My Life (Queen song)
|"Love of My Life"|
|Song by Queen from the album A Night at the Opera|
|Released||21 November 1975|
|Recorded||1975 at various studios|
|Label||EMI, Parlophone (Europe)
Elektra, Hollywood (US)
Roy Thomas Baker
|A Night at the Opera track listing|
|"Love of My Life (Live at Festhalle Frankfurt, 2 Feb '79)"|
|Single by Queen|
|from the album Live Killers|
|B-side||Now I'm Here (Live at Festhalle Frankfurt, 2 Feb '79)|
|Released||29 June 1979|
|Format||Vinyl record (7")|
|Queen singles chronology|
"Love of My Life" is a ballad by the British rock band Queen from their 1975 album A Night at the Opera. The song was written by Freddie Mercury about Mary Austin, with whom he had a long term relationship in the early 1970s. After performing the song in South America in 1981, the version from their live album Live Killers reached number 1 in the singles chart in Argentina and Brazil, and stayed in the charts in Argentina for an entire year.
Freddie Mercury wrote it on the piano and guitar first, and Brian May rearranged the song for acoustic 12-string guitar for live performances, also lowering the key by a minor third. May contributed occasional guitar phrases to the original recording and played the swooping harp glissandos by pasting together multiple takes of single chords. The song is an example of Mercury's familiarity with rubato phrasing, showcasing his classical piano influences, notably by Chopin and Beethoven.
With its similar lyrical theme, the Roger Taylor penned single "These Are the Days of Our Lives" would later hearken back to "Love of My Life", twice using the line "I still love you". At the end of "These Are the Days of Our Lives", Mercury simply speaks those words, as he would often do in live versions of "Love of My Life".
During the voyage of the space shuttle Columbia (STS-107), Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, asked to play the song. The song was played in the shuttle and Ramon said: "A special good morning to my wife, Rona, the love of my life." Ramon died in the Columbia disaster shortly thereafter, during its return to the atmosphere in 2003.
Introduced during the News of the World Tour in 1977, "Love of My Life" was such a concert favourite that Mercury frequently stopped singing and allowed the audience to take over. It was especially well received during concerts in South America, and resultantly the band released the Live Killers version of the song as a single there.
After Mercury's death, Brian May has frequently dedicated the song to him in his own live performances. A notable exception is the Sheffield show which yielded the Return of the Champions CD and DVD. At that show, May announced that Mercury's mother was at the show and he dedicated the song to her instead. In the Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour, May would sing a few lines of the song, then let the audience take over for every verse, as Mercury did. When played at the Glasgow SECC in the 2008 Cosmos Rocks tour, May dedicated the song to his recently deceased mother.
During Rock in Rio 6 in 2015, Queen + Adam Lambert was one of the artists to celebrate the festival's 30th anniversary. "Love of My Life" had both May singing a few lines and archive footage of Mercury performing the song during the inaugural Wembley concert in 1986.
1979 live single release
The acoustic version of the song featured on the band's 1979 album Live Killers  was recorded at their concert at Festhalle Frankfurt on 2 February of that year. A shortened version was released as a single in the UK and other territories, which did not include the spoken intros and outros from the album. The linear notes for the DVD release "Greatest Video Hits 1" state that although the live audio is from Frankfurt, the accompanying music video that was edited to the track consisted of footage from a 1979 Tokyo concert. In fact, the footage was filmed before one of three Tokyo concerts the band played between 23–25 April. Some bits of footage from two concerts in Paris from earlier in the year are woven in. After performing the song in South America in 1981, it was this version that reached number 1 in the singles chart in Argentina and Brazil, and stayed in the charts in Argentina for an entire year.
|“||"Love Of My Life" is adapted on stage for guitar, but it was written on the piano. I've totally forgotten the original and if you asked me to play that now, I couldn't. Sometimes, I have to go back to the music sheet, and I can't read that well either.||”|
|— Freddie Mercury, 1981|
|“||Interviewer: Did you learn to play harp for "Love Of My Life"?
Learning would be too strong a word. I did it chord by chord. Actually, it took longer to tune the thing than to play it. It was a nightmare because every time someone opened the door, the temperature would change and the whole thing would go out. I would hate to have to play a harp on stage. I just figured out how it worked – the pedals and everything – and did it bit by bit.
|— Brian May, 1982|
|“||I hate this thing about trying to recreate the albums on stage. We sometimes deliberately change. Look at 'Love Of My Life', for instance. On record I play piano on that but on stage it's just Brian playing the guitar and me singing it, because it works on stage better that way.||”|
|— Freddie Mercury, 1984|
- Freddie Mercury – lead and backing vocals, piano
- Brian May – acoustic and electric guitar, orchestral harp
- Roger Taylor – cymbals
- John Deacon – bass guitar
Numerous artists have released cover versions of "Love of My Life" commercially, including:
- Michael Burgess
- Extreme (which featured Brian May)
- Rose Marie
- Margareth Menezes
- Declan Galbraith
- Mark Slaughter
- Antonio Vega
- Lani Misalucha
- Norma Waterson
- John Owen-Jones
- gold-medal-winning quartet NoteOrious
- Musical theatre actress Elaine Paige recorded the song on her album of Queen covers The Queen Album (1988)
- Kerry Ellis performed the song with Brian May both on Anthems: The Tour (2011) and at her Friday Night is Music Night special show in April 2012
- Joe McElderry covered the song for his fourth studio album, Here's What I Believe
- Marti Webb recorded the song on her album Encore (1985)
- Love of My Life Allmusic. Retrieved 7 July 2011
- 'A Night At The Opera' Queen. Retrieved 7 July 2011
- Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock p.164. Voyageur Press. Retrieved 12 July 2011
- Queen's Greatest Videos. Episode 1/1. 1999. 50 minutes in. Channel 4. (Roger Taylor)
- CNN.com – Transcripts. Edition.cnn.com (24 June 2003). Retrieved on 2015-10-21.
- "Queen repete coro de 1985 em 'Love of My Life' e lembra Freddie Mercury". Correio Braziliense (in Portuguese).
- Love Of My Life – Queenpedia.com – Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Discography, Bibliography, Charts. Queenpedia.com (2009-08-19). Retrieved on 2015-10-21.
- Love Of My Life Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 7 July 2011
- "The Queen Album". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 September 2015.