Princes of the Universe
|"Princes of the Universe"|
|Single by Queen|
|from the album A Kind of Magic|
|Released||12 March 1986 (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) 6 October 1986 (Japan)|
|Format||Vinyl record (7")|
|Recorded||1985 – 1986|
|Producer(s)||Queen and Reinhold Mack|
|Queen singles chronology|
"Princes of the Universe" is a song written by Freddie Mercury and performed by the British rock band Queen. The song was written for the soundtrack of the movie Highlander, and released on the album A Kind of Magic, which also featured other selections from the Highlander song score, in 1986. In terms of musical style, the song is notable for being one of the most hard-edged tracks performed by the band, featuring a bombastic sound reminiscent of contemporary hard rock and heavy metal and vocals by Mercury akin to opera. A music video for the song, which featured Mercury sword-fighting, achieved some notoriety.
"Princes of the Universe," written and composed for Highlander, is the only song on the album for which Mercury receives sole credit. The song's name comes from the original working title of the film. It is played over the film's opening credits, and was later used as the opening theme for Highlander: The Series. The song was never released as a single in the United Kingdom, and while it never truly charted, it is considered a cult favourite because of its relation to the film. In the movie, the guitar solo in the beginning is deleted.
The lyrics are from the perspective of the immortals, about the state of being immortal, the superiority it gives them to normal humans, and the test that they always have to face because of this. Some of the lyrics can be interpreted as regarding Queen themselves, and Freddie Mercury himself in particular: "People talk about you, people say you've had your day / I'm a man that will go far, find the moon and reach for the stars." The song "Who Wants to Live Forever," which also features in the film, is the foil of this song.
The music video was directed by Russell Mulcahy, and was shot on 14 February 1986 at Elstree Studios, London, on the Silvercup rooftop stage used for the film. It consists mostly of Queen performing the song, intercut with scenes from Highlander. Christopher Lambert reprises his role as Connor MacLeod for a brief appearance in the video, where he swordfights Freddie Mercury, who uses his microphone stand as a sword. Brian May is seen playing a Washburn RR11V instead of his Red Special. Although the single did not chart in the US, the video was regularly played on MTV. Before its release on Greatest Flix III (VHS, 1999) and Greatest Video Hits 2 (DVD, 2003), it was rarely seen outside of North America.
- Freddie Mercury – lead and backing vocals, piano, synthesizer
- Brian May – lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
- Roger Taylor – drums, backing vocals
- John Deacon – bass guitar
- Guarisco, Donald A. "Princes of the Universe - Queen | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
- "Queen Interviews - A Kind of Magic". Queen Archives. The Times. June 21, 1986. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
- Freestone, Peter (2001) Freddie Mercury: an intimate memoir by the man who knew him best p.96.Omnibus Press, Retrieved 22 January 2011
- Brooks, Greg; Taylor, Gary. "Album Details: A Kind of Magic". queenonline.com. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
- Bartkowiak, Mathew J. (2010) Sounds of the Future: Essays on Music in Science Fiction Film p.19. Retrieved 22 January 2011
- Who Wants To Live Forever UltimateQueen.co.uk