Princes of the Universe
|"Princes of the Universe"|
|Single by Queen|
|from the album A Kind of Magic|
|B-side||A Dozen Red Roses for My Darling"
"Who Wants to Live Forever" (Japan)
"Gimme the Prize (Kurgan's Theme)" (Australia)
"Was It All Worth It" (2000 Dutch CD Single)
|Released||12 March 1986 (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand; 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 Queen. The song was written for the soundtrack of the movie Highlander and released on the A Kind of Magic album in 1986.
"Princes of the Universe", written for Highlander, is the only song on the album for which Mercury receives sole credit. Later, it was also used as the theme song 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 all always have to face because of this. The lyrics can also be interpreted as regarding Queen themselves: "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" is the foil of this song, and features in the film.
The music video was directed by Russell Mulcahy on 14th February 1986 at Elstree Studios, London, and was shot on the Silvercup rooftop stage used for the film, featuring a sword fight between Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) and Freddie Mercury (wielding his trademark bottomless mic stand instead of a sword) intercut with scenes from the movie. During the video, guitarist Brian May appears without his Red Special, but instead with a white Washburn RR11V. The video was actually played quite a bit on music video stations (in the US) when this single came out, despite not charting. Up until its eventual release on Greatest Flix III (VHS, 1999) and Greatest Video Hits 2 (DVD, 2003), it was rarely seen by fans outside North America, elevating its possession to collector's item status.
- Freddie Mercury - lead and backing vocals, piano, synthesizer
- Brian May - guitar, backing vocals
- Roger Taylor - drums, backing vocals
- John Deacon - bass guitar
Connection to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Originally the song was called Masters Of The Universe. Freddie Mercury had been staying with Reinhold Mack's Family in Munich and Mack's son was watching He-Man and playing with the Toys. Freddie had long wanted to use Masters of the Universe as a Song Title since the early days of Queen. Queen's manager Jim Beach approached Filmation about possibly using the song in the Cartoon - but Mattel Toys rejected the idea due to a Motion Picture Adaptation being in progress. Eventually when the Highlander producers commissioned Queen for the Soundtrack, Freddie developed the song into Princes Of The Universe.
- A Kind of Magic review. The Times. 21 June 1986. Archived at queenarchives.com
- Freestone, Peter (2001) Freddie Mercury: an intimate memoir by the man who knew him best p.96.Omnibus Press, Retrieved 22 January 2011
- 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