Seven Seas of Rhye

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Seven Seas of Rhye"
Artwork for Holland release
Single by Queen
from the album Queen and Queen II
Released23 February 1974
Recorded1972-73 at Trident Studios
LabelEMI (UK), Elektra (US)
Songwriter(s)Freddie Mercury
Producer(s)Roy Thomas Baker, Queen
Queen singles chronology
"Seven Seas of Rhye"
"Killer Queen" / "Flick of the Wrist"
Music video
"Seven Seas of Rhye" on YouTube

"Seven Seas of Rhye" is a song by the British rock band Queen. It was primarily written by Freddie Mercury, with Brian May contributing the second middle-eight. The song is officially credited to Mercury only. A rudimentary instrumental version appears as the final track on the group's self-titled debut album (1973), with the final version on the follow-up Queen II (1974).[3]

The completed version served as the band's third single, and after performing the song on the BBC's Top of the Pops in February 1974 it became their first hit, reaching number 10 on the UK Singles Chart. It is the earliest-released song to appear on their Greatest Hits album, with the exception of some versions where their first single, "Keep Yourself Alive", is included.


Initially "Seven Seas of Rhye" was simply an "instrumental musical sketch closing their first album".[4] An expanded rendition, planned for inclusion on the album Queen II, was publicly premiered when Queen was offered a sudden chance to appear on the BBC’s Top of the Pops in February 1974, and was rushed to vinyl two days later on 23 February.[4] It became their first chart entry after gaining airtime on BBC Radio 1,[4] peaking at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart,[5] which in turn persuaded Freddie Mercury to take up Queen as his full-time career.[4]

Style, construction and interpretation[edit]

The song features a distinctive arpeggiated piano introduction.[nb 1][6]

The version on Queen II ends with a cross fade, instruments blending into the band singing "I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside", accompanied by a stylophone played by Roy Thomas Baker, which was a sole exception to their "no synths" statement.[7] Its inclusion here on the final track of Queen II is briefly mirrored via whistling during the first few seconds of "Brighton Rock", which opens their next album, Sheer Heart Attack.

In a 1977 radio interview, Freddie Mercury described the subject of the song as a "figment of his imagination". In the Queen musical We Will Rock You, the Seven Seas of Rhye is a place where the Bohemians are taken after they are brain-drained by Khashoggi.[8]

Live performances[edit]

The song was dropped from the live set in 1976 and was not played in concert again until The Works Tour eight years later.[9]

In September 2016 it was the opening song of the set at the first performance of Queen + Adam Lambert's tour of Asia in Tel Aviv’s Park HaYarkon in Israel.[10]


Instrumental Version[11]
Vocal Version[12][13][14]


Guest Musician


The song was used in the launch trailer for Borderlands 3. [15]


  1. ^ These piano runs were later sampled in "It's a Beautiful Day (reprise)", on the album Made in Heaven.


  1. ^ Fowles, Paul (2009). A Concise History of Rock Music. Mel Bay Publications, Inc. p. 244. ISBN 978-0786666430. the intricately-woven hard rock single Seven Seas of Rhye from the Queen II album
  2. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (26 October 2018). "Queen's 50 UK singles – ranked!". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  3. ^ Seven Seas of Rhye Allmusic. Retrieved 5 July 2011
  4. ^ a b c d Rivadavia, Ed. "Seven Seas of Rhye: Review". Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London: Guinness World Records Limited
  6. ^ M. Felsani; M. Primi; M. Saita (1997), Queen. Tutti i testi con traduzione a fronte edited, ISBN 9788809024182
  7. ^ Jackson, Laura (2011). Brian May: The definitive biography. Hachette UK. p. 30. ISBN 9781405513722.
  8. ^ We Will Rock You - Plot & Photo Gallery Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 5 July 2011
  9. ^ "Queen on tour: The Works 1984". Queen Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Queen + Adam Lambert Set List / Reviews: Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv, Israel (Updated)". Queen online. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  11. ^ Queen (Media notes). EMI Records. 1973. EMC 3006.
  12. ^ Queen II (Media notes). EMI Records. 1974. EMA 767.
  13. ^ Blake, Mark (12 September 2016). Freddie Mercury: A Kind of Magic. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9781783237784. Retrieved 21 December 2017 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ "Queen - Seven Seas Of Rhye (multitrack)". 2 March 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Borderlands 3 - Official Cinematic Launch Trailer: "Let's Make Some Mayhem"". YouTube. Borderlands. Retrieved 16 September 2019.

External links[edit]