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Who Wants to Live Forever

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"Who Wants to Live Forever"
Single by Queen
from the album A Kind of Magic
Released 15 September 1986
Format Vinyl record (7"/12")
Recorded 1985–86
Genre Rock
Length 5:15
Label EMI
Writer(s) Brian May
Queen singles chronology
"Pain Is So Close to Pleasure"
"Who Wants to Live Forever"
"I Want It All"

"Who Wants to Live Forever" is a song by the British rock band Queen. It is the sixth track on the album A Kind of Magic, released in June 1986, and was written by lead guitarist Brian May for the soundtrack to the film Highlander.[1] The song peaked at No. 24 in the UK charts.[2]

The song is used to frame the scenes in the film where Connor MacLeod must endure his beloved wife Heather MacLeod growing old and dying while he, as an Immortal, remains forever young. (It was later used in the episodes "The Gathering", "Revenge is Sweet", "The Hunters", "Line of Fire", and "Leader of the Pack" of the Highlander television series).

In the film, Freddie Mercury provides all the main vocals, while May sings lead vocals on the first verse on the album version, before Mercury takes over for most of the rest of the song, with May singing "But touch my tears with your lips" during Mercury's verse and then the final line of the song, "Who waits forever anyway?". John Deacon does not feature on the album version. An instrumental version of the song, titled "Forever", was included as a bonus track on the CD version of the album. This instrumental featured only a piano, with keyboard accompaniment during the chorus sections. The piano track was recorded solely by May. Queen was backed up by an orchestra, with orchestrations by the co-composer of the film's score, Michael Kamen.[1] Since its release, the song has been covered by a number of artists.

Music video[edit]

The video was directed by David Mallet and filmed in a (now demolished) warehouse at Tobacco Wharf at London's East End in September 1986.[3] It featured the National Philharmonic Orchestra with forty choirboys and hundreds and hundreds of candles which remain lit throughout filming as well as Mercury wearing a tuxedo suit.[3] It is the only Queen video to feature bass guitarist John Deacon playing an upright bass. According to Roger Taylor in an interview for Queen's Greatest Video Hits II, he was drunk during the filming.

An alternate version with clips from the film Highlander (which the song appears in) appears on the video single with "A Kind of Magic" in October 1986 and later as a hidden music video on the Queen Greatest Video Hits II DVD in November 2003.[3]


Cover versions[edit]


Funeral music[edit]

In a 2005 poll conducted by digital television station Music Choice on what song Britons would most like played at their funeral, the song was voted the fifth most popular.[9]

Dune version[edit]

"Who Wants to Live Forever"
Dune - Who wants to live forever - Cover.jpg
Single by Dune
from the album Forever
Released 23 October 1996
Format CD single
Genre Classical music
Dune singles chronology
"Million Miles From Home"
"Who Wants to Live Forever"
"Nothing Compares 2 U"

German band Dune released their cover of "Who Wants to Live Forever", from their album Forever, as a single in October 1996.

Dune's version of "Who Wants to Live Forever" sold more than 500,000 copies in Germany. The single peaked at No. 3 in the Austrian singles charts, No. 9 in the Swiss Charts, No. 12 in the Dutch Charts and No. 59 in the Swedish charts.

Track listing[edit]

  1. Who Wants to Live Forever (Sixtysix Radio Mix) (3:54)
  2. Who Wants to Live Forever (South Bound Mix) (3:58)
  3. Highland Trilogy: One Day in Glencoe (4:49)
  4. Highland Trilogy: Valley of Tears (4:58)
  5. Highland Trilogy: In the Air, Part 2 (10:29)


Released: 4 December 1996

  1. Who Wants to Live Forever (Komakino Remix) (5:32)
  2. Who Wants to Live Forever (Future Breeze Remix) (7:03)
  3. In the Air, Part 1 (5:13)

Music video[edit]

The music video of "Who Wants to Live Forever" was directed by Matt Broadley.[10] It was shot in the Scottish Highlands.

Sarah Brightman version[edit]

"Who Wants to Live Forever"
Brightman Who Wants to Live Forever.jpg
Single by Sarah Brightman
from the album Timeless
Released 1997
Format CD single
Genre Operatic pop
Producer(s) Frank Peterson
Sarah Brightman singles chronology
"Just Show Me How to Love You"
"Who Wants to Live Forever"
"Tu Quieres Volver"

Soprano Sarah Brightman released her cover of "Who Wants to Live Forever", from her album Timeless/Time to Say Goodbye, as a single in 1997 (See 1997 in music). The single peaked at No. 45 in the UK singles chart.

Track listing[edit]

CD single[edit]

  1. "Who Wants to Live Forever" (Album version)
  2. "Who Wants to Live Forever" (Xenomania club mix)

Maxi CD single[edit]

  1. "Who Wants to Live Forever"
  2. "A Question of Honour"
  3. "Heaven Is Here"
  4. "I Loved You"

12" vinyl[edit]

  1. "Who Wants to Live Forever (Trouser Enthusiasts 'Cybernetic Odalisque' Mix)"
  2. "Who Wants to Live Forever (Xenomania Club Mix)"
  3. "Who Wants to Live Forever (Xenomania Dub Mix)"
  4. "Who Wants to Live Forever (X-Citing Mix)

Edyta Górniak version[edit]

Edyta Górniak - Nieśmiertelni.jpg
Single by Edyta Górniak
Released 2003
Format CD single
Genre R&B
Label Pomaton EMI
Writer(s) Ryszard Kunce
Producer(s) Edyta Górniak
Edyta Górniak singles chronology
"The Story So Far"

Polish singer Edyta Górniak released a cover of the song in 2003 called "Nieśmiertelni" (Immortals). She recorded the cover with Polish lyrics for the cover compilation album RMF FM – Moja i Twoja muzyka by Polish radio station RMF FM. It was released as a promo radio single by Pomaton EMI. The image on the cover was shot by photographer Robert Wolański.

Track listing[edit]

  1. Nieśmiertelni (3:26)


  1. ^ a b Who Wants To Live Forever
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London: Guinness World Records Limited
  3. ^ a b c Queen Promo Videos: Who Wants To Live Forever Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 11 November 2011
  4. ^ "Giorgia in concerto ad Ancona con Dietro le Apparenze Tour 2012". La Prima Web - Eventi Marche. 11 March 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Sarah Brightman: Time to Say Goodbye Allmusic. Retrieved 30 August 2011
  6. ^ The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert: Who Wants To Live Forever Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 20 August 2011
  7. ^ Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen Allmusic. Retrieved 30 August 2011
  8. ^ "Isle of Wight Festival: Queen pay tribute to Orlando shooting victims". BBC. 14 June 2016. 
  9. ^ "Angels 'favourite funeral song'". BBC News. 10 March 2005. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Credits - Matt Broadley". Retrieved January 29, 2017. 

External links[edit]