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Who Wants to Live Forever

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"Who Wants to Live Forever"
Wwtlfq.jpg
Single by Queen
from the album A Kind of Magic
Released15 September 1986
Format
Recorded1986
GenreRock
Length
  • 5:15 (album version)
  • 4:55 (Greatest Hits II CD edit)
  • 4:01 (single version)
LabelEMI
Songwriter(s)Brian May
Producer(s)
Queen singles chronology
"Pain Is So Close to Pleasure"
(1986)
"Who Wants to Live Forever"
(1986)
"I Want It All"
(1989)

"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] Queen was backed up by an orchestra, with orchestrations by the co-composer of the film's score, Michael Kamen. The song peaked at No. 24 in the UK charts.[2]

Since its release, the song has been covered by many artists. In 2014, Rolling Stone readers voted it their fifth favourite song by Queen.[3]

Recording[edit]

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).

Brian May wrote the song in the backseat of his car after seeing a 20-minute first cut of the scene of Heather's death.[4]

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 finally 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?". 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]

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.[5] 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.[5] The video also features bass guitarist John Deacon playing a white double bass, despite not performing on the original recording.

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.[5]

Personnel[edit]

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[6] Silver 250,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Legacy[edit]

Tributes[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
Released23 October 1996
Format
GenreClassical
Length3:54
Label
  • Orbit Records
  • Virgin
Songwriter(s)Brian May
Dune singles chronology
"Million Miles from Home"
(1996)
"Who Wants to Live Forever"
(1996)
"Nothing Compares 2 U"
(1997)
Music video
"Who Wants to Live Forever" on YouTube

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. It was nominated to the 1997 Echo Awards for the most successful national dance single.

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)

Remixes[edit]

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.

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1996-1997) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[11] 3
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[12] 13
ID is MANDATORY FOR GERMAN CHARTS 2
Hungary (Mahasz)[13] 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[14] 9
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 12
Scotland (Official Charts Company) 65
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[16] 59
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 9
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 77

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1996) Position
Germany (Official German Charts)[18] 44
Chart (1997) Position
Germany (Official German Charts)[19] 49

Sarah Brightman version[edit]

"Who Wants to Live Forever"
Brightman Who Wants to Live Forever.jpg
Single by Sarah Brightman
from the album Timeless
Released1997
FormatCD single
GenreOperatic pop
Songwriter(s)Brian May
Producer(s)Frank Peterson
Sarah Brightman singles chronology
"Just Show Me How to Love You"
(1997)
"Who Wants to Live Forever"
(1997)
"Tu Quieres Volver"
(1997)

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.[20]

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]

"Nieśmiertelni"
Edyta Górniak - Nieśmiertelni.jpg
Single by Edyta Górniak
Released2003
FormatCD single
GenreR&B
LabelPomaton EMI
Songwriter(s)Brian May
Producer(s)Edyta Górniak
Edyta Górniak singles chronology
"Impossible"
(2003)
"Nieśmiertelni"
(2003)
"The Story So Far"
(2003)

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)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Who Wants To Live Forever UltimateQueen.co.uk
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London: Guinness World Records Limited
  3. ^ "Readers' Poll: 10 Greatest Queen Songs". Rolling Stone. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  4. ^ Georg Purvis (28 August 2012). Queen: The Complete Works. Titan. p. 935. ISBN 978-1-78116-287-3. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Queen Promo Videos: Who Wants To Live Forever Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 11 November 2011
  6. ^ "British single certifications – Who Wants To Live Forever". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Who Wants To Live Forever in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  7. ^ The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert: Who Wants To Live Forever Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 20 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". mattbroadley.com. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  11. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Dune – Who Wants To Live Forever" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Music & Media: Eurochart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Top 10 Hungary" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Dune" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Dune – Who Wants To Live Forever" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Dune – Who Wants To Live Forever". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Dune – Who Wants To Live Forever". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  19. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  20. ^ "who wants to live forever | full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2018-11-27.

External links[edit]