Brian May initially found Queen hit ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ ‘a bit flippant’

·2-min read
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Brian May says he wasn't a fan Queen hit Don’t Stop Me Now at first as he thought Freddie Mercury’s lyrics downplayed the severity of AIDS.

The legendary guitarist admitted to Guitar Player magazine: “I didn't really take to it in the beginning. I didn't feel totally comfortable with what Freddie was singing at the time.”

“I found it a little bit too flippant in view of the dangers of AIDS and stuff.”

However, May, 73, soon changed his mind: “But as time went on, I began to realise that it gave people great joy.”

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“I had to give in. It's a great song - there's no way around it.”

Originally part of the band’s 1978 album Jazz, alongside hits such as Fat Bottomed Girls and Bicycle Race, the iconic track was released as a single a year later. The first cases of AIDS were diagnosed in the early 80s.

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Reminiscing about the instinctive talent of Queen’s front man, May said: “I think that's what Freddie had an amazing knack of doing: he could put his button on things that make people feel a bit more alive.”

Touching on the unfathomable success of the world-renowned hit, he said: 'It's a phenomenon, that song."

British rock group Queen, from left to right, bassist John Deacon, drummer Roger Taylor, singer Freddie Mercury and guitarist Brian May, 1985. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
British rock group Queen, from left to right, bassist John Deacon, drummer Roger Taylor, singer Freddie Mercury and guitarist Brian May, 1985. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

"I've seen it played at all sorts of functions. It's become the most requested song at hen parties and stag parties and marriages and weddings and funerals - just because it brings joy."

May, 73 added: “I don't have any quarrel with it now - I enjoy playing it onstage.”

"It's wonderful that everyone wants to sing it. In singing with us, they express their own joy and their own determination to make the best out of their lives, and to keep on and not get knocked down by things.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 15: Brian May of Queen performs at ANZ Stadium on February 15, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
Brian May of Queen performs at ANZ Stadium on February 15, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Don Arnold/WireImage)

"It's an amazing kind of spiritual lift — that's what the song has become."

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Mercury died in 1991, aged 45, of bronchial pneumonia as a result of contracting AIDS.

Don't Stop Me Now peaked at number 9 in the UK charts but has been popularised again more recently after inclusion in the musical biopic about the band, Bohemian Rhapsody, that now holds the title of highest-grossing musical biopic of all time. 

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