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Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Is the Biggest Hit of the 20th Century


The tune has become the most-streamed song of the century, buoyed by the popularity of the new Queen biopic.

"Bohemian Rhapsody," Queen's hit 1975 single that gave its name to the 2018 biopic about Freddie Mercury and the band, is now a hit again, becoming the most-streamed song from the 20th century.

The original recording, from the album A Night at the Opera, and its official music video have been streamed more than 1.6 billion times worldwide across all major streaming services, according to Universal Music Group, which handles Queen's catalog outside North America.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" surpassed tunes including Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Guns N'Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine," and A-ha's "Take on Me" to win the number 1 spot. It is also the most-streamed classic rock song ever. Its popularity has been boosted by the film, which stars Rami Malek as Mercury, the bisexual Queen front man. The movie has become the highest-grossing music biopic of all time.

"So the River of Rock Music has metamorphosed into streams!" Queen guitarist and founding member Brian May said in a UMG press release. "Very happy that our music is still flowing to the max!"

Added Sir Lucian Grainge, UMG's chairman and CEO: "'Bohemian Rhapsody' is one the greatest songs by one of the greatest bands in history. We are so proud to represent Queen and are thrilled to see the song still inspiring new fans around the world more than four decades after its release. My congratulations to Queen and Jim Beach [the band's manager] on an incredible achievement that is a testament to the enduring brilliance of Queen."

The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004, and Rolling Stone readers named Mercury's performance of it the best vocal in rock history. The video for it is considered the first promotional music video ever. It was a chart hit in the U.K., the U.S., and elsewhere. It has been covered by a variety of artists, including Pink, Kanye West, Robbie Williams, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Montserrat Caballe, the Muppets, and Elton John and Axl Rose, in a duet. It was also memorably featured in the 1992 comedy film Wayne's World.

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