Revisiting ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ now the most-streamed song of the 20th century

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” one of the songs written and recorded by rock band Queen, has taken the spot as the most-streamed song of the 20th century – even though its frontman Freddie Mercury has been dead since 1991.

Data to support the claim were released by Universal Music Group, Queen’s label. The claim is based on information collected from “across all major streaming services.” The figure for “Bohemian Rhapsody” hit 1.6 billion worldwide. The song also took first place as most-streamed “Classic Rock” song of all time. The song was on the group’s “A Night at the Opera” album, which was released in 1975, and Mercury wrote the song.

Universal released several other facts about the song:

-The track was first released as a single on October 31, 1975
-“Bohemian Rhapsody” was Queen’s first Top 10 hit in the US. In the UK it went to #1 for 9 consecutive weeks, a record at the time.
-“Bohemian Rhapsody” is the only song in history ever to have topped the U.K. charts twice at Christmas.

As the recording label made the announcement, Lucian Grainge, chair and CEO of Universal Music Group, said:

“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 [longtime manager] Jim Beach on an incredible achievement that is a testament to the enduring brilliance of Queen.

Universal credited much of the rise to the release of the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a biography of Freddie Mercury that went into theaters on Nov. 2. Ticket sales have reached $173.7 million domestically and $596.3 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. On the basis of domestic ticket sales, it ranks 14th among all movies released this year.

More: Rami Malek’s immigrant upbringing (and fake teeth) helped him find Queen’s Freddie Mercury

Queen was formed in 1970 and continues to tour, although Mercury is long gone. Its hit songs include “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” Its two-decade run as the original band ended when Mercury died of AIDS. Universal claims the band has sold over 300 million albums.

Queen is not the only band that has had success with “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Universal management says the song has been recorded by Pink, Kanye West, Robbie Williams, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Montserrat Caballe, The Muppets and Elton John & Axl Rose. It took the original version 27 years to get the streaming media crown for songs recorded in the 20th century.


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