Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody Meaning
Song Released: 1975
Covered By: Panic! At The Disco (2016), Pentatonix (2017)
Bohemian Rhapsody Lyrics
Is this just fantasy-
Caught in a landslide-
No escape from reality-
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see-
I’m just a poor boy,i need no sympathy-
Because I’m easy come,easy go,
A little high,little...
anonymous Jan 4th, 2007 1:14am report
Wow. I had no idea there were so many interpretations of this song. For me it's always been clear: the song is about an execution. Please bear with me as I construct a detailed argument for this interpretation.
Here's the set-up (all of this is proven later): The narrator has committed murder. He might have done this out of malice, or self-defense, or anything in between; we don't know. The fact is that he killed someone, was caught and sentenced, and is now on Death Row. The man is not an important person, so to speak. He is not famous, nor rich, nor anything of the kind. He has no high-priced lawyers and no "connections" to help him in his plight. The narrator implies that, if he had higher social status, if he had money or fame or whatever, then he would stand a good chance of escaping death. But alas, he is merely a "poor boy" (aka ordinary person), and has no such power. His family and friends are attending the execution (or have otherwise heard about it), and are very distressed. Conversely, the family and friends of the dead man want revenge and they can't wait to see the narrator executed. The song takes place just prior to the execution, and involves the narrator talking to (or perhaps just thinking about) his mother, just before he dies.
If you're still reading, you have my thanks.
Here's the line-by-line analysis:
*We start with the narrator's thoughts:
"Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?"
*The narrator is overwhelmed by the idea that he's going to die. He almost wonders whether this is all a nightmare or something.
"Caught in a landslide, No escape from reality"
Again, he feels overwhelmed, but he can't really deny that he's about to be killed.
"Open your eyes, Look up to the skies and see,"
Looking up to heaven, wondering about life etc.
"I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go, Little high, little low"
Here he is quoting the common perspective: he's just a poor man ("boy"), and he doesn't deserve sympathy. Much of the song is about how no one seems to care for the narrator, even though he seems mournful and regretful for his actions.
"Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me"
Now that he's going to die, nothing more matters. He has no future, no hopes or dreams or goals. He's going to die within the hour, and there's nothing he can do about it. He feels very hopeless, and from his perspective nothing really matters.
"Mama, just killed a man, Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead"
This part is obvious. He committed murder. I don't he's confessing to his mother here, as surely she would already know by the time of the execution. I think that he's really just sadly reflecting on what he's done, and he mentions this to his mother (or perhaps he's just thinking about her)
"Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away"
He was a young man, in his 20s perhaps. He had the chance to live a meaningful life, but instead he killed a man, thus causing his own death via execution. The narrator laments, noting that he could have saved his own life by choosing not to murder. But now the deed is done, and the narrator will face justice.
"Mama, ooh, Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters"
Again he's sorry for his actions, and regrets that his mother now weeps for him, as he will soon be killed. The execution will take place within the hour, so if he's not back again this time tomorrow, it will mean that the execution happened on schedule, that he failed to escape it via pardon or other means. The narrator tells his mother that, even if he dies, she should carry on living, almost as if his death didn't matter to her.
"Too late, my time has come"
The execution is imminent.
"Sends shivers down my spine, body's aching all the time"
These are symptoms of his intense fear.
"Goodbye, ev'rybody, I've got to go"
He says a final farewell to his family and friends.
"Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth"
The truth is that he killed a man, and now he faces strict justice. He will die.
"Mama, ooh, I don't want to die
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all"
This much is obvious. He doesn't want to be killed, and indeed he wonders if it would have been better never to have been born in the first place.
A new voice starts singing; this voice represents his friends and family who are (or have been previously) protesting his execution.
"I see a little silhouetto of a man"
The narrator seems so poor and pitiful, "a shadow of what he once was", so to speak
"Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango"
Honestly, I don't know what this means
"Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very fright'ning me"
Both he and them are afraid that he'll be killed. The "lighting" part might indicate that he's to be killed with the electric chair, or it might just be symbolic.
"(Galileo.) Galileo. (Galileo.) Galileo, Galileo figaro"
Galileo was unfairly persecuted by the authorities of his time. Granted, Galileo didn't commit murder, but the narrator's advocates still draw a parallel, insisting that he doesn't deserve the punishment he's receiving.
"Magnifico. I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me"
The narrator repeats the common belief.
"He's just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity"
His friends and family argue that, because he's a poor boy, he deserves sympathy and compassion, not death.
"Easy come, easy go, will you let me go"
Here the narrator pleads for his life. He basically says "You don't seem to care about me; I'm 'easy come, easy go'. You don't really care if I live or die. So, if you don't really care whether I live or die, can't you just let me live? Can't you grant me a pardon or something?"
Then the opposite group, the friends and family of the dead man (and/or the execution authorities) respond to these pleas.
"Bismillah! No, we will not let you go"
The other group wants the narrator to be executed.
"(Let him go!) Bismillah! We will not let you go
(Let him go!) Bismillah! We will not let you go
(Let me go.) Will not let you go
(Let me go.) Will not let you go. (Let me go.) Ah
No, no, no, no, no, no, no."
The two groups have a spirited argument.
"(Oh mama mia, mama mia.) Mama mia, let me go"
Here the chorus of friends and family says "let me go", but I really think they mean "let him go. Don't kill the narrator"
"Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me"
Beelzebub means Satan. The narrator feels (or speculates) that Satan is out to torment him by leading him to such a sad fate. After all, it was probably a devil that tempted him to commit murder in the first place. Likewise, his family feels Satan is tormenting them as well, by killing the narrator to make them feel sad. Perhaps even the dead man's family joins in on this chorus; they feel that it was Satan who told the narrator to commit murder in the first place, and now they insist that execution is the only holy response to such a sin.
Throughout this, the narrator has been lethargic and morose. But right before the end, he has a sudden burst of passion.
"So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh, baby, can't do this to me, baby
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here!"
I'm not sure if he's talking to anyone specific here, or if he's just ranting with passion, screaming at everyone and everything involved.
As I imagine it, the narrator throws off his guards and fights to escape from his shackles. In the ensuing musical piece, he struggles with the executioners, knocking the room into disarray. The two families watch closely, but everyone knows it's a useless struggle; there's simply no way for the narrator to escape. And the end of the musical piece, he is beaten down and finally subdued. Once again he become morose and dispirited, and the executioners drag him to his place of death (electric chair, perhaps). In his last few moments before death, the narrator resumes his previous state of mind.
"Nothing really matters, Anyone can see
Nothing really matters
Nothing really matters to me"
Again, because he's about to die, nothing really matters to him. He has no purpose, no hope, nothing.
"Any way the wind blows..."
This is an allusion to the begining of the song, where this image was used along with "nothing really matters"
So...yeah. I think that's a pretty thorough interpretation. Bohemian Rhapsody is about a remorseful murderer as he's about to be executed.
Questions? Comments? Did anybody even read all that?
anonymous Dec 27th, 2005 12:11pm report
The song is about of course about murder, and the consequences of your actions. I think Freddie used the five stages of grief for the verses 1. Denial/ Isolation "goodbye everybody-I've got to go" 2. Depression "sometimes wish I'd never been born at all" 3. Bargaining "I'm just a poor boy.. will you let me go?" 4. Anger "so you think you can stone me and spit in my eye.. just gotta get right out of here. and 5. Acceptance "any way the wind blows"
anonymous Jul 19th, 2005 7:11am report
Sorry, but you're all wrong!
Well Freddie Mercury said in an interview that “it's just a bunch of rhyming nonsense” but I think it is about a poor boy killing a man and confessing it to his mother.
The 4 different styles of the song represent what he is going through after the murder. The 1st deals with him being in shock of the crime he just committed, (Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?). The second is when he confesses to his mother, (Mamma, just killed a man) but his mum doesn’t want anything to do with him so he ends up killing himself. The third part is when heaven and hell are fighting over him trying to decide where he will be sent. In the song it states “Bismillah no! We will not let you go”, Bismillah means in the name of Allah which means God so It means in the name of God, no! We will not let you go. He ends up losing and is going to hell (Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me). The fourth part of the song has a heavy metal sound to which I think he is telling them what he thinks of life, hell and everything, (so you think you can stone me and spit in my eye, love me and leave me to die). He asks for a second chance to go to heaven but god rejects him again. So now he loses hope and faith and it goes back to the slow part of the song at the start. Nothing really matters, anyway the wind blows.
Some of the unusual names in the songs actually have meaning believe it or not! “Scaramouch” according to the dictionary it means “a stock character who appears as a boastful coward”. “Fandango” is a Spanish dance done in triple time. “Beelzebub” is one of the many names given to the devil.
the song has nothing to do with him having AIDS the song was written 11 years before he even got AIDS!!
This is only my opinion of the song, no one really knows the real meaning of it only Freddie Mercury will know.
Any way the wind blows!!
The song starts out in this state of confusion, of a man who has killed a man proven by,"Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide no escape from reality
Open your eyes look up to the skies and see.."
Mostly proven by the very first two sets of lyrics because when you do something like a pull a trigger on someone you can only imagine the feelings of amazement and confusion.
Then the song continues into a pleading from the man his mother, wich the turn of events make her cry. He explains the events.
Then he is put on trial where then in the song comes to:
"I see a little silhouette of a man
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening me
Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo,
Gallileo Figaro magnifico
But I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me
He's just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come easy go will you let me go
Bismillah, no we will not let you go, let him go
Bismillah, we will not let you go, let him go
Bismillah, we will not let you go, let me go
Will not let you go, let me go (never)
Never let you go, let me go
Never let me go, ooh
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh mama mia, mama mia, mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
For me, for me"
Where as I imagine it as a plead in the courtroom between the jury and the victims family. The song closes with the sad verses forseeing he is in jail.
anonymous May 16th, 5:39pm report
When you make a mistake that screws up your life.
anonymous May 3rd, 5:20pm report
What makes the most sense to me is that this Is all about the death sentence from AIDS that he has to face. His death is what he is facing. I understood that Bismallah means....As God wills it..... His ‘gun to head killing’refers to the homosexual act whereby he infects another man because of the deadly disease he was carrying. He is now facing the “fantasy” (disbelief) of leaving this life and how he can’t believe it will all end. Everything he’s accomplished in life really doesn’t matter anymore. I could go on but this is the gist of it all.
anonymous Apr 22nd, 4:04am report
Despite what people have said about this being just a man who murders someone, I believe that this song is actually about a soldier coming back home from a war and dealing with PTSD symptoms (hallucinations, tremors, etc). Because of his PTSD, he is debating whether or not to kill himself ("let me/him go" refers to the voices as to whether they should let him go to the afterlife or not), as he sees himself as nothing and that he does not matter because of the atrocities he may have committed/seen as a soldier. I'm not sure how this would be related to any of Freddie Mercury's background or not, but this is just what I interpreted the song to be.
anonymous Apr 12th, 4:27pm report
For me it is so clear that is all about the Fred Mercury epiphany to assume his homossexuality.
The man he killed was the fake of the masculin figure (the mach side) he tried to pretend he was until then. He new his mother would be sad with the public declaration of his homossexual condiction, but he shows that it was not possible to be hidden anylonger.
He had fought against his internal demons and got to the conclusion he couldn’t hold the lie anymore and had to assume it or die.
“Sometimes I wish I haven’t been born at all” is a common phrase you can hear from gays during their conflicts searching for their own identity until they get in peace with their real and natural sexual condiction.
anonymous Apr 8th, 4:15pm report
I think my interpretation is a little bit different, and who knows if it's right!
I think that this song is about a guy who kills someone. I think that the man is younger, because he says how his life had just begun, and now he's thrown it away. I think that he goes on the run, from either the law or something else. I think after he's been on the run for awhile he gets tired of it, and he turns himself in. The line says "Gotta leave you all behind a face the truth".
Then I think that he goes on death row, because he says he doesn't want to die. The silhouette of a man could be someone coming to get him for the execution. Thunder bolts and lightning could be the electric chair. Then I think that all the nonsense is him imagining what the afterlife is going to be like, whether he goes to heaven or hell. I think that he thinks he will go to hell because of the line about Beezlebub, who is the devil. I think that the reason he keeps saying 'Mama' is because he is writing a letter or something to his mother, telling her to forgot about him and the bad things he's done and to move on. I assume that he is also going a little crazy because he is like screaming and saying he needs to get out, and then it gets quieter and says nothing matters.
anonymous Apr 8th, 4:07am report
I love most of the suggestions and I agree with most.
but my interpretation of this song is a man who has killed someone and he is descending into madness as he cannot believe what he has done so that why as the song progresses the tone gets more upbeat and as his mind is trying to comprehend what he has done. the song gets more upbeat because it starts off slow as he is fairly sure that it's not real "is this the real life or is this just fantasy" he is questioning himself and when he realises that he has killed this man he can't believe it and tells someone to clear things up which sends him to prison on death row which leads up to him spiralling down and down, and at the end of the song he is finally put to death hence "a devil put aside for me" as he has gone to hell to face his demons.
(I understand that ppl might not agree with this but this is how I feel about the song)
anonymous Oct 26th, 2017 10:11pm report
The meaning that was told was that a boy killed someone, and is telling his mother, but the hidden meaning is actually Freddie fantasising about what his life would have been like if he had come out. "Mama, just killed a man" He is killing his straight self, "Didn't mean to make you cry" his family is homophobic, "I see a little silhouetto of a man" this is his gay self haunting him.
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