Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody Meaning
Song Released: 1975
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!!
anonymous May 14th, 5:45pm report
I think it is safe to say that Bohemian Rhapsody is about Freddie Mercury's coming out on being a homosexual. Even though the lyrics may sound that he is speaking about dying (having contracted AIDS) let's not forget that Mercury had not been diagnosed with AIDS until April 1987, twelve years after he even wrote the song. Any way we want to interpret the lyrics, it will go down in history as one of the most iconic songs that will be loved by generations to come.
Michelle Shaffer Nov 26th, 2015 11:52am report
Farrokh.. Freddy's birth name.
These lyrics signify Freddy knew of his impending death, many yrs after Sprit spoke thru him to write this song. Years BEFORE he knew he had and was diagnosed with Aids.
Freddy prophesized his own death.
First part of lyrics.He questions reality. Which we know now, to all be an illusion on a quantum physics level.To look up and there you will find the Truth. God.
Freddy apologizes to his Mother. If you watch his biography of his untold Story on Youtube. I just watched it... he speaks of the guilt he had when accused as a young boy of starting a fight at the school he was sent to as a young boy. He was sent there to have a better education, then the one afforded him in the poor town of Zanzibar where he was born.
Freddy Mercury was a Lightworker. His music touched millions of souls. Left people feeling depth, deep inside their souls.
He wrote the lyrics to this song, never having a stitch of classical teachings.
Anyway the wind blows, signifies ashes to ashes and dust to dust... This is what we all on a material plane end up as.
He also references his ailing health, in the lyrics of the pain he feels in his bones.
My believe and knowing is Farrokh was a prophet.. Aids took him before his time.. But HIS LIGHT shines on in his music.
anonymous Oct 5th, 2015 10:52pm report
I just want to add to the other articles that magnifico in Spanish means "great" such as the part"magnifico I'm just a poor boy,nobody loves me" refering great I just killed a man nobody cares that I will be executed and I don't have the ability to change that
anonymous Sep 1st, 2015 9:42pm report
The first part is talking about when the man makes a deal with the devil to make his pain go away scince he came from an abusive father, making him very close to his mother which is why he writes a letter to her explaining a bad deed he has done and how he is running, he then gets caught by the gang of the guy he shot and us killed (represented by the guitar solo) he is then sent to judgement where he tries to get out of his contract,the angels plea to the devil to let the poor boy go and then fail. He is sent to hell where the devil yells at him (so you think you can stone me and support in my eye) then he punishes him by sending him to the worst pissible punishment, the darke lonleyness of his mind.
Wait im not done,this is all actually just a big metaphor for his bisexuality and each part represents one of the struggles he has being a bi.
anonymous Jan 16th, 2015 1:28pm report
For Freddie Mercury, this is about killing part of himself. The part that was "masculine" from his birth. He decides to assume he was gay, but not for everyone, it was the '70es; he assumed for himself, in fact, and for Mary Austin and some closer friends. The one who was killed was the "masculine Freddie". The rest is lyrics, to fit in the music's metric and in the rhymes. And a lot of nonsense, it was a trademark in Freddie's lyrics. That's all.
anonymous Nov 3rd, 2014 11:19am report
I think its about a young guy that sleeps around a lot and finds out that he has aids. im guessing he had a not so good childhood and was raised by a single mother. so hes telling his mother goodbye because he probably took some pills (or something of the sort) or is about to, and its too late for her to try and save him or change his mind. he then starts to feel the effects and becomes scared of death. he blacks out and starts hallucinating. while someone(s) trying to revive him, he then has the decision of whether he wants to stay alive or die. he decides to die but is revived. he becomes angry that they brought him back just so he can wait to die again and ends up trying to kill himself again and succeeds. that's how I visualized it when I read the lyrics.
anonymous Oct 20th, 2014 10:40pm report
Vanity of vanity all is vanity
anonymous Sep 8th, 2014 9:36am report
Personally i think this song is about Freddie Mercurys struggles with being gay and how someone in a similiar situation may contemplate suicide.
anonymous Aug 5th, 2014 8:49am report
About his life, things he sometimes wrote about. Just popped in his head.
anonymous Jul 14th, 2014 7:52am report
My way of seeing it is that he was inlove and she left him for someone else.
He killed the other man, and then gets people put on to him to kill him.
The thunderbolt of lightning is someone shooting a gun.
In the end, he kills the people that try to kill him and he realised he can no longer see his mother because hd is now a fugitive. So he may as well give up on life. And nothing bothers him because of everything he had been through. The "Galileo" and "Beelezbos" part would be him realising the demons he has inside of him or that they are like demons trying to fight him. And the "poor boy" is them mocking him because he wants to live and doesn't want them to kill him.
Sorry it's not well written but it's late and I'm freezing.
anonymous Jul 3rd, 2014 7:24pm report
This son could be about what every one is saying but originally thought that the mama just killed a man was not literal. I could be over thinking it but I think the song is not meant to be taken literally
anonymous May 30th, 2014 5:52am report
I agree with the number one rated interpretation, except this part. "Momma, just killed man, put a gun against his head,pulled my trigger, now he's dead." Essentially means his mom killed the guy, and used his gun (PULLED MY TRIGGER). So he is now taking the fall for a murder he didn't commit.
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