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!!
anonymous Nov 14th, 19:06 report
I am amused by the confusion here. This is about fighting his own homosexuality. Clinging to the straight side of himself, that made him bi-sexual (any way the wind blows).
Killing the "man" as society at that time defined a man -- as a heterosexual. Being afraid of his own instincts.
~Very, very frightening me.~
~Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth~
~Spare him his life from this monstrosity~
Pleading with the male chorus to be let go and in the end saying don't let me go:
~Let me go...Never let you go ..finally:(Never, never, never, never let me go)
~Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me.~
Then he finally becomes defiant, and reaches acceptance...
Freddie was telling his family, his world who he was. It was his coming out - it was his acceptance in the end of who he was and that it was okay - it was what it was. So easy in retrospect to understand the lyrics now - no fair, so sorry Freddie. You put us face to face with our own realities. This is perhaps one of the most brilliant pieces of music to come from the rock era or any era for that matter.
anonymous Nov 8th, 11:21pm report
The song Bohemian Rhapsody was published in 1975. It has nothing to do with AIDS. The AIDS epidemic started in 1980 or 1981.
anonymous Nov 3rd, 11:40pm report
While I have read a few posted interpretations of this song, I have not read all of them so I don't know if my interpretation will be different than those I have not read.
I really love this song and have always loved it. The mix is really genius I think. But not until now, I've never tried to interpret it. However, as I listen to it now I will try.
When I first heard this song, the fear of AIDS was very high and it was a greater than 50% chance that if you contracted HIV you were sure to get AIDS and die. Therefore this is a song about a young man who contracted the disease and the reality of the dreaded disease is setting in on him. He struggles with, is this real, or is it just a fantasy? I think that It's not so much that he has killed a man, no, he is the man whom he has killed. And even though he is still alive, it was he as if placing a gun to his his own head and pulling (as he says) "his" trigger which underscores his self destruction. He has lived a life in rebellion against his mama's desires, and now he has gone and thrown his young life away in his rebellion. He is close to his mama and he has told her about his sickness, seeking no sympathy. She has cried over and over again as she has visited him in the hospital. He tells his mama he is sorry for her pain and as he has not been given tomorrow to live, he tells her not to grieve but go on and live, forget about him.
As the disease has progressed to AIDS, pain racks his body and the progression of the disease pretty much seals his fate. It seems that he was hoping somehow there was going to be a cure for him but that is not going to happen and he knows it. Is this real or is this a dream, he fights against his ultimate fate which is certain death, he cannot escape the truth. He feels sorry for himself and as he continues his push back with life and death these different bouts of reality are playing over and over in his head. He is poor and cannot afford the treatments, nor can his mama and he thinks that no one cares now anyway as he is mocked by people in his circle. He thinks about the betrayal of what or whom he was involved with and loved, be it a needle or a sexual relationship with a human (Both the transmission of the disease and especially by needles as Heroin addiction was very high, and dirty needles were deeply associated with the spread of HIV which progressed to AIDS).
As he lay on his death bed straining to live, he realizes that it is too late to think about what if, or who is really to blame. He for a time refuses to accept his fate, as he says no to his once deadly life style - he declares that it is not going to drag him into the place where he is, deaths door and just leave him to die, he cries out loud you cannot do this to me get out of me this sickness and disease!
Ultimately he accepts the fact that he is going to die and pass on into his eternal resting place. The spirit (the wind) blows upon his pain suffering, emaciated body. Will it be heaven or hell with Beelzebub, there is no escape, death will not let him go? He recons to himself that because he is truly guilty for the ruin of his life; his soul whether to heaven or to hell he is such a small factor in it all and nothing really matters anymore no matter how he feels about it. The fact is that he is going to die and he has accepted his fate which ever one comes first, or which ever way the wind blows, either heaven or hell, it matters not; his departure is certain and he dies.
kooljohn176 Nov 3rd, 11:17pm report
One great and sad ''rock opera'' songs about a poor boy who didn't mean much to anybody,except to his mom and god. In this world by which this poor boy's mind was captured and indoctrinated with the Gallileonian cult ideology that progressively let him down in those[these] modern times of Helliocentrick theories and ideas that wouldn't let go of him. By spinning and pushing his fragile mind to the point of finally killing a man, then this poor boy's soul was being pulled apart and pleading to god for help and redemption from this devilish world made of lies and chaos that he was caught and spun with, further away from the love of god.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Oct 26th, 10:03am report
Freddie found out he had aids and was going to die eventually. He was bisexual. And he eventually died of pneumonia due to complications from aids.
The song is in the form of a tragic opera to tell the story of his realization that he will die. The entire song is about his realization that he got the disease that he knew existed but still took the risks and ended up infected and ruined his life and would die. He is the man he killed. And therefore, having been at the top he is now at the bottom facing his reality and that it appears life has no meaning and nothing “really matters” because in the end, we all die.
It's a song about consequence. In this case the dark one of murder.
Starting off scared and helpless
"Mama just killed a man"
"I don't wanna die, sometimes wish I'd never been born at all"
Then the crowding voices of conflicting ideas of forgiveness after it all, pleading for forgiveness.
"easy come easy go will you let me go"
"no we will not let him go, let him go"
Then him explaining his reasons for it all
"So you think you can just stop me and spit in my eye"
Then accepting what he did and facing the consequences
"Anyway the wind blows"
anonymous Sep 13th, 9:10pm report
there is a man thinking of ending it all due to social and physical pain. look at these lyrics closely
"Mama, life has just begun, but now ive gotta throw it all away..."
"I dont wanna die, i sometimes wish id never been born at all"
sound strange? yeah. sounds like a guy in need of mental support
anonymous Jul 28th, 7:31pm report
For me this sad story song's meaning is about the 'tragic outcome' that was rooted and manifested in the mind of this poor boy's sinful nature that was caught in the irresponsibility of the perverted revolutionary leftist evil indoctrination. Which had a big impact on the mind of the boy, who sadly became driven to hate and kill the other, like a brainwashed terrorist would do. Instead of being educated the right way to empower his individuality from within his god given soul. In order to know how to resist the temptations of the devil and his revolutionary leftist evil ideology that was invading and controlling the boy's fragile mind. Which eventually was shattered into chaos and nihilism that led to the death of a man and the wrath of god that came down upon the poor boy's mind metaphorically as ''thunderbolt and lightning''.
anonymous Jul 26th, 7:04am report
I think this song is a lot simpler, its about a boy who kills himself and his spirit goes to heaven and there is a split between letting him in or send him to hell, its in first person narrating what happened after he killed himself.
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, 2018 5:39pm report
When you make a mistake that screws up your life.
anonymous May 3rd, 2018 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, 2018 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.
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