Forty-four years after the initial release of the groundbreaking ballad/opera/hard rock anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody” was released on Queen’s fourth studio album, A Night at the Opera, the band’s music video for the iconic song reached 1 billion streams on YouTube. The video, now one of the most easily recognizable music videos to date, originally was a promotional video to prevent the band from having to lip sync the notoriously difficult song on shows like Top of the Pops. The success of the song and video helped usher in the popularity of music videos in general, as it became a regular practice to produce a music video to further promote new singles, essentially launching the MTV age.
The “Bohemian Rhapsody” music video is the first pre-1990s music video to surpass 1 billion streams on YouTube. The recent nostalgia for classic rock, as seen in the reaction to biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, may have something to do with the recent developments in the video’s success; even so, the renewed popularity is surely well deserved, as the video’s cultural importance is truly unmatched.
To celebrate this new milestone, bandmates Briam May and Roger Taylor announced a new interactive music video project in which fans can submit their videos to be featured in three brand new music videos for the band’s classic songs, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and “A Kind of Magic.” The new user-generated video project, titled “You Are the Champions,” continues Queen’s reputation as artistic innovators while also paying tribute to generations of dedicated fans all over the world. The final videos will be released later this year.
By Sam Spotswood