Catching up on forty years. 1976: Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen


What a scorcher!

Whenever people like me rant on to about how we don’t have summers like we used to have, you can be sure that the compass point from which we’re navigating is the summer of ’76.  It was the coming together of greater independence for me, moving bang in to the middle of the Kent countryside.  Eternal games of pooh sticks in babbling brooks (well, they would have been babbling if they hadn’t all bleeding dried up), apple scrumping maggot-ridden apples, racing go karts made from old pram wheels.  That summer had it all.

Well, not quite.

Excepting our Swedish cousins, what else did that summer bring us music-wise? Brotherhood of Man? Showaddywaddy? The Wurzels?  Dennis Roussos? Sailor? Disco Duck?  The introduction of panpipes music to the UK?  I’d like to say I was being a little unfair but looking back we did forgive a lot that summer as we immersed ourselves in wall-to-wall barbecues, clearly blanking out the music and creating a benchmark for all future summers.

Which is why I go back to the deepest winter of 75/76 when Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody ruled the airwaves, one of my earliest memories of getting down to music while driving in a car.

A Sunday car journey on a dark winter’s evening. It’s the chart countdown which was. of course, totally unmissable listening for an 11 year old boy. We’re in the car with my dad and we’re turning in to the steep hill at the bottom of the Waterhall Golf Club outside Brighton. He always used to quip about leaving a trail of exhaust as he floored the accelerator and roared up the steep hill full throttle. But this time he didn’t crack that one, as we were listening to the new number one.

We jacked up the volume. We weren’t going to listen to the car’s roar this time. I felt so grown-up. I was in the front seat and my dad and I were enjoying the same song, bawling out our, admittedly flat, accompaniment. We’d got to my favourite bit

“I see a little silhouetto of a man,
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango”

Oh, go on…here’s THAT video again.

If you don’t like Queen, you can always have Dancing Queen.  I’ll give you that.