Queen ‘The Greatest’ YouTube Series Continues with a Look at 1984’s “Radio Ga Ga” (and Its Edgy Music Video)

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

The latest episode of Queen: The Greatest, the English band‘s YouTube series exploring its history, takes a look at “Radio Ga Ga,” the track featured on 1984’s The Works album that attained notoriety — and a bit of infamy — for its music video.

Some of the song’s back story, per a news release:

Inspired by hearing his infant son utter the words ‘radio ka-ka’ to a bad song on the radio, Taylor’s song would go on to provide Queen with one of its biggest hits, reaching No.1. in 19 countries. The song’s success would cement Taylor’s place as one of the band’s primary hit songwriters.

Featured on Queen’s 1984 album, The Works, “Radio Ga Ga” was a perfect example of how the song writing responsibilities within the band had evolved over the first 13 years…

John Deacon: “In the early days, it was Brian and Freddie who really used to write most of the material, but over the last five years, Roger and I have started to contribute more.”

Freddie Mercury: “I think the time has come where we actually, in song writing, we’re actually completely even. Roger will come up with something like “Radio Ga Ga,” and it’s perfect.”

Roger Taylor: “On a Sunday afternoon, my son Felix came in and he’s very young, and he just sort of went ‘ah, Radio Ka Ka’, ‘cos he’s half French. And so, I just thought, ‘that’s quite nice’ you know.

“I sort of put the backing track together and then presented it to Freddie who really loved it.”

The video, though, stirred up a bit of drama:

However, ironically given the songs subject matter, it was the video, directed once again by the brilliant David Mallet that caught the imagination of the MTV generation while at the same time receiving some unexpected backlash.

Roger Taylor: “We had a killer video, which we put a lot of work into. And the whole thing just felt good, and it felt of its time, and it felt a bit different. Felt modern, and it was very fresh.”

Inevitably, some members of the British press wanted a reason to dismiss it, and accused Queen of incorporating Fascist imagery – a notion that Roger found more amusing than annoying…

Roger Taylor: “That was so absurd, I mean it was actually meant to be about the film, you know it was meant to sort of mirror Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis,’ and the oppressed workers and etcetera. And the Nazi thing’s laughable really. People will always find an agenda if they need one. It’s a piece of entertainment, you know, simple as that.”

As for the previous installments in the The Greatest series, here’s a handy YouTube playlist so you can catch up on what you’ve missed thus far.

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