I Want to Break Free (4:18)

Cover of Greatest Hits

From Greatest Hits and 114 other releases

“I Want to Break Free” is a song performed by Queen, which was written by bassist John Deacon. According to the I Want To Break Free Songfacts, he wrote it from the male perspective of the women’s liberation movement. It featured on their 1984 album The Works. In the UK Chart, it peaked at number 3, and remained in the chart for fifteen consecutive weeks from its release in late April 1984. Most of the song follows the traditional 12 bar blues progression in E Major, a rare thing for a Queen song. The synth solo is played by Fred Mandel – live, however, May played it on guitar.

Two differing versions of the song are in circulation. The version on The Works is in fact shorter than the single remix by 61 seconds, because of a fade-in synthesiser introduction and a longer solo in which both the synthesiser and guitar feature separately. This is in contrast to “Hammer to Fall”, a song which was edited down by thirty seconds from the album version to be released as a single. The promotional 45 sent to radio stations by Capitol Records had both versions on either side. However, Queen’s name and the song title were deliberately left off one, so the labels read “Special Single Mix (Queen 4:21)” and “Special Single Mix-Edited (3:59).

The music video, directed by David Mallet, was a parody of the southern British soap opera Coronation Street. During part of the video, the band members dressed in drag, as mildly similar characters found in the soap at the time; Mercury’s character was loosely based on Bet Lynch, while May’s character was based on Hilda Ogden.

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