I recently blogged about Magic Johnson’s announcement thirty years ago that he had contracted HIV. I was a junior in high school, and by the end of the day I’d heard my first Magic AIDS joke. Shockingly, even though Freddie Mercury passed shortly thereafter, I never heard an AIDS joke made at his expense. Which is surprising, considering that I lived in a conservative-leaning small town in Virginia that I was born in at the time.
This sounds stupid, I know, but I really think Wayne’s World had a lot to do with that. “Bohemian Rhapsody” was the featured song in that movie, and the tearjerking music video really hit us Gen X’ers in the gut. My brother, two years older, was more into Queen at the time than I was. But that song struck a chord. I think everyone my age had an older relative that was a fan of Queen, and a new generation of fans were born just after Freddie died, thanks to Michael Myers.
See, the studio apparently wanted a Guns ’N Roses banger to be the signature track of the movie. Myers threatened to walk if they didn’t go with Queen, and though it’s a small footnote in the history of Queen’s storied career, it’s notable to anybody that falls in my age range and walked around with torn jeans at the knee. And whoever edited together the footage from Wayne’s World into the accompanying music video must have been as big of a fan as Myers was. The original music video, which features the band members in that infamous diamond shaped, shadowy battle stance, is credited for beginning a new era in how music is still be promoted today: through visuals.
And Freddie Mercury, to this day, is certainly a sight to behold. Majestic, playful, connected to every audience that had the opportunity to see him perform. Interest in his life has never really waned, and just like with Wayne’s World, yet another crop of fans emerged from the 2018 biopic about Freddie’s life... entitled, what else?
Wayne’s World is just one small footnote in Queen’s history. But it is certainly notable. In making sure that these dates lined up with my memory of events from high school, I came upon something that made me smile. Even though Wayne’s World was released four months after Freddie’s passing, he did get a chance to see the scene in which his song was further immortalized. The scene features Wayne and Garth driving with their buddies in the backseat of their small shitty car. The guys are all just jamming the fuck out to Bohemian Rhapsody. Though fictional, that scene certainly played out in real life. And according to Queen guitarist, Brian May, Freddie loved the scene, laughing his ass off during what was probably a very difficult time in his life.
I’m thankful for all of the stars that alligned to make Freddie Mercury possible. To give him the paths and the people necessary for him to share his talent with us. Something that, despite his death, he has never stopped doing.