The music of Queen (formerly, briefly known as Smile) is timeless , with hits spanning over four decades that reach audiences of all ages and demographics. Now, as reported by Billboard, Universal has named Queen‘s “Bohemian Rhapsody” the most-streamed song of the 20th century, with approximately 1.6 billion global streams. The song overtook Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, Guns ‘N’ Roses’ “November Rain” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and A-ha’s “Take On Me” to win the title.
This news comes only one month after the music charter announced that “Bohemian Rhapsody” had entered the Billboard Hot 100 for a rare third time, joining Prince’s “1999.” How did the iconic rock band manage to achieve all of this? Aside from the musicianship and talent from Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor, and bassist John Deacon, Queen has had its signal boosted a number of times thanks to films that have had their own impact on the zeitgeist. The most recent example of this is the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody; after its debut on November 2, the film became a worldwide hit, garnering over $164 million at the domestic box office and $539 million at the global box office—which may explain the song’s resurgence on the charts.
Another, earlier rise in streams can be attributed to Penelope Spheeris’ Wayne’s World (1992). Based on the Saturday Night Live skit, in one of the film’s most iconic moments, Wayne, Garth, and company head bang to “Bohemian Rhapsody” while driving around town. The guys get lost in the song’s swells and guitar riffs, and it just makes for a fun viewing experience. Initially, back in 1976, “Bohemian Rhapsody” hit the Billboard charts at No. 9. But after the premiere of Wayne’s World in 1992, the song received a bump, and was propelled to No. 2.
After 48 years and the death of frontman Freddie Mercury, Queen is far from out of the music scene. The band has been touring with Adam Lambert (of American Idol fame) since 2011, and recently announced its Queen + Adam Lambert 2019 Tour.