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bohemian rhapsody

Pop Culture

A stadium of people launched into an incredible, spontaneous 'Bohemian Rhapsody' sing-along

"For almost 6 minutes, the equivalent of a small city sang, with one voice, the beautiful song of a man who has been dead for decades. If you can do this, you're not just a famous person, you're a legend."

When polarization starts to feel like a defining characteristic of humanity, sometimes we need a reminder that people really are capable of coming together as one.

Watching a stadium full of Green Day concertgoers bust out their best "Bohemian Rhapsody" when it came over the loudspeakers is just such a reminder.

As the person who uploaded the concert footage to Reddit noted: "For almost 6 minutes, the equivalent of a small city sang, with one voice, the beautiful song of a man who has been dead for decades. If you can do this, you're not just a famous person, you're a legend."


What could be more palette-cleansing than hearing thousands of people breaking into song together for an entire six minutes? What's more unifying than a piece of music being so beloved and well-known that a whole stadium knows every note and word and sings it in unison with all their heart?

via GIPHY

As one commenter on Reddit wrote, "Ever notice how one crowd singing together always sound the same as other crowds, as in has the same tambre [sic] and sound quality? It's like the recognizable and familiar voice of humanity. Regardless of how different the people in the crowd are, the crowd always sounds the same. I think the idea that we are listening to humanity's voice when hearing a crowd sing is a beautiful concept."

Listen to the voice of humanity. It's truly a beautiful thing.

This article originally appeared on 03.03.20



Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody has been covered dozens of different ways. But you've never seen it performed like this.

As one of the most iconic songs in rock music, Bohemian Rhapsody is recognizable no matter how it's done. As children, my brother and I used to belt out Galileos and Figaros in the backseat of our parents' Volkswagon whenever the song came on (yes, just like in Wayne's World). While other kids learned about Beelzebub in Sunday School, I learned about him from Queen's perfect harmonies. If there were an anthem from my classic rock-filled childhood, it would be Bohemian Rhapsody.

It's one of those songs that is hard to cover well, though it hasn't stopped people from trying. I've enjoyed some renditions, but nothing has caught my attention or delight more than this kapa haka version from New Zealand.


A Māori choir in native garb sang the song live in the Māori language, and it is something to see.

The group Hātea Kapa Haka performed the song on February 21 at New Zealand's national kapa haka festival, Te Matatini, in Wellington. The festival brings 46 kapa haka (Māori performing arts) groups together to compete against one another.

Newshub reports that Hātea Kapa Haka collaborated with musical artist William Waiirua to create a "Bohemian Rhapsody" cover in the Māori language, both as a tribute to Freddie Mercury and to celebrate the Oscar-nominated movie about his life.

The group had previously created a music video for their cover, but seeing it performed live is something else. The voices, the harmony, the presentation—everything—is wonderful.

This kind of cultural mashup reminds us how small our world has become.

The contrast between Queen's 1970s British rock and the Māori people's traditional kapa haka could not be more striking. And yet, the melding of the two totally works. Music has the power to bring people together, and this performance is a great example of how it can bridge cultures with beautiful results.

Watch the live performance here:

And if you want more, check out the music video too:

William Waiirua got more help from Hātea Kapa Haka than he bargained for when his car broke down... For more Queen, check out this playlist: https://umusicNZ...


This article originally appeared on 03.01.19

Queen in 1977, the year before their "Jazz" album featuring "Fat Bottomed Girls" was released

A new version of Queen's Greatest Hits has been released on Yoto, an audio streaming platform for children. The album includes favorites like "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Another One Bites the Dust," "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You," but this release is missing one notable tune—"Fat Bottomed Girls."

The exclusion prompted a wave of speculation about why it wouldn't be included, which in turn prompted debate over whether the song is offensive and outdated or an inspiring ode to larger body types. One of the most common guesses for why they may have decided not to include it on a platform aimed at young children is this line:

“But I knew life before I left the nursery/ Left alone with big fat Fanny/ She was such a naughty nanny/ Hey, big woman, you made a bad boy out of me.”


A celebration of larger-bodied women? Sure. A reference that could be interpreted as a young boy being molested by his nanny? Maybe not so appropriate for a young audience.

(It's worth noting here that the lyrics of some songs that were not cut from the album include, "I'm a sex machine ready to reload" and Yoto does include the following disclaimer, which only mentions references to violence and drugs, not sex:

NOTE: Please note that the lyrics in some of these songs contain adult themes, including occasional references to violence and drugs. These are the original and unedited recordings. Whilst no swear words are used parental discretion is advised when playing this content to or around younger children.)

It appears the primary reaction to the song's exclusion spawned from complaints over political correctness—"woke cancel culture" as a writer for the U.K.'s Daily Mail referred to it—which has triggered a weird situation where online culture warriors can't seem to figure out what side they're arguing for.

Oddly, the same people who keep referring to LGBTQ people as "groomers" and "pedos" seem to be defending a song sung by a famous LGBTQ icon with lyrics that point to a sexualized relationship between a child and his nanny, simply because someone called the song's removal a "woke" move. And on the flip side, the same people who decry removing sexual material from the children's section of libraries seem to be defending the removal of this song from a child's audio platform for its adult-oriented theme and lyrics simply because the anti-woke crowd is complaining about it.

It's all just a little silly, really.

Popular music has long been a battleground for debates over what's appropriate or not for kids to be exposed to, and there are countless songs we could point to for lyrics that would be disturbing coming out of a child's mouth. I imagine few people would argue that nothing is off limits for children to hear or sing along to, but where does the line get drawn?

My parents were big Queen fans and I recall having "Fat Bottomed Girls" blaring on the stereo when I was a child. Musically, it's a great song—very catchy. And as a girl whose body did not align with the flat-bottomed models of the 1980s, I appreciated what felt like a personal shout-out. My fat bottom actually made the rockin' world go 'round? Sweet. (This was over a decade before "Baby Got Back" and the only time I recall a large butt being portrayed in a positive light in popular culture.)

On the other hand, some of the lyrics are definitely questionable for a child to be belting out, so I can see why it might not be included on an album specifically released for kids. However, the same could be said for some other song lyrics on the album, so why remove this one and not those?

To be fair, the reason why "Fat Bottomed Girls" wasn't included on Yoto's release of the Greatest Hits album is just speculation at this point. But it did get people talking about what's appropriate for kids and highlights the challenge of determining what should be included or excluded from platforms specifically aimed at children, and that's always a worthy discussion to have.