Back in 1984, Roger Taylor wrote a No 1 hit for Queen in Radio Ga Ga, which featured on the band’s album The Works. The catchy song is the subject of this week’s episode of Queen the Greatest. And while the track and its music video were much loved, it also experienced some backlash in the press.
In archive footage, John Deacon shared: “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.”
While Freddie Mercury said: “I think the time has come where we actually, in songwriting, we’re actually completely even.
“Roger will come up with something like Radio Ga Ga, and it’s perfect.”
The Queen drummer was inspired to write the song one Sunday afternoon when his very young son Felix came in to see him.
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Roger remembered: “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.”
Radio Ga Ga shot up the charts and Queen got to work on their music video for the MTV generation inspired by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
The drummer said: “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.”
Brian May said: “One of [music video director] David Mallet’s great contributions, of course, is when the chorus comes you get a hand clap.
“It was repeated electronically, on the record, and so it sounds like a double handclap. And Mallet kind of seized upon it and made it a double handclap done by the audience, and it became something so….
“Well, I think it became one of the first great proofs of the power of television. The first time we played this, to a non-Queen audience at Live Aid, everybody knew what to do at that point, which is astonishing really, so it has to be the power of the video.”
Next week’s episode of Queen the Greatest will look back at Freddie Mercury’s Ay-Oh.