Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"It's a Hard Life" by Queen

Song#:  1994
Date:  07/28/1984
Debut:  77
Peak:  72
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Queen's album The Works was a big hit around the world, except for the US. Although it would be certified gold, the LP stalled at #23 (the lowest peak for one of the regular studio albums since 1974) and its first two singles failed to reach the Pop Top 10. This third single's month-long appearance wouldn't turn the tide and it wrapped up the chart singles from the album. Meanwhile, back in the UK the song would be another hit reaching #6. A fourth single, "Hammer to Fall," would also do well getting to #13, but all it could do in the US was a very minor #57 showing at Rock. Queen would sadly continue to have lackluster results after this album, but their British and European fans would keep them at the top of the charts through til the last official Queen album in 1995.

ReduxReview:  This song kind of harks back to the dramatic Queen of yore - you know, the pre-synths hit making days. It even nearly has an ode to "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the instrumental break. It's a lovely rock tune and features another terrific performance by Mercury. He wrote the song and it showed that he definitely still had songwriting chops regardless of the other tunes they were pushing out. Since The Works wasn't finding an audience in the US, this song ended up lost in the shuffle and that's too bad. It deserved a better fate as it's one of their better latter day songs.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Does the initial opening of this song sound familiar? If you dabble in classical music then you may recognize it. The melody Freddie Mercury sings was adopted from the aria "Vesti la guibba," which was a part of the opera Pagliacci. Written in 1892 by Ruggero Leoncavallo, the tenor aria has become one of the most recognizable in music. Superstar singer Enrico Caruso's recordings of the aria certainly made it famous. In more recent times, both Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti have both recorded and performed in the opera.


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