Thursday, May 16, 2019

"A Kind of Magic" by Queen

Song#:  2770
Date:  06/21/1986
Debut:  85
Peak:  42
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Following their well-received performance at Live Aid in 1985, the band returned to the chart with "One Vision," a song that would later be featured in the film Iron Eagle. It wouldn't be a major hit in the US, but elsewhere it did well including a #7 showing in the UK. As they began to gather ideas for their next album, the band was offered the opportunity to write songs for the upcoming fantasy-adventure film Highlander. They wrote several tracks for the movie and expectations were that they would appear on a soundtrack album. However, that LP never materialized and so the band decided to include the songs they wrote for the film in their next album A Kind of Magic. The disc would contain six songs from Highlander, two new tracks, and their previous single "One Vision." To make the album more commercial friendly, some of the track were spruced up from their film versions including this title-track single. Once again, the song would reach the Top 10 in many European countries including #3 in the UK, but in the US it stopped shy of the Top 40. The album would reach #46, which was their lowest showing since 1974. Despite not performing well, the album would continue to sell copies over the years and later in 2002 it would reach gold certification.

ReduxReview:  I've always liked this song and I even bought the single back in the day. The verse is quite strong and I like how Freddie Mercury sells it all. The problem with it being a single is that there isn't an actual hooky chorus. It just kind of cruises along with the song title being repeated in the background. This didn't prevent it from being a hit in other countries, but it just wasn't going to work for the US market who were used to ear wormy tunes with memorable choruses. While it doesn't rank among their best songs, I still think it's a nice listen.

ReduxRating:  7/10

TriviaHighlander was the first major film directed by Russell Mulcahy. Mulcahy had made a name for himself as a music video director helming popular videos by Duran Duran, Elton John, Kim Carnes, Culture Club, The Tubes, Bonnie Tyler, and many others. The film starred Christopher Lambert and featured Sean Connery. The original story came from a UCLA undergrad named Gregory Widen who wrote the script for a class project. It was critically panned and initially didn't do well at the box office failing to make back its budget. However, the film got a second life via home video and became a cult favorite. This led to a sequel in 1991 with four more that followed. It also spawned a TV series that lasted six seasons, a spin-off series, an animated series, two animated films, video games, books, and comics. Not bad for film that was originally written as a college assignment and failed at the box office. Widen would go on to write a film that became a hit in 1991 - Ron Howard's Backdraft. Widen based it on his experiences as a firefighter, which he did as a job during his college years. Backdraft would be a big hit that earned three Oscar nods in the technical categories.


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