Having long-grasped popular culture ever since its release in 1975 as part of the album A Night at the Opera, Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has gone on to become one of the most influential pop songs of all time. A key number at any good karaoke bar, as well as a favourite of all quirky choirs across the world, there is one specific reason that the song still holds such an enduring appeal, with that responsibility unusually lying with the 1992 film Wayne’s World.
An iconic film of ‘90s culture, Wayne’s World started to become endlessly quoted by kids across Western culture thanks to its frenetic attitude and bafflingly silly sense of humour. Starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey alongside Tia Carrere, Rob Lowe, Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper, the 1992 cult classic followed two slackers and music fanatics, Wayne and Garth, who try to promote their public-access cable show.
Reflecting the central characters’ love for rock ‘n’ roll, the film itself is packed full of music references, be it the inclusion of cameos from Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper or the soundtrack that included the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The first song on the film’s official soundtrack is none other than ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, a tune that would be given a new lease of life thanks to the seemingly irrelevant cult comedy.
Although the song feels as attached to the iconography of Wayne’s World as could be, speaking in an interview with Marc Maron, Mike Myers revealed that the track almost did not make the cut for the film with the producers eager to use a different tune entirely. “An example of something I fought very, very hard for and it was my first movie, it was ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in Wayne’s World” Myers stated, adding “they wanted Guns N’ Roses. Guns N’ Roses were very, very popular, they were a fantastic band”.
Whilst the production team preferred a safe bet with Guns N’ Roses, Myers threatened to leave the production unless he got his way and Queen’s song was used for the scene instead. Elaborating on the contentious issue, Myers further explained, “Queen, at that point, not by me and not by hardcore fans, but the public had sort of forgotten about them…I always loved ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, I thought it was a masterpiece. So I fought really, really hard for it”.
As the lead star of the film, the production company could not risk doing the film without Myers’ significant comedy influence, so eventually gave into the stars strict demands. The scene itself, showing Wayne, Garth and the rest of their bandmates banging their heads to Queen’s iconic song has gone on to become one of the most iconic scenes in all of musical cinema, inspiring countless imitations throughout comedy.
The inclusion in the film was beneficial for Queen too, with Wayne’s World helping to kickstart a comeback for the band who had long lost their enduring appeal. Shooting to number two in the US charts more than 15 years after the original release of the song, without the influence of Wayne’s World Queen may have never held onto its current position in the contemporary music zeitgeist.