Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is no doubt one of the most iconic musical superstars of all time, known for his ethereal stage presence that helped him become known as one of the greatest stadium performers of the industry. A key icon of the 1970s, Mercury remains known as a key figure in late 20th century rock, helping to bring songs such as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘I Want to Break Free’ to the popularity of contemporary culture.
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is the song that still holds the same cultural relevance in contemporary society, with its release as part of the album A Night at the Opera in 1975 making it 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.
The first song on the film’s iconic 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. Used in a memorable scene in which friends Wayne and Garth bang their heads to Queen’s iconic song along with the rest of their bandmates whilst driving down the highway, the moment has gone on to become one of the most iconic scenes in all of musical cinema, inspiring countless imitations throughout comedy.
Passing away in November 1991, a year before the release of the film, it would be assumed that Mercury never had the chance to see the tribute to his song in the Mike Myers film, however, in a brand new interview with the actor at Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival, it appears this is not the case at all.
Taking time out with filmmaker David O. Russell to reflect on some memorable celebrity events he’d had over the years, Myers recalled being at the first screening of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018. Sitting next to Brian May, the lead guitarist of the iconic rock band, at one point in the premiere he turned to Myers and said, “You know, Freddie saw [Wayne’s World] and he loved it’”.
Recalling crying on the spot, Myers added: “I had no idea. I didn’t know he had seen that until then,” with the actor watching the rest of the 2018 film through teary eyes.
Wayne’s World wasn’t the only film that Mercury had a particular fondness for either, with the musician having a love for black and white movies of the past, praising such films for their romanticism and wistful love stories. With an eye for quality cinema, Mercury compiled a list of his all-time favourites, picking out films from the likes of Douglas Sirk, Billy Wilder and Bob Fosse.
One of the least surprising films to make Mercury’s cut was the 1984 movie Purple Rain starring Prince, with the film following the singer as a young musician tormented by an abusive home life who must rise to fame on his own. Peter Freestone, Mercury’s former PA said of the singer’s love of Prince, “If Freddie stayed in during the evenings he would usually ‘veg out’ and watch television… He had one video of Prince, which he forced many people to watch, sometimes over and over again”.
The most recent film to make Mercury’s list was the 1987 fantasy action movie Highlander starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, with Queen also working to bring the film to life with several original songs. Each writing a song of their own, Roger Taylor wrote ‘It’s A Kind Of Magic’, Brian May did ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ and Freddie Mercury topped it all off with ‘Princes Of The Universe’.
Take a look at the trailer for the influential ‘90s comedy, Wayne’s World, below, starring the likes of other musical legends such as Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper.