Listen The Queen song Freddie Mercury wrote “in 10 minutes” as a tribute to Elvis Presley

The death of Elvis Presley rocked millions of people all over the globe, including Queen singer Freddie Mercury, who idolised the rock ‘n’ roll trailblazer. For many, Presley was the first musician who captured their imagination vividly, and his spellbinding brand of music besotted Mercury.

Tragically, Presley’s career was cut short in 1977 when he died aged 42. The icon had been struggling with his health for many years, but nobody expected him to pass away so young despite his poor condition. Presley’s death was a reminder that nobody is immortal, and Mercury dealt with his grief by reaching for his notepad.

The result of his rock ‘n’ roll homage was ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, released in 1979, two years after the death of ‘The King’. While the song doesn’t directly mention Presley in the lyrics, Mercury embodies his spirit on the track, and his voice contains an uncanny likeness to his childhood hero.

Although ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ came straight from Mercury’s heart, it wasn’t a song he agonised over creating. During an episode of the podcast Queen The Greatest, Brian May and Roger Taylor reflected on the track’s origin, revealing the frontman penned it in the bath.

May reflected on that chapter of their career and admitted they often arrived at the studio without knowing what they would record. However, on this occasion, Mercury was well prepared, with Taylor recalling: “The first thing we did was ‘Crazy Little Thing…’, and Fred did write the song in the bath in about 10 minutes.”

The guitarist then touched upon the inspiration behind the track, explaining how it was a tribute to Mercury’s heroes: “He was very fond of Elvis, and of Cliff (Richard), I have to say. Yeah, Freddie wrote it very quickly and rushed in and put it down with the boys. By the time I got there, it was almost done.”

He continued: “And I think the sounds that [sound engineer Reinhold] Mack managed to get, these very elemental, very real sounds, ambient sounds in the studio had a big contribution to make. It does sound very authentic, everything about it is sort of like original rock and roll sounding.”

In the book Freddie Mercury: A Life in His Own Words, the Queen frontman acknowledged the similarities between his vocal delivery and Presley, which he claimed was a happy accident. “My voice does sound a bit like Elvis Presley’s on ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’. That wasn’t something I was trying to do, naturally, it was pure coincidence. It’s all sung rather low, so then you soon come close to Elvis, especially with such a 50s-type song,” he said.

“I don’t mind telling you that my girlfriend thought it was a cover song, but that is absolutely not true. I wrote it… while taking a bath,” Mercury added.

Listen below to Mercury’s tribute to Elvis Presley.

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