Home Entertainment Freddie Mercury: The two Queen music videos banned by 'very narrow-minded' MTV

Freddie Mercury: The two Queen music videos banned by 'very narrow-minded' MTV

Queen made some incredible music videos over the decades, but did you know that two of them were deemed so controversial that they were banned from airing on MTV?

In 1982, the band’s Body Language video – which was released 42 years ago this week – became the first ever to be censored from the cable channel.

Its erotic bathhouse scenes were considered unsuitable for audiences at the time, but the track still went on to become Queen’s fifth-biggest US hit single. In fact, the song outperformed Radio Ga Ga and Somebody to Love across the pond.

Then, two years later, MTV banned Queen’s famous I Want To Break Free music video, with Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon dressed in drag as Coronation Street characters.

But this time the ban saw the single stall just outside of the US Top 50 and Queen drummer Roger was far from happy.

In an unearthed interview from an episode of Queen the Greatest, Roger said: “Well MTV were very narrow-minded. It was Whitesnake, and ****ing Whitesnake, and then another Whitesnake track. And they decided they didn’t think that men in drag was ‘rock enough’ I guess, and so they didn’t play the video.”

Archive footage of Freddie Mercury talking about making Queen music videos for the likes of MTV also featured. The singer said: “Well things have come a long way, of course, they’re becoming film budgets aren’t they? And the technique and everything is, sort of, improved vastly, so, I mean, you can come up with all kinds of things.”

Freddie continued: “I remember that in Bohemian Rhapsody we wanted these multiple images, and at that time the only way we could only get it was to use a prism. And then we wanted a sort of jagged effect and we had to shake the cameras, somebody had to kick it.”

The Queen singer said how technology had advanced so much that it all just worked automatically. He added: “It’s beyond me as well, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”


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