Behind the Hit

 
Updated April 10

The following features interesting facts and stories behind classic singles from the past. Songs are chosen arbitrarily.

 

Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen (1980)

UK Charts - #2 .. U.S. Charts - #1

 

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" is a song by the British rock band Queen. Written by Freddie Mercury in 1979, the track is featured on their 1980 album The Game, and also appears on the band's compilation album, Greatest Hits in 1981. The song peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart in 1979, and became the group's first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US in 1980, remaining there for four consecutive weeks. It topped the Australian ARIA Charts for seven weeks.

 

single

Having composed "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" on guitar, Mercury played rhythm guitar while performing the song live, which was the first time he played guitar in concert with Queen. Queen played the song live between 1979 and 1986, and a live performance of the song is recorded on the albums Queen Rock Montreal, Queen on Fire - Live at the Bowl , Live at Wembley '86 and Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest '. Since its release, the song has been covered by a number of artists. The style of the song was described by author Karl Coryat as rockabilly in his 1999 book titled The Bass Player Book.

'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' took me five or ten minutes. I did that on the guitar, which I can't play for nuts, and in one way it was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords. It's a good discipline because I simply had to write within a small framework. I couldn't work through too many chords and because of that restriction I wrote a good song, I think.

-- Freddie Mercury

The song was written by Mercury as a tribute to Elvis Presley. Roger Taylor added in an interview that Mercury wrote it in just 10 minutes while lounging in a bath in the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich during one of their extensive Munich recording sessions. Mercury took it to the studio shortly after writing it and presented it to Taylor and John Deacon. The three of them, with their then new producer Reinhold Mack, recorded it at Musicland Studios in Munich. The entire song was reportedly recorded in less than half an hour (although Mack says it was six hours).

 

Elvis Presley

The music video for the song was filmed at Trillion Studios in September 1979 and directed by Dennis De Vallance featuring four dancers and a floor of hands. An alternate version featuring alternate angles, out-takes and backstage footage from the original video shoot was included on the Days Of Our Lives DVD and Blu-ray releases.

 

music video

The "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" single hit number two on the UK Singles Chart in 1979, and became the first US number-one hit for the band, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. It was knocked out of the top spot on this chart by Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II". The song also topped the Australian ARIA charts for seven consecutive weeks. The UK release had "We Will Rock You (live)" as the B-side and America, Australia, Canada had "Spread Your Wings (live)".

 

Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II"

Although Mercury would play an acoustic-electric twelve-string Ovation Pacemaker 1615 guitar and later on an electric six-string Fender Telecaster, both owned by May, in the studio he recorded it with a six-string acoustic with external mics. Mercury also played the original guitar solo on a version which has been lost.

This sounded a lot more like Elvis Presley than Queen. It was a different sound for the group, but their fans loved it.

 

At first, this was not released in the US. Since the album was not out yet, radio stations there started playing import copies of the single. This led Queen's record company to release it in America, about 3 months after it came out in England.

Mercury's name is in the lyrics. He sings, "Are you ready," and the band sings, "Ready Freddie." This section took on a poignant edge after Mercury's death when the song was performed with guest singers, as the lyric was never altered regardless of the vocalist. Fans would take this opportunity to bellow the 'Ready, Freddie!' lyric back at the band in remembrance of the singer.

 

Freddy Mercury

Josh Kelley recorded this for the 2005 Queen tribute album Killer Queen.

 

"Killer Queen"

The Game is the eighth studio album by the British band. It was released on June 30, 1980 by EMI Records in the UK and by Elektra Records in the US. A critical and commercial success,The Game became the only Queen album to reach No. 1 in the US, and became their best-selling studio album in the US, with four million copies sold to date, tying News of the World's US sales tally. It is estimated to have sold a further 4 million copies in other countries. Another notable song on the album was the bass-driven "Another One Bites the Dust". The Game was the first Queen album to be recorded digitally.

 

"The Game"

Lyrics:

This thing called love
I just can't handle it
This thing called love
I must get round to it
I ain't ready
Crazy little thing called love

This thing (this thing) called love (called love)
It cries (like a baby) in a cradle all night
It swings (ooh, ooh), it jives (ooh, ooh)
It shakes all over like a jelly fish,
I kinda like it
Crazy little thing called love

There goes my baby
She knows how to rock-n-roll
She drives me crazy
She gives me hot and cold fever
She leaves me in a cool, cool sweat

I gotta be cool, relax, get hip
Get on my tracks
Take a back seat, hitch-hike
And take a long ride on my motorbike
Until I'm ready
Crazy little thing called love

I gotta be cool, relax, get hip
And get on my tracks
Take a back seat, hitch-hike
And take a long ride on my motorbike
Until I'm ready (Ready Freddie)
Crazy little thing called love

This thing called love
I just can't handle it
This thing called love
I must get round to it
I ain't ready
Crazy little thing called love [repeat to fade]

 

 

 

 

 

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