‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ now most-streamed 20th century song

The six-minute song overtook the likes of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’

They said it would never sell, with its six-minute playing time, operatic passages and lyrics about Galileo and Scaramouche, but the Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody on Monday became the most streamed song from the 20th century.

Boosted by the new movie Bohemian Rhapsody, the 1975 single and music video surpassed 1.6 billion streams globally, record company Universal Music Group said in a statement.

The song overtook the likes of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, and Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child O'Mine, and is now also the most streamed classic rock song of all time, Universal added.

The Bohemian Rhapsody film, starring Rami Malek as late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, has brought the music of the British rock band to a new generation. Five weeks after its release, it has also become the highest grossing musical biography movie ever, with a global box office take of $600 million (€527 million).

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Malek was nominated for a Golden Globe last week for his performance and is widely expected to get an Oscar nomination in January.

Universal said it had been promoting the single across streaming platforms in recent weeks. It used all registered streams on global on-demand services including Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer as well as streams from official song/video streams on YouTube to determine that Bohemian Rhapsody was the most streamed song from the 20th century.

Bohemian RhapsodY & Queen in numbers

  • The track was first released as a single on October 31, 1975
  • Bohemian Rhapsody was Queen's first Top 10 hit in the US. In the UK it went to #1 for nine consecutive weeks, a record at the time.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody" is the only song in history ever to have topped the U.K. charts twice at Christmas.
  • The video for Bohemian Rhapsody is generally recognized as the first promotional music video ever aired, and was based on the group's Queen II album cover, the photo for which was taken by Mick Rock. It was directed by Bruce Gowers and was shot in 3 hours for a cost of £3,500 at the time at the band's rehearsal space.
  • The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including Pink, Kanye West, Robbie Williams, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Montserrat Caballe, The Muppets and Elton John and Axl Rose (for the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in April 1992).
  • Queen have sold more than 300 million albums worldwide

– Reuters