Friday, October 27, 2023

Queen create A Kind Of Magic on The Greatest Live

Queen create “A Kind Of Magic” on the latest episode of the weekly series The Greatest Live.

Queen might have conquered stadiums around the world, but in the mid-’80s, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor almost seemed like London’s Wembley Stadium’s house band. While 1985’s Live Aid gave them just 21 minutes to steal the show, for the following summer’s Magic Tour, the band returned to the North London venue for two headliner nights– and had a few more tricks up their sleeve.

Written by Taylor, “A Kind Of Magic” had first featured on the soundtrack to the 1986 fantasy movie Highlander (the band also contributed fan-favourites including “Who Wants To Live Forever” and “Princes Of The Universe”). But while Brian once described the original’s pulsing synth-rock as “quite lugubrious and heavy”, Freddie developed a funkier and lighter-footed treatment that would be re-recorded with producer David Richards.

“Originally, ‘A Kind Of Magic’ was used at the end of the movie, over the closing credits,” Roger recalled. “It was a grander concept with a much more broken-up tempo. Freddie really believed in this song and we reworked it as a single.”

Hitting UK No. 3 as the third single and title track of 1986’s "A Kind Of Magic" album, the song was already an anthem when Queen arrived at the national stadium that July for two back-to-back performances.

“It became very popular onstage,” Roger reflected, “and when we did it on the 1986 Magic Tour, which was our last ever tour, it used to go down incredibly well.”

This week’s archive footage from Wembley proves just how quickly “A Kind Of Magic” had joined Queen’s canon of classics, as Freddie leads the 72,000-strong audience in a mass singalong of the song’s many memorable lines (including the pop-culture perennial, ‘There can be only one’). Meanwhile, in a surreal twist, the band are watched by their own giant inflatable avatars based on the cartoons from the “A Kind Of Magic” album sleeve – with the ‘Freddie’ balloon escaping the stadium and apparently found the next day by a somewhat startled lady half-deflated in her garden several miles away!

Pick up some Queen for your collection here.

See also:

Queen revisit Love Of My Life from Rock In Rio launch on The Greatest Live
Queen revisit Bohemian Rhapsody on The Greatest Live
Queen revisit iconic venues on The Greatest Live
Freddie Mercury directs Queen stage show on The Greatest Live
Search Queen at hennemusic