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Jun 22
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23 March 1984, Queen continue filming their outrageous and very expensive video, “I Want To Break Free,” with Dave Mallet directing. The video was filmed @ Limehouse studios (Battersea, London)

Freddie kept his mustache on during this scene to make his being dressed as a woman memorable and funny!

Day two of filming, the boys dressed up as women. The idea came from Roger Taylor’s girlfriend (at the time) Dominique Beyrand. She suggested the band do a spoof of the long running British soap opera, “Coronation Street”, and each band member would portray a character.

The drag sequence was the most notable of the video. It was set in a mid-terraced house, but in reality filmed at a small studio in Battersea, mother Brian wakes up in the morning, hair in curlers and feet encased in fluffy pink rabbit slippers, only to find local tart Freddie dancing around with the hoover in a tight leather skirt, fishnet stockings and a garish pink top – bra straps clearly visible. Grandmother John sits on the sofa looking grumpy, while sexy schoolgirl Roger shows off his legs at the kitchen sink. The process of getting the band into drag was surprisingly easy, though the process of walking in high heels proved much harder for Freddie!

Freddie was also set to shave off his trademark mustache for his turn as a woman in the video, but director David Mallet put a stop to it. He told the documentary series Video Killed the Radio Star: “I said, ‘No, the one thing you musn’t do, the funny thing is that your mustache is there and you’re in drag!’

“I was dying to dress up in drag. Isn’t everybody? It was just one of those things. I’m sure everybody thought it was my idea, but in fact it wasn’t my idea at all. It came from Roger’s girlfriend, and actually the other three ran into their frocks quicker than anything. It’s obvious that that’s something I would do, but because it was their idea, it came across a lot better. If it had been me, it would have been that much harder for them to accept the role, and I don’t think it would have worked.”

“People were quite amazed by the fact that we could fool around and drag up and still be good musicians. In America it wasn’t accepted at all well, because they still regarded us as the heavy rockers there — the macho thing. They reacted with, ‘What are my idols doing dressing up in frocks?’ There’s a big risk element involved wih most things we do, and I think our staunchest fans will know that we can come up with all kinds of ridiculous things. Some of them will work, and some won’t, but I think the rest of the group will take my view on this … we don’t give a damn. We do what we want to do, and it’s either accepted or not.”

Freddie Mercury

Unfortunately, Queen found themselves in a great deal of controversy over this video. The drag section upset many, accusing the band of corrupting their young fans was more of a surprise – particularly as the fans adored the video.

It was banned from MTV. Go figure, a Queen music video which seemed innocuous in Britain was considered obscene in North America.

Brian May said, “It was hilarious to do it. And all around the world, people laughed. And they got the joke, and they sort of understood it. But, not everyone would get it. I remember being on the promo tour in the Midwest of America and people’s faces turning ashen. And they would say, no, we can’t play this. We can’t possibly play this.”

The other controversy was the ballet sequence which is the third segment of the video. Freddie Mercury’s friend and ballet dancer, Wayne Eagling choreographed it and since it was portraying Vaslav Nijinski, Sir Kenneth Macmillan felt that some of Eagling’s touches and also the choice of costumes were near identical to pieces in his own ballet, “The Rite Of Spring.” As a result of this, Queen Productions donated an undisclosed sum to Macmillan’s chosen charity, the Institute of Choreology.

The Brilliant Video https://youtu.be/c_epGMuymGw

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  • A kind of Magic
    A kind of Magic 1986
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