I Want It All by Queen is a 1989 song from the album “The Miracle”.
At that time Queen had been away from the music scene for three years, due to the health of Freddie Mercury. In fact, the singer had discovered his illness in 1987. He had not yet explained it to his band mates but they saw that he was ill.
The story of the song written by Brian May
The song is signed by the band Queen but Brian May wrote it. The song was ready before the band started making the album “The Miracle” in 1988.
The refrain recalls a phrase that May’s second wife, Anita Dobson, often told him. Brian was in fact a rather undecided person in those years, because he was breaking up with his first wife, Christine Mullen. He finally separated from her in 1988.
There are three versions of the song “I Want It All”. That of the album “The Miracle” is the extended version.
In the music video and in the Greatest Hits II compilation we can listen to a shorter version.
The song’s producer is the Swiss David Richards, who worked on several Queen albums and also with other artists such as David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Yes, Duran Duran. David Richards was the owner of Mountain Studios in Montreux (Switzerland). Freddie Mercury lived in Montreaux during the last years of life. His ashes were scattered in the nearby Lake Geneva. Here is also the famous bronze statue of Mercury.
The song was never performed live by the band because Freddie had been sick since 1987. It was performed live in 1992 during the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, a year after Freddie’s death. The leader of the Who, Roger Daltrey, sang this song; despite being a very good artist, he could not reach Mercury’s notes and vocal power. On guitar with Brian May we see Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath.
The video of the song I Want It All
The video for the song “I Want It All” is directed by David Mallet, a British director who worked for David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, ACDC, Def Leppard, Billy Idol, INXS, Scorpions and many others.
The location is the Elstree Studios in London in March 1989. In the video Queen perform in a stage lit by halogen lamps. Freddie Mercury has a beard but not his historic mustache. Some say it was to cover the signs of Kaposi’s sarcoma, a form of skin cancer that causes lesions and nodules. The face in fact appears slightly altered by the first symptoms of the disease but in any case Freddie seems to be fit.
Queen wear white shirts and black pants. In the beginning we see them in the foreground, a bit like in the video “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Black and white scenes alternate with color ones. In the end, Roger Taylor stands up and plays the drums, banging his wands on the water-covered drums. The last scene shows Freddie Mercury with his hands in his pockets in a boss position, while the camera flies upwards.
The meaning of the video I Want It All
The song was used as an anthem for various movements inspired by the cultural revolutions of recent decades, such as the anti-apartheid in South Africa and the gay rights movement.
If we look at Freddie Mercury in the video while singing and moving on stage, we can hardly think that those words are from Brian May talking to his wife! We can say that Freddie Mercury made this song his own. It is his hymn to life. He shout to the world that he wanted to seize all the most beautiful things and the opportunities of his last years…