The Show Must Go On by Queen is a 1991 song from the album “Innuendo”. All four members contributed to the writing of the song, although it is often attributed to Brian May.
The genesis of the music track
Many have called this song “Freddie Mercury’s testament” or his farewell letter. The recording took place in 1990 and Mercury managed to sing it so well that no one would say he was sick.
The song was released in October 1991, a month before the singer died (the date of his death is November 24, 1991). Freddie never presented the song live.
The music video
The last video recorded by Freddie was that of “These Are the Days of Our Lives” in May 1991. For “The Show Must Go On” it would have been impossible to make a video with him. So the band members decided to create a collages with old music videos, filming and live concerts from 1981 to 1991.
For example, we see the images of “I want to break free“, “A kind of magic”, “It’s a hard life“, “I’m Going Slightly Mad“, “Scandal”, “Innuendo“, “Breakthru”, “I want it all“, “Princess of the Universe”, “The Invisible Man”, “Radio Gaga“, “Back Chat”, “Calling All Girls”, “The Miracle”, “Body Language”.
What does The Show Must Go On mean?
The phrase “The Show Must Go On” is used in the circus world during accidents. If an artist is attacked by an animal or injured in a performance, the other artists enter the scene. They try to cover up the incident by continuing the show. In this way the public don’t perceive the seriousness of the incident, avoiding creating panic.
And that’s exactly what Mercury did: he announced his illness only one day before he died, even if for months the press had been spreading worrying news about his health.
The lyrics of The Show Must Go On have references to the world of the circus. For example, “Behind the curtain, in the pantomime” and “My makeup may be flaking”. The song makes a comparison between life and the world of the circus. Even in life, if things go wrong, we must continue to live to the end.
The famous covers of The Show Must Go On by Queen
Many artists and bands have repeated the song in their own way. Here are some famous covers.
Celin Dion started singing the song on her 2008 “Taking Chances” tour, then recorded the song in studio in 2016 with Lindsey Stirling on the violin.
Nicole Kidman and Jim Broadbent sing “The Show Must Go On” in the 2001 musical film “Moulin Rouge“.
Another very successful version is that of the French singer Grégory Lemarchal, who died at the age of 24 in 2007 due to cystic fibrosis.
More decisively gothic and metal is the version of the Metalium, a German band originally from Hamburg, currently no longer active.