What spawned my Web wandering — and my tenacious earworm — was my friend Duwayne putting this “Bohemian Rhapsody acoustic” video on his MySpace page. It seemed harmless enough when I began to watch it yesterday morning. The guy sits down, reels off a darned skilled version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” on classical guitar, and finishes by mimicking the gong’s shimmer. It was that last touch which made me watch it all over again. And then once more after that, to show Amy.

Want to dazzle friends at parties by playing the same thing yourself? Look here — it’s some sample excerpts from a detailed Edgar Cruz guitar lesson on the Freddie Mercury masterpiece, which is where our first guitarist learned it:

That in turn reminded me of an a cappella rendition I had seen a few weeks ago, by the University of California Men’s Octet:

Wayne’s World

It’s shocking to remember now, but rock radio stations had pretty much stopped
playing “Bohemian Rhapsody” altogether until the 1992 Mike Myers movie Wayne’s World used the song. There was also a new music video promoting the film’s sountrack, which combined parts of Queen’s original video and Wayne’s World movie clips. All this attention rocketed “Bohemian Rhapsody” back to #2 on the Billboard single chart.

The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody

On November 23, 2009, The Muppets’ version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” was posted on YouTube and went on to win the “Viral Video” category in the 14th Annual Webby Awards.

Here are The Muppets and “Bohemian Rhapsody”:

After watching all these different versions, the song was immovably wedged between my ears. I was up at 3:00 this morning with “Mama mia! Mama mia!” echoing through my brain — very, very frightening. So, at daylight I had to read its Wikipedia entry to clear up a few questions I had about its lyrics. For instance, what the heck does “Bismillah” mean? It’s a fascinating read, especially the part about the repeated overdubbing literally rubbing the oxide layer off the recording tape.

The Wikipedia article also points out that with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” one of the era’s most groundbreaking videos, Queen established conventions for all music videos from then on.

I guess if I have to have an earworm, this is at least an interesting one.

Poor Amy has been walking around for days now humming, “Gimme a break / Gimme a break / Break me off a piece of that ___ ___ ___.

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