This week’s episode of Queen the Greatest looks back to 1980 when Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon were juggling two albums. Aside from The Game, the band also released a soundtrack for the Flash Gordon movie. While the film was popular in the UK at the time and a cult classic today, there were serious doubts surrounding Queen’s involvement in the music that the band had to overcome.
Roger Taylor remembered: “It was an interesting offer really from [producer] Dino De Laurentiis and Joe Smith, head of Elektra Records, engineered the whole thing really.
“And, it was interesting actually, because the film was a big hit in Europe and UK, and flopped completely in America.”
Commenting on the Flash Gordon movie being a cult VHS later on, Brian said: “I feel pretty proud of the Flash thing, because really this was the first time that a rock soundtrack had actually been put to a movie which wasn’t about rock music.
“There was a lot of resistance to it, a lot of people said it wouldn’t work, including Dino.”
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Brian shared: “When he first heard it he went, ‘Oh, it’s not going to work for my film’, the idea of the rock music being in there.
“But he pretty soon became accustomed to the idea, and he loved it in the end.”
Roger remembered how it was Brian’s project really and how the Queen guitarist took responsibility for the soundtrack.
The drummer said: “It really did forge quite a lot. I mean you never heard heavy rock – a lot of it was quite heavy – music on a film, and so this battle sequence is really quite ground breaking.”
Of course, in the end, Queen did return to scoring with their second film soundtrack six years later for Highlander, which will be covered in a later episode of Queen the Greatest.
As for the Flash Gordon album, only the title track Flash was released as a single, but The Hero became a regular opening for Queen live shows.
An example of this can be seen at the end of the video with Freddie and the band performing in Milton Keynes on June 5, 1982.
Next week’s episode of Queen the Greatest will look back at the band’s incredibly successful Greatest Hits album, which was recently re-released for its 40th anniversary.