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Stuff We Love: Every savior-elating ahhh-ah in Queen’s Flash Gordon theme song

Contributed by
May 15, 2018

If there's ever been a more epic song specifically crafted for a hero's anthem, which more gloriously encapsulates that hero than "Flash" — the theme song and hit off Queen's soundtrack for the 1980 space opera Flash Gordon, directed by Mike Hodges and produced by Dino De Laurentiis — then I'm not sure I've heard it. There certainly isn't one with better ahhh-ahs.

For further proof of how inseparable Queen's score has become with the classic rock/space opera based on comic strip characters created by Alex Raymond, look no further than the extraordinary official video below, made just before MTV officially changed what a music video was. It features Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Queen (Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon) laying down the magic thumps, crashes, and cries of what could very well be the most recognizable song ever written specifically for a sci-fi movie. (I'd say come at me, but I fear confrontation.)

What's not to love about this video? The way it benefits from the whole band watching along as many of the movie's triumphant scenes play on the big screen behind them, including the one where Flash takes out some of Ming the Merciless's henchmen by throwing watermelon footballs at them; the stick twirl Taylor performs at the 1:45 mark, timed perfectly to a thunderous crash leading into the not just catchy but also savior-of-the-universe enhancing ahhh-ahs; the classic three-on-a-mic, one-finger-in-the-ear approach that Mercury, May, and Taylor take to harmonizing on those ahhh-ahs!

Of course, none of this should come as a surprise. What do you expect from a band fronted by a guy named Mercury, who shed his given name Farrokh Bulsara (born of Parsi descent in the Sultanate of Zanzibar) for something far more sci-fi? As such, Freddy and company wrote not just "Flash," but also another bold, sci-fi staple: "Princes of the Universe," the de facto theme song from everyone's favorite immortal swashbuckling decapitation movie, Highlander.

If Christopher Lambert microphone fighting Freddy Mercury doesn't make you feel like a Prince of the Universe, I can't help you. And sure, Bond forever, but let's not forget that Sean Connery also made Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez immortal, too.

Even in their non-movie writing work, aka the majority of their oeuvre, you get the tone-setting sense of the cinematic and operatic from Queen, showcased in just how many times you've heard their work on other soundtracks. For example, a few that quickly come to mind: "We Will Rock You" redefining the renaissance in A Knight's Tale, "Bohemian Rhapsody" rocking the hell's bells out of an AMC Pacer in Wayne's Wolrd, or "We Are the Champions" putting a cherry on top of Revenge of the Nerds — "No one's going to really be free until nerd persecution ends!"

So yeah, this being the month of music here at SYFY WIRE, we can never give too much respect to Queen, the band that saved every one of us, over and over again. Ahhh-ah!


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