The film has banked over $900million at the global box office, and that’s before the bonus home entertanment bonanza. Scaramouche and his fandango may sound wonderfully silly but they have made serious money. The film shows the moment when the band reunited before Live Aid and one of the key issues was the division of royalties. From then on everything was split four ways no matter who wrote the actual song. Even today, John Deacon has no contact with Brian May and Roger Taylor but still has his full stake in all Queen-related pay-outs. But it hasn’t been as harmonious as it sounds.
Bohemian Rhapsody the song isn’t just one of the greatest tracks of all time, it is also one of the biggest selling.
Everybody knows Freddie Mercury wrote the extraordinary rock opera classic, so all the royalties went to him, right?
Wrong… The movie teases the battle over which single would be the lead from the album with much hilarity over Roger Taylor’s I’m In Love With My Car.
Guess who had the last laugh?
Back in the olden (glory) days of vinyl, all singles had a B-side and Taylor’s ode to his banger took that slot in the end.
Brian May said: “Bohemian Rhapsody sells a million and Roger Taylor gets the same writing royalties as Freddie Mercury. There was contention over that for years.”
This was all settled when the band agreed to the four-way split, right? Wrong again – and it’s not just about the money.
May told Mojo magazine: “There were moments when all of us thought we’d given too much away. When it comes up about who wrote, say, I Want It All, I’ll say ‘Yes, that’s me.’ Then I have to remember, ‘Oh, hang on, it says Queen in the credits.’ I’m being honest, there is still a bit of that.”
Taylor agrees, especially once the band started writing and releasing singles to be hits as the charts and MTV changed the music business.
He told Mojo: “If I’m honest, I have mixed feelings about splitting the songwriting credits on those later records.
“I wrote The Invisible Man and Breakthru very deliberately to be hits. We wanted to have hits because we wanted to stay relevant in the 90s.”
At least he has those Bohemian Rhapsody royalties…
MOJO JULY ISSUE IS OUT NOW.