Freddie Mercury was undeniably one of the most talented figures in rock history. He was, however, unforgivably naive when it came to science. Mr. Mercury’s wilful disregard for scientific fact is enough to force a reevaluation of his oeuvre. Let’s take a look.
Fat bottomed girls, you make the rocking world go ’round – Fat Bottom Girls, 1978
Mr. Bulsara’s repeated public assertion that our planet – rockin’ or otherwise – is made to spin via the actions of large-buttocked women is, without a doubt, incorrect. The Earth spins due to the inertia of a collapsing hydrogen cloud billions of years ago. Sadly, there is no evidence which points to the existence of “fat” or otherwise-bottomed homo sapiens that long ago. While such “girls” have undoubtedly contributed to human civilization in countless ways, it is unlikely that their posterior undulations could generate angular momentum on a planetary scale.
She keeps Moët et Chandon In her pretty cabinet – “Killer Queen”, 1974
Mr. Mercury’s brief stint as a sommelier leaves much to be desired. Moet et Chandon, as anyone will tell you, is best stored at between 45 and 65 degrees fahrenheit – any hotter and you risk damaging the wine, while lower temperatures risk slowing down development of the beverage’s signature complexity. Average temperatures in 1974 London occasionally reached well below said threshold, leaving the “killer queen” (if she ever existed) with dead wine. While his lyrical error is perhaps but a glancing blow to wine aficionados on either end of the Atlantic, it does not bode well for Mr. Mercury’s credibility that he begins a song thumbing his nose at oenological knowledge.
You had your time, you had the power You’ve yet to have your finest hour radio, radio – “Radio Ga Ga”, 1984
Despite the Queen singer’s professed love for the medium, the Golden Age of American radio is generally regarded as having long passed by the time this ode was recorded. Radio had it’s finest hour, Freddie, and it was likely sometime in the 1940s, mostly due to the 1927 Radio Act. The transition to television significantly pared down advertisement dollars as stars fled to the new medium. While this error is more historical than scientific, it is surely a point against Mr. Mercury that he never corrected it in subsequent interviews. Science 1, Freddie 0.
Is this the real life, is this just fantasy? – Bohemian Rhapsody, 1975
It’s real life, you sophist. “What if the blue you see is not the same as the blue I see?” Etc. NEXT!
But if I crossed a million rivers And I rode a million miles Then I’d still be where I started – Keep Yourself Alive, 1973
Riding a million miles around the earth, while incredibly time consuming given modern technology, is not impossible. Neither is crossing a million rivers, I suppose (though likely harder as there are roughly 165 major rivers on Earth and Freddie didn’t deign to enlighten the peasants with his own definition of one). What is impossible is doing both in one go – you’d likely cross far fewer than a million rivers in the course of a million miles. While quantum computing and light-speed travel may one day make this journey possible, we much prefer The Proclaimers’ method, which respects current scientific knowledge and the limits of human anatomy: walking five hundred miles, then five hundred more before collapsing, exhausted, at someone’s door.
Storm, the master-marathon I’ll fly through By flash and thunder-fire And I’ll survive (I’ll survive, I’ll survive) Then I’ll defy the laws of nature (I’ll survive, I’ll survive, I’ll survive) – Seven Seas of Ryhe, 1974
Fact check: nope. You will fuckin’ die, dude.