19, April, 1982 – Queen released ‘𝐁𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐋𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐮𝐚𝐠𝐞’ (printed as “Body Language ↑⬱”), from their tenth studio album, “Hot Space,” in the U.K. It was a shift from their earlier work with more of a disco/funk, rhythm and blues as well as pop element.
“Body Language” was written by Freddie Mercury and a risqué song for the time. It was a hit in North America, where it received extensive radio play. However, the single only received a lukewarm response in the United Kingdom. The song’s key feature was its minimal, sparse production, with the emphasis of “suggestive” lyrics, a “slinky” synth bass (played on an Oberheim OB-X).The use of synth bamboozled some fans that wanted to hear guitars.
The instrumentation was almost entirely recorded by Freddie Mercury using drum machines, with John Deacon supplying the bassline on synth keyboards. Live keyboardist Morgan Fisher would play the synth bass (in Europe and Fred Mandel in the US), while John would play guitar – a rarity.
The music video proved to be too racy for MTV and it became the first song to be banned due to nudity, despite the members of Queen being fully clothed.
“Not really us but not a bad record.”
Roger Taylor – 2003
“I can remember having a go at Freddie because some of the stuff he was writing was very definitely on the gay side. I remember saying, ‘It would be nice if this stuff could be universally applicable, because we have friends out there of every persuasion.’ It’s nice to involve people. What it’s not nice to do is rope people out. And I felt kind of roped out by something that was very overtly a gay anthem, like ‘Body Language’. I thought it was very hard to take that in the other way. It’s hard to talk about this. But there you go.”
Brian May 1998
In America, I’m convinced the decline in Queen’s fortunes came at the time the ‘Body Language’ album came out. I think it was the only bad career move Queen made and it was one from which they never recovered in the USA, although ‘Radio Ga Ga’ was a top twenty hit. There has been speculation that Freddie’s clone look was the cause of the band’s demise in the USA. It can’t be. The clone look, the ‘out’ Freddie look, was already on ‘The Game’ album which was their biggest seller and which generated two number one singles. The gay backlash theory just doesn’t hold water. It was just their US audience didn’t like the disco thing that the ‘Body Language’ album contained.”
(American-British radio/television presenter)
“I’m extremely upset – outraged, in fact. I just think they could have given it a chance. I mean, I know Body Language was the first one of its kind from us, but it met with such disapproval in England. God! If they think that because of that situation, I’m going to suddenly revert back and come out with a rehash of Rhapsody, they’re mistaken. There’s no way I’m going to do that. But I’m glad that the Americans have seen that side of it.”