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Bohemian Rhapsody top number 1 NPO Radio 2 Top 2000 for the 20th time

Queen also takes the throne again in the 25th edition of the NPO Radio 2 Top 2000. Bohemian Rhapsody has once again been voted number 1 on the list by listeners. This makes it the twentieth time that the song composed by Freddie Mercury has topped the Top 2000.

This is the top 10 of the NPO Radio 2 Top 2000 of 2023
This is the top 10 of the NPO Radio 2 Top 2000 of 2023
During the very first edition of the NPO Radio 2 Top 2000, in which two thousand songs symbolically said goodbye to the previous millennium, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon were already proudly at the top with their magnum opus. In the same period, in the last weeks of 1999, a new version of Under Pressure with David Bowie was released as a CD single, with the famous Bohemian Rhapsody as a B-side. The song is indicated on the cover in bold letters as ‘Song of the Millennium’. During the 25th edition of the annual Top 2000, this timeless classic is again at number 1 and the gong at the end of this song will traditionally ring out the old year.

Love Of My Life also in the top 10

Not only the classic Bohemian Rhapsody scored highly in the NPO Radio 2 Top 2000, but also the equally old Love Of My Life. Last year the ballad entered the top 10 and in the 25th edition of the Top 2000 it retains its number 10 position. According to Freddie Mercury, Love Of My Life is about no one in particular, although insiders know better: the lyrics are said to be about Mercury’s then girlfriend Mary Austin. The relationship ended in 1976, when Mercury came out of the closet, but the two remained each other’s soulmates until the singer died in 1991.

No chorus, no single

Although Bohemian Rhapsody has now proven itself as an undeniable pop classic, it would not have mattered much or we might not have known the song at all. In 1975, Queen spent weeks in the Rockfield Studio recording the complicated vocal parts. When the bigwigs at Queen’s record company EMI hear the end result, they don’t know what to do with the song: it lasts almost six minutes, has no chorus and the title doesn’t even appear in the lyrics. Freddie Mercury sees the painstaking work he and his colleagues have done almost disappearing into obscurity.

It’s a strange case

Mercury gives a cassette tape of Bohemian Rhapsody to his good friend Kenny Everett. He is a beloved comedian and radio DJ at the time. Everett manages to convince BBC bosses to play Bohemian Rhapsody often, causing EMI to decide to release the song as a single. That single reached number one in the British charts at the end of 1975 and then also in the Netherlands, where it was only Queen’s second hit, after Killer Queen. Ultimately, Bohemian Rhapsody was knocked off the top spot in the Netherlands in early 1976 by André van Duin’s carnival hit Willempie.

Previous number 1 rankings

Four of the five songs that once topped the Top 2000 are also in the top 10 this year. In addition to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody (twenty times in first place), these are Hotel California by Eagles (number 1 in 2014 and 2020), Avond by Boudewijn de Groot (2005) and Rollercoaster by Danny Vera (2020). The only previous list leader not in the top 10 is John Lennon’s Imagine, which received the most votes in 2015 after the Paris attacks

source top2000

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