Queen - The Show Must Go On


Taken from Innuendo, 1991. Queen - The Show Must Go On (promo video, 1991)




"The Show Must Go On" is a song by the British rock band Queen, featured as the twelfth and final track on their 1991 album Innuendo. It is credited to Queen, but written mainly by Brian May. The song chronicles the effort of Freddie Mercury continuing to perform despite approaching the end of his life, although his diagnosis with HIV/AIDS had not yet been made public in spite of ongoing media speculation claiming that he was seriously ill. Mercury was so ill when the band recorded the song in 1990 that May had concerns as to whether he was physically capable of singing it. Recalling Mercury's performance, May states; "I said, 'Fred, I don't know if this is going to be possible to sing.' And he went, 'I'll fucking do it, darling'—vodka down—and went in and killed it, completely lacerated that vocal".


It was released as a single in the United Kingdom on 14 October 1991 in promotion for the Greatest Hits II album, just six weeks before Mercury died. Following Mercury's death on 24 November 1991, the song re-entered the British charts and spent as many weeks in the top 75 (five) as it did upon its original release, initially reaching a peak of 16. A live version with Elton John on vocals appeared on Queen's Greatest Hits III album.


The song was first played live on 20 April 1992, during The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, performed by the three remaining members of Queen, with Elton John singing lead vocals and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi playing rhythm guitar. It has since been played live by Queen + Paul Rodgers and Queen + Adam Lambert with Rodgers citing one of the performances as the best of his career. Since its release, the song has appeared on television, film, and has been covered by a number of artists.





Lyrics


Empty spaces.

What are we living for?

Abandoned places.

I guess we know the score.


On and on.

Does anybody know what we are looking for?


Another hero,

Another mindless crime

Behind the curtain

In the pantomime.


Hold the line.

Does anybody want to take it anymore?


Show must go on.

Show must go on.

Inside my heart is breaking.

My make-up may be flaking.

But my smile still stays on.


Whatever happens,

I'll leave it all to chance.

Another heartache,

Another failed romance.


On and on.

Does anybody know what we are living for?


I guess I'm learning.

I must be warmer now.

I'll soon be turning

'Round the corner now.


Outside the dawn is breaking,

But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free.


Show must go on.

Show must go on.

Inside my heart is breaking.

My make-up may be flaking,

But my smile still stays on.


My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies.

Fairytales of yesterday will grow but never die.

I can fly, my friends.


Show must go on.

Show must go on.

I'll face it with a grin.

I'm never giving in—

Oh—with the show.


I'll top the bill,

I'll overkill.

I have to find the will to carry on with the show.

On with the show.


Show must go on.