Boosted by the recent success of the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen's iconic song of the same name is aging gracefully — to say the least. On Monday (Dec. 10), Universal Music Group (UMG) announced the song is officially the most-streamed track from the 20th century, achieving more than 1.6 billion global streams.
That qualification also makes it the most-streamed classic rock song of all time, edging out Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine" and "November Rain" and a-ha's "Take on Me" in both categories. The ranking considers all registered streams on global on-demand streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and others, as well as streams from official song or video streams on YouTube.
Queen guitarist and founding member Brian May said in a statement, "So the River of Rock Music has metamorphosed into streams! Very happy that our music is still flowing to the max!"
Added Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of UMG: "'Bohemian Rhapsody' is one the greatest songs by one of the greatest bands in history. We are so proud to represent Queen and are thrilled to see the song still inspiring new fans around the world more than four decades after its release. My congratulations to Queen and [manager] Jim Beach on an incredible achievement that is a testament to the enduring brilliance of Queen."
Since its release in 1975 with the album A Night at the Opera, "Bohemian Rhapsody" has proven a resilient hit. On May 9, 1992, it peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart, more than 16 years after its original release, thanks to the success of the movie Wayne’s World and its head-banging sequence to the song. In 2004, "Bohemian Rhapsody" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Last month, following the release of Bohemian Rhapsody, the song re-entered the Hot 100 at No. 33, marking its third appearance on the chart. It also landed at No. 41 on the Streaming Songs chart with a 77 percent surge to 13.3 million U.S. streams on the chart dated Nov. 17.
According to a UMG spokesperson, the label and its teams around the world actively promoted discovery across streaming platforms to introduce the song to new fans around the world in the streaming era, more than 40 years after its original release.