Queen films an unconventional “Bicycle Race” at Wimbledom Stadium in 1978

The promotional video for “Bicycle Race” featured 65 naked women racing at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium

Queen films an unconventional “Bicycle Race” at Wimbledom Stadium in 1978

Altough not one of Queen’s best selling singles, “Bycicle Race” achieved a top place among their best well known songs. On this day September 17th, 1978 the controversial promo video for the song was filmed at Wimbledon Stadium, U.K. The song was included on their 1978 album “Jazz” and released as a double A-Sided single with “Fat Bottomed Girls”. The lyrics are topical for the time and contain social, political and pop-culture references, such as religion, Vietnam War, Watergate, drugs, fictional characters (Peter Pan, Frankenstein and Superman), and the films Jaws and Star Wars. The song also mentions actor John Wayne. The lyrics also mention the exclamatory interjection, “Hot dog!” and the idiom “Cool it, man!” Brian May says that the song was not an autobiographical portrait of Mercury and that Mercury did not particularly enjoy bicycling, also noting that despite the lyrics Mercury was a Star Wars fan. The song references the band’s song “Fat Bottomed Girls” with the lyric “fat bottomed girls, they’ll be riding today”. “Fat Bottomed Girls” reciprocates with the lyric, “Get on your bikes and ride!” The video was famous for having 65 naked women, all professional models, racing at Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium. It was filmed by Denis de Vallance. The group rented the stadium and several dozen bikes for one day for filming the scene; however, when the renting company became aware of the way their bikes were used, they requested that the group purchase all the bicycle seats. The original video used special effects to hide the nudity. During their 1978 U.S Tour, when Queen played the song on Madison Square Garden in New York on November 17th, a group of semi-naked girls came riding in bicycles on stage.

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