Fun Fact Friday debuts with this documentary look into the band Queen's time in the Hollywood world of film soundtracks with their work on Flash Gordon and The Highlander. Do you know all of Queen's film soundtrack gigs? After the episode comment below with your thoughts on their film projects. What is your favorite and why?
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A Kind Of Magic - Queen Album
HIGHLANDER (1986 MOVIE) - SOUNDTRACK : EXPANDED 25TH ANNIV. (It's doesn't have everything that was intended to be released in 86, but it's still sweet!)
Watch the Highlander Now!
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The Highlander original orchestral score was composed by Michael Kamen. The British rock band Marillion turned down the chance to record the soundtrack because they were on a world tour, a missed opportunity which guitarist Steve Rothery later said he regretted. The band's Scottish lead singer, Fish, had also accepted a part in the film but pulled out because of the scheduling conflict. The eventual soundtrack includes several songs by Queen, such as "A Kind of Magic" and "Princes of the Universe" (the latter also being used for the Highlander television series title sequence). Brian May was inspired to write "Who Wants to Live Forever" after watching the love scenes between Connor and his wife Heather, which the song ultimately accompanied on the film.
Despite a mention in the end credits, to date a complete soundtrack album for Highlander has not been released. Queen's 1986 album A Kind of Magic features several songs from the film (although sometimes in different arrangements): "Princes of the Universe", "Gimme the Prize (Kurgan's Theme)" (the album version includes snippets of dialogue from the film), "One Year of Love", "Don't Lose Your Head", "Who Wants to Live Forever", and "A Kind of Magic". The album and single edits of "A Kind of Magic" feature a different mix from the one in the film; a 2011 re-release of the album includes the long-unreleased Highlander version of the song. The album does not include Queen's recording of "Theme from New York, New York", which features briefly in Highlander. "Hammer to Fall", a Queen song heard playing from a car radio in one scene, was from an earlier album, The Works.
The 1995 CD Highlander: The Original Scores includes five cues from Kamen's Highlander score (along with six cues from Stewart Copeland's Highlander II score, and four cues from J. Peter Robinson's Highlander III score). Furthermore, a rearrangement of an excerpt from Kamen's score (specifically, the beginning of the track "The Quickening") was used as the theme music for New Line Cinema's logo ident in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The phrase "a kind of magic" is used in Highlander by Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) as a description of his immortality. Roger Taylor liked the phrase so much that he used it as inspiration for the song. There are references to the film in the lyrics: "one prize, one goal"; "no mortal man"; and "there can be only one". The single's cover art features an image of Clancy Brown in character as the film's villain, The Kurgan.
Taylor wrote the melody and chords for the version that appeared in the film, which Brian May described as "quite lugubrious and heavy". Freddie Mercury composed a new bass line, added instrumental breaks, and changed the song's order to make it more chart friendly. Mercury and David Richards produced this new version. The song was still credited only to Taylor. Whilst Taylor's version is at the end of the film, Mercury's version appears on the album. Taylor's version of A Kind of Magic did not see official release until it was included on the extra EP for the 2011 special edition of the album.