Queen guitarist Brian May wrote this song. In a 1976 interview on Capital Radio, Freddie Mercury was asked "why tie your mother down?" The Queen frontman replied: "Well this one in fact is a track written by Brian (May) actually, I dunno why. Maybe he was in one of his vicious moods. I think he's trying to out do me after 'Death On Two Legs
The video, which is comprised of concert footage of the band, was shot in Nassau Coliseum in Long Island during Queen's 1977 US tour. Queen discovered the power of music videos two years earlier when TV shows started playing the video they made for "Bohemian Rhapsody
Brian May clearly has a lot of affection for this song - it was included in the setlist of almost all Queen shows, as well as his solo tours in the 1990s, the reunited Queen + (Paul Rogers and Adam Lambert) tours, and even on his various performances with Kerry Ellis. On the Acoustic by Candlelight tour with Ellis, he performed a slowed-down, Country-style version of the song to better fit the acoustic performance.
If Brian May and occasionally Roger Taylor guest with other bands, this is commonly the song May will play with the band - they have performed it numerous times with the Foo Fighters and The Darkness.
Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen performed this when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins from The Foo Fighters played with them.
After Freddie Mercury died of AIDS in 1991, a concert was held in his honor in Wembley Stadium in London. At the show, Joe Elliott from Def Leppard sang this with Slash from Guns N' Roses on guitar. The concert drew 72,000 fans and raised money to fight AIDS.
Queen commonly used explosions for effect during live and video performances of this song. During the video shoot, Roger Taylor was blown off his stool and off the stage due to an explosion placed in a bucket on his riser. While watching certain versions of the video you can see the part cut out, where Freddie turns around to face the back of the stage almost immediately. The recording had to be stopped for a moment because Roger was on the floor. Luckily, he was fine, though Brian May states clearly in video commentary, "Nearly killed Roger, it has to be said!" (thanks, Lorena - Miami, FL)
This song was covered by Shinedown for the 2005 Queen tribute album Killer Queen. (thanks, Rachel - South Point, OH)
Guns N' Roses has covered this song live with guitarist Brian May in concert. (thanks, Jonathon - Clermont, FL)
In the documentary Freddie Mercury: The Untold Story, we learn that his close circle of male friends all had female nicknames, and Freddie's was mother. (thanks, Becky - Locust Grove, GA)
On the TV show Al Murray's Happy Hour, on each episode a band would appear and have to cover a Queen song in the outro of the show. The Welsh rock band Stereophonics chose this song to perform, with vocalist Kelly Jones singing the chorus hook and guitarist Adam Zidani handling the rest of the vocals. Pretty good version it is too!