Scandal

Album: The Miracle (1989)
Charted: 25

Songfacts®:

  • This was written by Brian May and it was based on his problems with the British Press. In particular they had upset him with their comments on his divorce and relationship with the actress Anita Dobson.
  • In an interview with the video magazine Hard 'N' Heavy (1989, Volume 3), May confirmed it was the antics of the British tabloid press which inspired this song: "It's something which has affected us, individually, as members of the group recently. It's very strange, 'cause we were fairly famous for a long time in England, you know the last 15 years or whatever, but we didn't become a prey to these kind of scummy papers until recently. And it's not related to what you are doing, you know. They are not interested what music you play, or anything. They just want the dirt, and if they can't find any they'll invent it if they choose to pick on you. So we were all going through a lot of changes in our lives and suddenly it became a big problem, you know, in a similar way... you've heard about what they did to Elton, you know? These stories about Elton, and everything, which he sued them for and got a million quid (NB. slang for pound) off 'em. You know, great. Well they did very similar things to me particularly, and to a certain extent to Roger, and Freddie also had been through it a little while before. But this thing is total... you know, steam in and destroy someone's life. They really are the scum of the earth. You can't exaggerate it too much."
  • Another inspiration for the song's brutal anti-press lyrics could have been the tabloid treatment of Freddie Mercury from 1986 onwards. In the Days of our Lives documentary, May and Taylor both spoke angrily about how paparazzi would hound Mercury, sticking cameras in the windows of his Garden Lodge house and trying to investigate his shopping for medicine. The irony being that the press were right in their speculation: Mercury was indeed seriously ill, but only chose to disclose it publicly just before he died in 1991.

    "We hid everything - I guess we lied! Because we were trying to protect him" admits May. Taylor noted that he would "say anything" to avoid exposing the truth, and slammed a Sun front page from 1987 showing Mercury, clearly looking very haggard and ill, emerging from the doctor's surgery. Given the circumstances it's no surprise that the song has such a strong ire.

Comments: 2

  • Jason from CanadaA song that's just as relevant today as it was then.
  • Chris from Crewe, England"Scandal" was the fourth single from Queen's thirteenth studio album "The Miracle", (1989). It was release on the 9th October 1989 in the UK where it peaked at No. 25. In the US it was release on the 11th October. The b-side for the track was "My Live Has Been Saved" which later appeared on the" Made In Heaven" album.

    "Scandal" was written by Brain May but is credited to Queen. The Miracle began a change in direction of Queen's song writing philosophy. Since the band's beginning, nearly all songs had been written by and credited to a single member, with other members adding minimally. With The Miracle, however, the band's song writing became more collaborative, and they vowed to credit the final product only to Queen as a group. This is echoed in the striking album cover, showing the four band members merge together.

    The song "Scandal" is about the unwanted attention that Brian May and Freddie Mercury received from the British press in the late 1980s. They had been controversial about Brain May's recent divorce from Chrissy Mullens and his new relationship to actress Anita Dobson. They married in 2000.

    It is also about the unwanted attention and speculation of Mercury's growing health problems (he hadn't yet publicly announces he had HIV/AIDS).

    Queen had several bad experiences with the British tabloids throughout their careers. Freddie Mercury chose early on to partly seclude himself from the press by these very reasons and rarely did interviews for them.

    The song can also be seen as how bad the press and the news can damage someone's life and the effect it has on them and their family. This is represented in lines such as:

    Here comes the bad news, open the floodgates
    They'll leave us bleeding, we say you cheapskates
    Over and over and over again

    It's a very serious, dark and dramatic song about the life inside the world of fame. It's not the sort of queen song you would play in a party but a Queen song you could listen and respect what their saying in the lyrics.

    May recorded the keyboards and did the guitar solo as a first take. Mercury's vocal was also done in a first take too. The Synth-bass is played by the producer, David Richards.

    The song is one of the best from the album because it's "Melodically" a Heavy metal song, & also lyrically it is very strong. Freddie has a great Metal voice in it as well and I think John Deacon plays an important role here, since his bass-line is extremely good! You can find one of those "Red Specialic" solos in here too.

    I think Freddie's voice on his later albums is definitely better than on any of their 70's or 80's albums. As his body is failing him, his voice gets so much stronger on this album and the next two, (Innuendo & Made in Heaven). It's a great song from Queen, from a great album. It's a shame and a scandal, (no pun intended, honestly!) it's not on The Greatest Hits II or III album.
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