Tie Your Mother Down

Album: A Day At The Races (1976)
Charted: 13 49
Play Video


  • 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' actually."
  • 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!" >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lorena - Miami, FL
  • This song was covered by Shinedown for the 2005 Queen tribute album Killer Queen. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Rachel - South Point, OH
  • Guns N' Roses has covered this song live with guitarist Brian May in concert. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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!

Comments: 29

  • Anonymous from UkBrian May himself said the title is nonsense. They were the only words he could think of to fit, and Freddie persuaded him to keep them. So "Tie Your Mother Down" is totally meaningless.
  • The Colonel from North CarolinaSome mothers want to be tied down!
  • Bridget from CoIt looks like this could be about bad relationship with May's parents. I wouldn't be surprised if it was true, seeing as Queen always writes about stuff like this. (Fat Bottomed Girls)!
  • George Pope from Vancouver, CanadaThe lyrics make it clear what the song is about -- the singer is seeking a hot time with a schoolgirl (this was fine in the '70s, for lyrics) but her mother & father stood in the way, so "tie your mother down" & "Lock your daddy out of doors"; & he doesn't need them nosing around while she gives him all her love tonight.
  • Tim from ChicagoI have to crank the volume up really high every time I hear this song !! The guitar rifts are pure enjoyment !! But the lyrics must be about Brian, or somebody, trying to have sex with an underage girl, and keeping her parents from stopping It. This song might have been banned from radio play 10 years earlier.
  • Kc from YorkshireGreat song. One of Queen's finest. Turns out it was inspired by the song Morning Sun by a band called Taste. Have a listen to Morning Sun and you can tell it played a part in May writing Tie Your Mother Down.
  • Dave from The Midlands, EnglandThe second verse was wrote about the band Hustler who supported them on the Sheer Heart Attack tour. Apparently they weren't very nice people to tour with. Hustler had a single out at the time called "Get Outta My House" and this song is referenced in the lyrics.
    You're such a dirty louse
    Go get outta my house
    That's all I ever get from your
    Family ties, in fact I don't think I ever heard
    A single little civil word from those guys
  • Nichole from CaliforniaMom? Try Melinda, darling!
  • Luke from Manchester, UkDee - Indianapolis: This song sounds a little like Smokin' by Boston.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 19th 1977, a video of Queen performing "Tie Your Mother Down" was aired on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Three weeks later on March 13th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; eventually it peaked at #49 and spent 6 weeks on the Top 100...
    Their next charted U.S. release , "We Are The Champions" b/w "We Will Rock You", would
    reached #4 on the Top 100...
    R.I.P. Mr. Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, (1946 - 1991).
  • J from Eat Me, AlClearly, Brian is talking about interactions with puritanical parents while he's still advocating the issue with the object of his affection.

    "Your Momma says you dont
    And your daddy says you won't
    And I'm burnin' up inside
    Ain't no way I'm gonna lose out this time"

    He then goes on to express that even though his primitive side is desirous, he's still a good guy.

    "Your mommy and your daddy
    Gonna plague me till I die
    They can't understand it
    I'm just a peace lovin' guy"

    Having grown up in a similar environment it is most understood.
  • Jessie Steele from Bartlett, TnAww por roger.I looked at the vid,and at thirteen seconds you can see Freddie glance at the back of the stage.
    this is a great song,very fun and fast
  • Nikki from Perth, AustraliaBrian wrote "Tie Your Mother Down" long before Queen ever got started. He'd been up all night in an observatory watching the stars and was too wired to sleep. He says he has no idea where the line came from, it just popped into his head. He was going to change it because he thought it was silly, but Freddie told him not to because "it reminds me of something that happened once, darling."
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI was always looking for a meaning to this song... I have it on the Queen Rocks it sounds great... although it also appears on Classic Queen.
  • Wayne from Port Neches, TxThe album titles "A day at the Races" and "A Night at the Opera" were also titles to two Groucho Marx films.
  • Jonathon from Clermont, FlOkay, now the album version has the "White Man" riff and a Shepard tone as an album into, which are not actually part of the song, and "Teo Torriatte" has the Shepard tone to close the album. The singles for both songs, of which "Teo Torriatte" was a Japan-only release, match the ones on greatest hits.
  • Billy from Otway, OhNot sure if it's true or not,but i heard that this was on the soundtrack for the Super Mario Brothers movie.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cawow where did you hear that jake? haha...thats very...freddie mercury.
  • Jake from Newport, NhBrian was going to change the lyrics "Tie Your Mother Down" to something else, but Freddie came along and said "No, no, it sounds great. Plus it reminds me of something that happened once", and Brian refused to ask what it was that happened.
  • Freddie from Orlando, Fl"take your little brother swimmin with a brick- thats alright" the little boy is swimming with a brick-- and hence the brick will make him heavy and drag him so he will sink and drown and get out of the way so that they can go shag. its just some little thing, but I'm not misunderstanding it, actually.
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhDrown them? I think Brian just meant he was horny and wanted some sex ASAP. I think this song is slightly misunderstood, a pretty common predicament in rock music.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InAnother song that draws controversay. Why can't people just listen to the music and not read into it so much all the time? I'm not sure this sounds like Boston at all though, and I'm a huge Boston fan and know my Queen as well.
  • Freddie from Orlando, Fl"alone time".... haha. which is a pleasnet way of saying: TIE UP YOUR FAMILY! LOCK EM UP OR DROWN EM..... WHATEVER! Just gimme ALL YOUR LOVE TONIGHT!!!!!!
  • Randall from Birmingham, Englandi aslo recommend the albums instead of greatest hits as greatest hits tends to cut some songs down
  • Kevin from Bridgeport, CtThis song can be found on their 5th release, A Day at the Races. I strongly recommend the albums instead of the Greatest Hits Complitaions.

    This song is actually about a man who is frustrated with his lover's family because he wants to have some alone time with her.
  • Alf from New York, Nythis kinda sounds like boston
  • Glenn from Mildenhall, EnglandI had one CD that had the "White Man"-esque intro as a separate track from the actual song, meaning that, although listed first on "A Day at the Races," it was track two. Newer releases seem to have made it all one track.
  • Mel from Hokitika, New ZealandThankfully it appears on the 'Queen Rocks' album.
  • Tom from Trowbridge, EnglandSurprisingly, this doesn't appear on Queen's Greatest Hits album!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Charles Fox

Charles FoxSongwriter Interviews

After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.

Church Lyrics

Church LyricsMusic Quiz

Here is the church, here is the steeple - see if you can identify these lyrics that reference church.

La La Brooks of The Crystals

La La Brooks of The CrystalsSong Writing

The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."

Pete Anderson

Pete AndersonSongwriter Interviews

Pete produced Dwight Yoakam, Michelle Shocked, Meat Puppets, and a very memorable track for Roy Orbison.

Fire On The Stage

Fire On The StageSong Writing

When you have a song called "Fire," it's tempting to set one - these guys did.

Paul Williams

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."