Who Wants To Live Forever?

Album: A Kind Of Magic (1986)
Charted: 24

Songfacts®:

  • Queen was commissioned to write this for the movie Highlander, and Brian May wrote it after watching the first cut of the film. He wrote the line "Who wants to live forever" in a cab on his way home from the viewing of the film. Inspiration came from the scene where Connor Macleod (Christopher Lambert) takes his dying wife Heather (Biettie Edney) in his arms at the time of her death. This is also the scene where the song is played.
  • In the film, Freddie Mercury sings the first verse, but on the album, Brian May sings the first verse and Freddie sings the rest.
  • This was covered by Breaking Benjamin for the album Killer Queen, A tribute to Queen in 2005. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kyle - Valdosta, GA, for above 3
  • An instrumental version of the song called "Forever" was included as a bonus track on the CD release of A Kind Of Magic. This instrumental was only a piano (played by Brian May) with keyboard accompaniment during the chorus sections. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 9

  • Johan Grimm from SwedenThen the “exactness” of the alleged story with Brian May “coming up with the line in a cab” is not so reliable. Me personally believe this text line had been lurking around May since at least the movie and prince Vultans line. Now, every time one reads out “Who wants to live forever”, it’s hard not to hear the melody of the song. But the words almost gives the melody for free, try singing the line along any other song, it’s not that easy.
  • Capwnd from The InternetIn Flash Gordon (1980), the other Queen soundtrack movie, Prince Vultan says "Ah, well; who wants to live forever?" before he dives.
  • Reyos from Windsor, OnWe wish you had lived forever Freddie!
  • Vince from Despatch, South AfricaGreat song and brilliant harmonization...I have seen tribute bands & orchestras performing this piece and if you close your eyes all you see is Scottish Highlands, sun braking through the clouds...and realizes...THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!
  • William from Leicester, United KingdomIn the 1980 film "Flash Gordon" scored by Queen, the Brian Blessed character asks "who wants to live forever?" Presumably this was an influence on Brian May in the writing of the song.
  • Blaze from Hendersonville, TnActually Brian and Freddie both sang a good bit of the whole song. Bri sung the lines "touch my tears, with your lips," and Brian and Freddie harmonized on some choruses. Bri also did the last line "Who waits forever, anyway?"
  • Michael from Perth, AustraliaA moving song - I visualise darkness breaking into a beautiful sunrise at the end of this song.
    Highlander - one of the greatest movies of its time.
  • Alan from Singapore, SingaporeThis song was also covered by Sarah Brightman
  • Paul from Rothesay, Nb, CanadaSeal also did quite a nice job on this song during the Freddie Mercury tribute in 1992.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Prince

PrinceFact or Fiction

Prince is shrouded in mystery, making him an excellent candidate for Fact or Fiction. Is he really a Scientologist? Does he own an exotic animal?

Charles Fox

Charles FoxSongwriter Interviews

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

Dean Pitchford

Dean PitchfordSongwriter Interviews

Dean wrote the screenplay and lyrics to all the songs in Footloose. His other hits include "Fame" and "All The Man That I Need."

Phone Booth Songs

Phone Booth SongsSong Writing

Phone booths are nearly extinct, but they provided storylines for some of the most profound songs of the pre-cell phone era.

Ramones

RamonesFact or Fiction

A band so baffling, even their names were contrived. Check your score in the Ramones version of Fact or Fiction.

Gary Brooker of Procol Harum

Gary Brooker of Procol HarumSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer and pianist for Procol Harum, Gary talks about finding the musical ideas to match the words.