Brian May said a joke first made about Queen in 1990 still makes him laugh and that he sees the “ultimate compliment” behind the dig.
He referred to a line from the novel Good Omens, written by fantasy authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, which made fun of the fact that so many copies of Queen’s Greatest Hits have been sold over the years.
British radio presenter Simon Mayo recently asked May about the compilation, which has become the best-selling LP in the U.K., spent 900 weeks on the chart and is thought to be owned by at least a quarter of households in Britain.
“I love that quote about every CD that stays in a car for more than a year turns into Queen’s Greatest Hits,” May said in the interview. “I should know where that comes from, but it makes me laugh. It is great – I mean, it’s the ultimate compliment for an artist, really, I think, to be sown into people’s lives to that extent.”
You can watch the interview from Greatest Hits Radio below.
The original mention in Good Omens, later repeated onscreen in the 2019 TV version, addressed a moment where the demon Crowley is driving in the south of England: “Nothing about him looked particularly demonic, at least by classical standards. No horns, no wings. Admittedly he was listening to a Best of Queen tape, but no conclusions should be drawn from this, because all tapes left in a car for more than about a fortnight metamorphose into Best of Queen albums.”
May went on to discuss one of the band’s classic sing-along tracks. “I often talk to people about ‘We Will Rock You,’ for instance, and people don’t really realize that anybody wrote that, which I think is kind of the ultimate compliment – it’s like it’s always been there,” he said. “It’s part of our lives.”
On the subject of late singer Freddie Mercury, the guitarist said: “He would still be saying, ‘Oh, I need to do my solo stuff,’ but he would be coming back to the family to do what we do. The funny thing is, I feel more and more that he is kind of with us. … Maybe I’m getting to be an old romantic, but Freddie is in my day every day. He’s always in my thoughts, and I can always feel what he’d say in a certain situation. … He’s so much part of the legacy we created. That will always be the case.”
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