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SoundTRAX: "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury onstage.
Hollywood Records
20th Century Fox

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

Today would have been the 77th birthday of the force of nature that was Freddie Mercury.

The legendary Queen frontman passed away in 1991 at just 45 years old, after only announcing his AIDS diagnosis the previous day.

I've always admired the way he famously shunned most interviews because he fiercely protected his privacy, and how he waited until almost the last moment to announce his condition— 100% on his terms.

There was a lot of that throughout Freddie's career, and when the film was first announced I wondered how on earth they could somehow distill his colorful life and career into a 2+ hour film.

But 2018's Bohemian Rhapsody gave it a shot, with Rami Malek earning an Academy Award for his portrayal of Mercury.

The accuracy has been disputed a little since Queen manager Jim Beach was co-producer and band members Brian May and Roger Taylor acted as consultants, but it really doesn't matter. The film is clearly a love letter to the Freddie they all knew and loved.

And who can resist that music?

The soundtrack features studio versions of Queen classics like "Another One Bites the Dust," "Somebody to Love," "Radio Ga Ga," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," and "Killer Queen," as well as 11 previously unreleased songs.

Five of those tunes are from the band's jaw-dropping performance at Live Aid in 1985, and that is where I'm going for today's SoundTRAX selection.

In honor of what would have been Freddie Mercury's 77th birthday, it's Queen with "Hammer to Fall," complete with Freddie's crowd-pleasing vocal warm-up, "Ay-Oh."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.