“Somebody to Love” is a song by the British rock band Queen, written by the lead singer/pianist Freddie Mercury. It debuted on the band’s 1976 album A Day at the Races and also appears on their 1981 compilation album Greatest Hits.
The song has similarities to Queen’s earlier hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” with its complex harmonies and guitar solos; however instead of mimicking an English choir, the band turned to a gospel choir. It reached No. 2 in the UK and No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. The song demonstrated that “Queen could swing as hard as it could rock, by channeling the spirit of gospel music”.
Written by Mercury at the piano, “Somebody to Love” is a soul-searching piece that questions God’s role in a life without love. Through voice layering techniques, Queen was able to create the soulful sound of a 100-voice choir from three singers: Mercury, Brian May, and Roger Taylor. John Deacon did not sing backing vocals on the recorded album. Mercury’s fascination and admiration for Aretha Franklin was a major influence for the creation of this song.
Queen played “Somebody to Love” live from 1977 to 1985, and a live performance of the song is recorded on the album Queen Rock Montreal ,’’Queen on Fire: Live at the Bowl. In addition to these live performances, there were collaboration tributes to “Somebody to Love” after Mercury’s death in 1991. The song was played live on 20 April 1992 during The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, with George Michael on lead vocals.
Since its release in 1976, the song has appeared in several television shows, such as the Idol franchise, The X Factor, and Glee, as well as films, including Happy Feet and Ella Enchanted. It has also been covered by many artists.