Charts and Live Performance
|Austria||1||1 June – 1 July||14|
|The Netherlands||1||26 May – 2 June||12|
|UK||3||28 April – 19 May||15|
The single was received very positively over most of the world except for North America. In April 1984, it became number 3 in the United Kingdom, and was within the top 10 in many European and Latin American countries, but only peaked at number 45 on the US charts. The single was certified gold in the UK. The video for the song featured Mercury in a woman's outfit with a thick moustache, and its ban by MTV and some other US stations played a role in the low US ranking. The ban was lifted in 1991 when the song was aired on VH1's My Generation two-part episode devoted to Queen hosted by guitarist Brian May. According to May in an interview about Queen's Greatest Hits, whereas the video was understood and taken as a joke in UK, the US audience failed to see the soap-opera connection and might have interpreted the video as an open declaration of transvestism and Mercury's bisexuality.
In some other countries, such as South Africa and South America, the song was highly praised because it was seen as an anthem of the fight against oppression, whereas the reaction to the video was mixed. Illustrative in this regard was the live performance of the song in Rio de Janeiro in 1985. When Mercury appeared in front of an audience of 325,000 and started singing "I want to break free", stones were thrown at him. He quickly realized that his female outfit was the reason and removed his wig and false breasts, which calmed down the audience. This incident however puzzled and disappointed the singer.
After the release of The Works, the song was performed at almost every of Queen's live concerts. Spike Edney usually played the synthesizer introduction, after which Mercury appeared on stage, often in the outfit worn in the video — dark bobbed wig, pink blouse and false breasts — which he would remove later during the song. Brian May played the guitar solo on his Red Special. Some lines were sung by the audience, and "God knows" was chanted by the whole group. Live recordings of the song appeared on the concert albums Live Magic, Live at Wembley '86 and Return of the Champions. In addition, the song was performed at several concerts which were then included in Queen's videos such as Queen at Wembley, We Are the Champions: Final Live in Japan, The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and Return of the Champions.
Lisa Stansfield led the song in The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. She appeared on stage dressed as a housewife with a vacuum cleaner, as in the original video. The song was also performed in many concerts of the project Queen + Paul Rodgers, where Paul Rodgers took vocals, Danny Miranda played the bass guitar and Spike Edney was at the keyboard.
Starting in July 2004, a remixed one-minute version of the song was featured in a Coca-Cola C2 video advertisement.
Read more about this topic: I Want To Break Free
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