Queen's Roger Taylor calls claims of fascist imagery in 'Radio Ga Ga' video 'laughable'
Queen created iconic and often controversial music videos to accompany their legendary hits, but according to drummer Roger Taylor, the media kerfuffle following the release of their video for "Radio Ga Ga" was particularly over the top.
Directed by David Mallet, who worked with some of the biggest icons of the '80s, the video for their 1984 single, "Radio Ga Ga," was inspired by, and contains footage from, the classic 1927 silent science-fiction film Metropolis. But some of the cinematic references seemed to have gone over the heads of the British press.
In the latest episode of Queen the Greatest, a 50-week YouTube series celebrating the group, Taylor said the media massively misinterpreted a scene featuring "oppressed workers" raising their fists in rhythm to the song, somehow mistaking it for Nazi imagery.
"That was so absurd," a bemused Taylor shared in the episode, which you can watch above.
"The Nazi thing was laughable, really," he added. "People will always find an agenda if they need one. And it's a piece of entertainment. Simple as that."
In fact, the scene was actually meant to help teach the audience how to dance to the song at concerts. And sure enough, when Queen played "Radio Ga Ga" live for the first time at a festival, 1985's Live Aid famine relief concert, "everyone knew what to do because of the video," Taylor noted.
Making the actual music video, which presently has an astounding 254 million views on YouTube, was a truly creative experience for the band, according to Taylor.
"We had a killer video, which we put a lot of work into," he shared. "And the whole just thing just felt good. It felt of its time, it felt a bit different. Felt modern and it was very fresh."
Taylor, who penned the hit (which made it to a height of No. 2 in the U.K. charts), also dove into the origins of the song in Queen the Greatest, explaining how his son, who was a toddler at the time, provided the inspiration.
"Sunday afternoon, my son Felix came in. [He was] very young, and he just sort of went, 'Ahhh, radio, ca-ca,' because he's French, and so I just went, 'That's quite nice,'" the drummer recounted. "Sort of put the backing track together and then sort of presented it to Freddy [Mercury], who really loved it."