By Mark Nobes, chief editor
"Breakthru" was released as the second single from Queen's thirteenth studio album The Miracle, and was the follow-up to their No.3 hit "I Want It All".
Produced by Queen with David Richards, the track opens with the band's trademark downtempo vocal harmonies, and I remember during the first time of listenning to it, thinking that maybe we were in for Bohemian Rhapsody Part 2.
However, the song quickly transforms into an up-temp rock track, which may have disappointed many, but this song has always been a favourite of mine. The intro was actually penned by Freddie Mercury for the song "A New Life Is Born" which was never released. Indeed, it is well-known that Queen often pasted together different parts of songs, which is partly the reason they are so distinctive. The rest of the track was written by Roger Taylor, in his typically energetic style,
Picture Disc (Queen PD 11) designed by Richard Gray
Three further singles were released from The Miracle; "The Invisible Man" (No.12), "Scandal" (No.25), and "The Miracle" (No.21). UK chart positions are shown in brackets.
The iconic video has received 36,240,092 views on Youtube, as I write. Now, whilst most of us prefer riding inside the carriages of a train, Queen did it how only rock bands could, performing on an open platform being pulled by steam locomotive 3822, which they had rented from the Didcot Railway Centre in Didcot, Oxfordshire. The train was also repainted and renamed The Miracle Express.
The same loco and segment of track were used in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy, which starred Roger Moore as 007.
The video opens with Roger Taylor's very attractive girlfriend (at the time), Debbie Lang, who can be seen lying down on the railway track. She is wearing a painted black eye mask and a black dress.
At one stage in the video, the loco appears to break through the wall of a dissused tunnel built into the arch of a stone bridge. However, it was actually made from polystyrene to prevent a train wreck!
Freddie is wearing a beard to cover up the early symptoms of Karposi's Sarcoma, and it is clear that he had lost weight, There were rumours abound about his appearance and his health, but he kept his battle against AIDS close to his chest until just a day before he finally lost his battle with the disease on 24th November 1991. Of course, there was a lot of stigma surrounding the disease during the 80s, which is the main reason that Freddie didn't want his condition to be made public.
The single was released by Parlophone in most countries with the B-side "Stealin'" on 7 inch, 12 inch, CD and cassette. It was released by Capitol in the U.S., where it failed to chart. The 12 inch and CD included an extended version and album version of "Breakthru".
"Breakthru" reached No.4 on the Dutch Top 40, No.6 on the Dutch Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart, and No,10 on Belgium's Ultratop 50. The single was also a moderate hit in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. It also reached No.80 on the Canadian Singles Chart.
In the UK, "Breakthru" spent a total of eight weeks inside the Top 100. It entered the official singles chart at No.13 on 25th June 1989, making it the highest new entry that week. It reached a peak position of No.7 the following week (2nd July) before falling back to No.13. During this time, Soul II Soul were at No.1 with "Back To Life (However Do You Want me)".
The 7" vinyl (Queen 11)