Queen "It's A Hard Life"
by Mark Nobes, chief editor
Penned by Freddie Mercury, "It's A Hard Life" was released as the third single from Queen's eleventh studio album The Works. It features a dramatic opening with Freddie's vocal high notes, which he often found a challenge when performing live. The song features the band's trademark layered harmonies, and Freddie's piano playing is prominent on the single. Unlike the previous two singles released from the album, there is no synthesizer, making the song more reminiscent of their 1970s work, which pleased many fans.
The song features the band's trademark layered harmonies, and Freddie's piano playing is prominent on the single. Unlike the previous two singles released from the album, there is no synthesizer, making the song more reminiscent of their 1970s work, which pleased many fans.
The lyrics are about the difficulties of having a long-term relationship with someone and maintaining trust, as in the chorus "It's a hard life, to be true lovers together, to love and live forever in each other's hearts.
The opening melody with the lyric "I Don't want my freedom, there's no reason for living with a broken heart" is based on the line "Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto!" from Vesti la giubba ("put on the costume") an aria from Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci.
Directed by Tim Pope, the video features the band in period operatic costumes, and Brian May can be seen playing a unique skull guitar worth over £1000. In general, the band were not fans of the over-the-top video, and found the costumes rather uncomfortable, causing them to perspirate heavily during filming. Indeed, the band ribbed Freddie for looking like "a giant prawn", and Roger Taylor thought the video was "stupid", although the song itself is one of his favourites.
The single became the band's 25th chart hit, and entered the UK singles chart at No.23 on 22nd July 1984, reaching a peak position of No.6 the following week, before falling back to No.9.
The previous two singles also reached the UK top 10; "Radio Ga Ga" reached No.2, and "I Want To Break Free" reached No.3.
The fourth and final single from The Works, "Hammer To Fall", failed to break into the UK top ten, stalling at No.13.
"It's A Hard Life" also reached No.2 in Ireland and No.4 on the Dutch Top 40.