“Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to...)” - Queen



"Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to...)" could only be referred to as Mercury's hate letter toward Queen's ex-manager, Norman Sheffield, who is reputed to have mistreated the band and abused his role as their manager from 1972-1975. Though it never made a direct reference to him, upon listening to the song, Sheffield attempted to sue the band for defamation. This was how the public found who the song was about. Sheffield later admitted that it probably gave the band an incentive to dedicate the song to him after he decided to sue them. During live performances, Mercury would usually re-dedicate the song to "a real mother*** of a gentleman", although this line was censored out on the version that appeared on their Live Killers album in 1979.

In the "Classic Albums" documentary about the making of A Night at the Opera, Brian May stated that the band at first was somewhat put back by the incisiveness of Mercury's lyrics. After the song came together, it was agreed that the "author should have his way," and the song went on as penned.[3]

As with "Bohemian Rhapsody", most of the guitar parts on this song were initially played on piano by Mercury, to demonstrate to Brian May how they needed to be played on guitar.

"Death on Two Legs" was on the setlist right into The Game Tour in 1980, then fell off the setlist half way through the tour.

Freddie Mercury - March 1977, Circus Magazine:

"Death On Two Legs was the most vicious lyric I ever wrote. It's so vindictive that Brian felt bad singing it. I don't like to explain what I was thinking when I wrote a song. I think that's awful, just awful. When I'm dead, I want to be remembered as a musician of some worth and substance." Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.