"Love of My Life" is a ballad by the English rock band Queen from their 1975 album A Night at the Opera. The song was written by Freddie Mercuryabout Mary Austin, with whom he had a long term relationship in the early 1970s. After performing the song in South America in 1981, the version from their live album Live Killers reached number 1 in the singles chart in Argentina and Brazil, and stayed in the charts in Argentina for an entire year.
Freddie Mercury wrote it on the piano and guitar first, Brian May rearranged the song for acoustic 12-string guitar to facilitate live performances. May contributed occasional guitar phrases to the original recording and played the swooping harp glissandos by pasting together multiple takes of single chords. The song is an example of Mercury's familiarity with rubato phrasing, showcasing his classical piano influences, notably by Chopin andBeethoven.
With its similar lyrical theme, later single "These Are the Days of Our Lives" would hearken back to "Love of My Life", twice using the line "I still love you". At the end of "These Are the Days of Our Lives", Mercury simply speaks those words, as he would often do in live versions of "Love of My Life".
During the voyage of the space shuttle Columbia (STS-107), the Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, asked to play the song. The song was played in the shuttle and playback and Ramon said: "A special good morning to my wife, Rona, love of my life." Ramon and the ferry died in Columbia disastershortly thereafter, during its return to the atmosphere in 2003.
Introduced during the News of the World Tour in 1977, "Love of My Life" was such a concert favourite that Mercury frequently stopped singing and allowed the audience to take over. It was especially well received during concerts in South America, and the band released the Live Killers version of the song as a single there.
After Mercury's death, Brian May usually dedicated the song to him. A notable exception is the Sheffield show which yielded the Return of the Champions CD and DVD. At that show, May announced that Mercury's mother was at the show and he dedicated the song to her. In the Queen + Paul Rodgers Tour, May would sing a few lines of the song, then let the audience take over for every verse, as Mercury used to. When played at the Glasgow SECC in the 2008 Cosmos Rocks tour, May dedicated the song to his recently deceased mother. The song was played on the guitar by Brian May on concerts, unlike on the album A Night at the Opera.
An acoustic version of the song features on the band's 1979 album Live Killers. It was recorded at their concert at Festhalle Frankfurt on February 2, earlier that year. A shortened version was released as a single in the UK and other territories, which did not include the spoken intros and outros from the album. The linear notes for the DVD release "Greatest Video Hits 1" state that although the live audio is from Frankfurt, the accompanying music video that was edited to the track consisted of footage from a 1979 Tokyo concert. Presumably, the Frankfurt gig was not filmed. After performing the song in South America in 1981, it was this version that reached number 1 in the singles chart in Argentina and Brazil, and stayed in the charts in Argentina for an entire year.
- Freddie Mercury - lead and backing vocals, piano
- Brian May - acoustic and electric guitar, harp
- Roger Taylor - cymbals
- John Deacon - bass guitar
Numerous artists have released a cover of "Love of My Life" commercially, including Scorpions, Michael Burgess, Extreme (which featured Brian May), Rose Marie, Margareth Menezes, Declan Galbraith, Elaine Paige, Mark Slaughter, Antonio Vega, Lani Misalucha, Norma Waterson, John Owen-Jones, Iris, the ladies' gold-medal-winning quartet NoteOrious. Kerry Ellis performed the song with Brian May both on Anthems: The Tour (2011) and at her Friday Night is Music Night special show in April 2012. Joe McElderry covered the song for his fourth studio album, Here's What I Believe.