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"Don't Stop Me Now" is a song by the British rock band Queen from their 1978 album Jazz and released as a single in 1979. Written by lead singer Freddie Mercury, it was recorded in August 1978 at Super Bear Studios in Berre-les-Alpes (Alpes-Maritimes), France, and is the twelfth track on the album.
Musically, the song builds on Mercury's piano playing, with John Deacon and Roger Taylor providing a bass guitar and drums backing track. The song also provides an example of Queen's trademark style of multitrack harmony vocals for the chorus lines.
The song also appears in the band's 1981 compilation album Greatest Hits, and in June 2011, as part of Queen's 40th anniversary celebrations, an old take of the song containing more guitar parts was included on the bonus EP of the re-released and remastered Jazz album. Featuring in films, commercials, and television shows, the song has grown in popularity in the four decades since its release. Bobby Olivier of Billboard attributes its initial rebirth to its appearance in the 2004 cult classic zombie apocalypse film Shaun of the Dead. In 2014, Rolling Stone readers voted it their third favourite song by Queen.
The single reached number 9 in the UK charts but only number 86 in the US; as the album was a top-10 hit, the song got some airplay on U.S. album-oriented rock stations despite its low chart ranking as a single. Despite this the song has grown in stature with time and has been popularised not only by consistent airplay, but by its use in advertisements, television programmes and films, and through cover versions. It has subsequently become one of Queen's most popular songs. The song was voted as the third best Queen song by readers of Rolling Stone, who noted that "time has also been very kind to it and it's widely seen now as one of the group's best works." The single also has reached Platinum status in the United Kingdom. In a March 2019 Billboard magazine article titled, "The Evolution of Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now': How a Minor Hit Became One of The Band's Most Beloved (And Inescapable) Songs", Bobby Olivier writes,
"You might have noticed a new commercial promoting the new season of American Idol. It was a 90-second music video featuring a dozen or so bright-eyed contestants, all of whom gleefully belted lines from a beloved song that has felt particularly ubiquitous as of late. No, it wasn't "Shallow," or "Thank U, Next" -- it was Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now," a classic-rock energizer that has, in the last six months alone, also been featured in commercials for Toyota, Silk almond milk, Amazon and L'Oreal. In the latter spot, Camila Cabello lip-syncs to the 41-year-old song as she dances and applies her lipstick. "Don't Stop Me Now" is not only one of the band's most treasured cuts, but one of the most popular songs of its entire era. On Sunday, March 3, it eclipsed 500 million plays on Spotify -- nearly double that of any Rolling Stones, U2 or Led Zeppelin song on the service."
Alexis Petridis of The Guardian wrote that the "astonishing" song "may be Queen's greatest song of all." He felt it was "a direct product of [Mercury's] hedonism and promiscuity: an unrepentant, joyous, utterly irresistible paean to gay pleasure-seeking. You find yourself wondering if its title might not have been aimed at his censorious bandmates." Mike Orme of Stylus Magazine ranked it the 7th greatest penultimate track on an album, calling it Queen's "most flamboyant and energetic single" and commenting: "Essentially three and a half minutes of Freddie Mercury jacking the mike from the rest of the world, the song offers him a chance to let us know just how much fun he's having in the spotlight."
Despite its popularity, Brian May was not a fan of the song as he felt it was celebrating the hedonistic and risky lifestyle of Mercury. He added that he struggled with the lyrics at the time, because it was about a difficult period in Freddie's life when the singer was "taking lots of drugs and having sex with lots of men."
The video for the song was directed by J. Kliebenstein and filmed at the Forest National, Brussels, Belgium on 26 January 1979.
Viewed at the time of release as one of the lesser songs in the Queen canon, it was only performed live during 1979, with the last performance in the Crazy Tour. On the studio version, Brian May's only guitar playing is in his guitar solo, but on live versions performed on the band's 1979 Jazz and Crazy tours, May would also play rhythm guitar throughout the rest of the song to give more of a rock feel. A live version of the song features in the band's 1979 album Live Killers.
In popular culture
In 2004, the song was featured in the zombie apocalypse film, Shaun of the Dead. Bobby Olivier of Billboard attributes the initial rebirth of the song to its appearance in the film, writing, "Perhaps the most famous scene from Shaun of the Dead features "Don't Stop Me Now," which blares from a pub jukebox while stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Kate Ashfield bash a zombie with pool cues to the song's hurtling beat. Shaun became something of a cult classic among millennial comedy and horror lovers alike, introducing the song to a whole new generation of listeners."
In 2005, this song was voted as "The Greatest Driving Song Ever" by viewers of the BBC television program Top Gear.
This song was included in the list of songs for use in the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow, and it was released in the Soviet Union that same year alongside Queen's "Jealousy" single.
In 2015, the electronics company Alba conducted a survey of 2000 UK adults, which asked respondents to name their favourite uplifting song, and "Don't Stop Me Now" was the most popular response.
A version of this song sung by the cast was used as the opening theme to the sitcom Super Fun Night.
^"Don't Stop Me Now - Queen". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018. ...it starts with Mercury singing over flowery piano lines and soon builds into stomping pop-rocker anchored by rumbling piano lines ... The end result was a smart fusion of pop hooks and rock energy...