Who Wants to Live Forever (5:16)

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“Who Wants to Live Forever” is a song by the English rock band Queen. The song is the sixth track on the album A Kind of Magic, released in June 1986, and was written by guitarist Brian May for the soundtrack to the film Highlander, directed by Russell Mulcahy. The song peaked at No 24 in the British charts.

The song is used to frame the scenes in the film where Connor MacLeod must endure his beloved wife Heather growing old and dying while he, as an Immortal, remains forever young. (It was later used in the episodes “The Gathering”, “Revenge is Sweet”, “The Hunters”, “Line of Fire”, and “Leader of the Pack” of the Highlander television series.) The song’s title is taken from a line in another movie scored by Brian May and Queen, Flash Gordon.

May sings lead vocals on the first verse, before Freddie Mercury takes over for most of the rest of the song, with May singing “But touch my tears with your lips” during Mercury’s verse and then the final line of the song, “Who waits forever anyway?”. The version which can be heard in the film is unique, in that it features Mercury singing lead vocals on the first verse. Mercury also sang the lead in live performances. When live, however, the song was lowered by a whole tone, and Mercury would frequently alter the song’s highly demanding vocal line due to the strain placed on his voice by vocal nodules: this often involved Roger Taylor handling lead vocals on the choruses, while Mercury harmonised with a counter-melody. An instrumental version of the song, titled “Forever”, was included as a bonus track on the CD version of the album.

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