Most people know Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana were two huge British icons who tragically passed away in the 1990s, but some fans don’t know there’s a Queen song that memorializes both of them. Queen’s record label almost swept the song under the rug. However, fans intervened.
A Queen song that Freddie Mercury didn’t help create
Certain bands have multiple members who are extremely famous. Although every member of Queen contributed significantly to the band, Mercury was the most famous member of the band by far. Who could replace his inimitable voice and stage presence?
Oddly enough, the book Queen FAQ reports Queen did release a song without any creative input from Mercury following Mercury’s tragic death. The mostly forgotten song is a power ballad called “No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young).” Though “No-One but You” is not one of the band’s ubiquitous singles, it stands out for a number of reasons.
What makes ‘No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)’ special
Brian May said the song was inspired by the deaths of three celebrities: Diana, Mercury, and Gianni Versace. According to the book Queen: Complete Works, May mimicked Mercury’s distinct piano stylings on the song. With Mercury gone, May and Roger Taylor took over vocal duties on the track.
Although Mercury’s voice was incomparable, the remaining members of the band managed to make a case for themselves as singers. They each emote earnestly in a way that recalls the metal ballads of the 1980s.
In addition, Queen didn’t manage to stray too far from their roots in Mercury’s absence. “No-One but You” boasts a chorus with a melody that shares some of the charms of earlier Queen songs like “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “Killer Queen.” On top of that, “No-One but You” boasts some of the band’s trademarked vocal harmonies.
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The legacy of ‘No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)’
According to the book Queen- Uncensored On the Record, “No-One but You” was a significant song for Queen. It would be their first song recorded without Mercury’s involvement in any form. It’s notable that even though Mercury was not alive to help craft the song, he still casts a major shadow over it.
Queen FAQ says Queen’s label, Parlophone, was originally going to release “No-One but You” as a non-album single. Queen fans didn’t like the idea. Following an internet petition, “No-One but You” was released as part of a double A-side single with another lesser-known Queen song, “Tie Your Mother Down.” The single became a success in the United Kingdom, reaching No. 13. Perhaps the track did well because so many Brits were still reeling over the deaths of Mercury and Princess Diana at the time.
According to Blabbermouth, May was later asked to perform at a tribute concert for Princess Diana in 2007. However, he was unable to perform because he had to finish his PhD thesis. Although May couldn’t attend the concert, he still left a lasting tribute to Diana — as well as Mercury and Versace in the form of “No-One but You.”