“I Want to Break Free” is a song performed by Queen, which was written by bassist John Deacon. It featured on their 1984 album The Works. In the UK Chart, it peaked at number 3, and remained in the chart for fifteen consecutive weeks from its release in late April 1984.
Having featured in serious music videos, the band decided to do a parody. The music video “I Want to Break Free”, directed by David Mallet, was a spoof of the northern British soap opera Coronation Street. During part of the video, the band members dressed in drag, the idea of which came from Roger Taylor, as mildly similar characters found in the soap at the time; Mercury’s character was loosely based on Bet Lynch, while May’s character was based on Hilda Ogden. The video also depicted the band in what appeared to be a coal mine in their normal look, and it also features a ballet piece choreographed by Wayne Eagling with the Royal Ballet (one of the dancers was Jeremy Sheffield), for which Freddie Mercury shaved his trademark moustache to portray Nijinsky as a faun in the ballet L’après-midi d’un faune (though he had kept it for the parody part of the video). According to Brian May in an interview about Queen’s Greatest Hits, the video ruined the band in America, where many people – unlike the case in the UK – failed to see the soap-opera connection and interpreted the video as an open declaration of transvestitism and Mercury’s homosexuality. The song, a hit in the UK where it went to number three, only managed to reach number forty-five on Billboard. The video was initially banned by MTV in the U.S., but the ban was lifted in 1991 when it aired on VH1’s My Generation two-part episode devoted to Queen hosted by guitarist Brian May. The song received renewed attention when it was used in a media advertising campaigns for Coca-Cola C2 and Safeway.