Off with Her Head? The Initially Mixed Reaction to Queen’s Iconic Song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Ewbank, Tim. "A first-class hit." Daily Mail, 4 Dec. 1975, p. 19. Daily Mail Historical Archive, 1896-2004

│ by Lily Deans, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham │

Over the past year, the cinematic world has produced numerous biopics which share the stories of stars many of us have grown up with, love and admire. The most memorable one for me was the double BAFTA-winning Bohemian Rhapsody which portrayed the fantastic story of the most talented (in my opinion!) band of the past century: Queen. The film highlighted not only the unparalleled talent of this eclectic band but also the dedication and effort that went into producing the songs we all now know and love. Interestingly, however, one section of the film focused on the release of the now classic song Bohemian Rhapsody in October 1975 and highlighted the initially negative reception of the song (from some critics). This surprised me, as I have come to know Bohemian Rhapsody as a song that passes through generations with adoration and unyielding success. Thus, when I was introduced to Gale Primary Sources, I thought it would be interesting to research the critical reviews of Bohemian Rhapsody in Gale’s online archive, to see first-hand the opinions and negative comments that were made at the time of the song’s release – and to reflect on how questionable they are in retrospect!

Read moreOff with Her Head? The Initially Mixed Reaction to Queen’s Iconic Song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

“Power to all the people or to none”: Grassroots activism in amateur publications written by women, African Americans and the LGBT+ community

(left) cover for Ain’t I a Woman?, Vol. 1, no. 6. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/ZUOVWU043445773/GDCS?u=bham_uk&sid=GDCS&xid=91d72133, (right) Cover for Blackheart, Vol. 3

│By Karen Harker, Gale Ambassador at the University of Birmingham│

Anyone familiar with Gale Primary Sources knows that it provides archival access to major periodicals such as The Times, The Daily Mail, The Financial Times, and The Economist. The longevity and sustained popularity of these publications mean that they are often the first place a student or researcher might look for information on a historical topic, but it is worth remembering that a vast majority of the articles found in these newspapers are written by white, heterosexual, cisgender men. This is particularly true of anything published in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Even as women, people of colour and members of the LGBT+ community are increasingly employed by these newspapers, their contributions still exist in a notable and significant minority. While these newspapers are fantastic resources, they often only tell one side of the story.

Read more“Power to all the people or to none”: Grassroots activism in amateur publications written by women, African Americans and the LGBT+ community