Love of my Life is a track by Queen off of the 1975 album A Night at the Opera. A Freddie Mercury penned ballad, it is sweet, sentimental and utterly beautiful. Although beginning as a reproach - "Love of my life, you've hurt me, you've broken my heart and now you leave me" it ultimately ends as a hopeful song - everything, the singer believes will blow over and: "When I grow older, I will be there at your side to remind you how I still love you".

It is a near-perfect love song, in and of itself, but it was transformed, made transcendent in live performance. Rearranged by Brian May for 12 string acoustic guitar from the original piano arrangement, it was heralded by two stools arriving on stage. Freddie would take one, Brian the second, and silence would fall over the audience, no matter how large, as the first strains of the song washed gently over them.

It would open with Freddie singing the first verse to the crowd and then at the refrain they would take it up with him as their part of a duet between lovers: "Back, hurry back, please bring it back home to me" strong (it was being carried by thousands of voices, after all), but quiet to begin with, rising to the climax "because you don't know what it means to me". At the second half of the second verse, Freddie's voice would die away and the crowd were singing to him, until he returned with the third verse and the song closed in unison, crowd and Mercury together.

The combination of the purity and simplicity of the melody, the honest emotion of the lyric and the total engagement of singer, guitarist and audience made it pretty much impossible to be present through this without a lump rising to the throat.


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