Song Lyric Sunday – The Show Must Go On

The guest prompter for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is Melanie from Sparks From A Combustible Mind and she has given us Entertainment, Circus and Show. My mind went immediately to my Queen index and sure enough there was the perfect song. The Show Must Go On. It is a wonderful song written towards the end of Freddie Mercury’s life. I hope you enjoy it along with the video which is patchwork quilt of wonderful performances by Freddie and Queen along with humorous clips.

The Song

Guitarist Brian May wrote this while lead singer Freddie Mercury was dying of AIDS. It was Mercury’s last official album with Queen, and when it was released, very few people knew he had the disease.

The lyrics are about the need to press on and make the most out of life while you can still enjoy it. It is inevitably a comment on Mercury’s worsening condition, and his attitude towards life – May noted his incredible courage in the Days of our Lives documentary. “He never moaned, he never said ‘my life is s–t, this is terrible, I hate it,'” said May. “He had an incredible strength and peace.”

The song’s placing as the final track on Innuendo is notable, as it’s likely that the band thought that this might be the last album Mercury would be healthy enough to perform on before his death. In the sessions, he made enough recordings to provide the band with material to release the posthumous 1995 album Made In Heaven.

This was used in the movie Moulin Rouge. It is performed in an operatic style by Jim Broadbent and Nicole Kidman in a scene that sets up the climax of the movie.

In a 2005 poll by digital TV channel Music Choice where 45,000 adults across Europe were asked which song they would like played at their funeral, this was the favorite.

The video is mainly just clips of old Queen videos and a few live performances, but it is so cleverly edited and spliced together that it works as a video of it’s own.

This song was performed in dramatic style in 1997 with Elton John on guest vocals with an Italian ballet troupe. It would be John Deacon’s last performance with the band, and last public appearance – he retired from music after the performance.

The Lyrics

Empty spaces, what are we living for?
Abandoned places, I guess we know the score
On and on, does anybody know what we are looking for?
Another hero, another mindless crime
Behind the curtain, in the pantomime
Hold the line, does anybody want to take it anymore?

The show must go on
The show must go on
Inside my heart is breaking
My make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on

Whatever happens, I'll leave it all to chance
Another heartache, another failed romance
On and on, does anybody know what we are living for?
I guess I'm learning (I'm learning), I must be warmer now
I'll soon be turning (turning, turning, turning), 'round the corner now
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free

The show must go on
The show must go on (yeah yeah)
Ooh, inside my heart is breaking
My make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on


My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies
Fairy tales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly my friends

The show must go on, yeah
The show must go on
I'll face it with a grin
I'm never giving in
On with the show 

Ooh, I'll top the bill, I'll overkill
I have to find the will to carry on 
(On with the show, on with the show)

Show (show must go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on)
Writer/s: Roger Taylor, John Deacon, Brian May, Freddie Mercury 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Courtesy of Songfacts

  6 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – The Show Must Go On

  1. aisasami
    January 9, 2022 at 12:01 pm

    Wonderful choice! Mercury was such a powerhouse, a true artist, and such an inspiration. I love he final album he did with the band in 1991 because there are some great songs with a lot of retrospect themes.

    • Christine Bolton
      January 9, 2022 at 10:12 pm

      Amy, thank you so much! i’m so happy you enjoyed it. Yes he was pretty amazing. ☺️💕

  2. Christine Bolton
    January 2, 2022 at 11:55 am

    Thanks Willow! ☺️💕

  3. January 1, 2022 at 10:57 pm

    Somebody had to choose this song for the theme today and I am glad it was you Christine. Freddy was a real trouper, but this song is still kind of sad, as everyone still misses him.

    • Christine Bolton
      January 1, 2022 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks Jim. Yes I love this song and as you know I love Queen, particularly Freddie. He was such a great guy and the band loved him right to the end and they still do. His show does still go on even though he’s only there in spirit – they are still performing. ☺️💕

      • January 2, 2022 at 3:28 am

        A wonderful choice Christine, I love this song so much . I chose a Queen song too as part of this prompt…great group. 💜💜

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: