A series of framed handwritten lyric prints for some of Queen’s best-loved songs are now on display in the Queen – The Greatest pop-up store in London. They’re joined by a replica of Freddie Mercury’s “prawn suit,” as it became known, created for Queen’s 1984 video for “It’s A Hard Life.”
The artifacts are part of the dedicated Art & Design month at the store, which was created in partnership with Bravado, Universal Music Group’s merchandise and brand management company.
The unique lyric sheets have survived from the original session recording master tape boxes, and represent the work of all four members of the peerless quartet. They contain the words from Queen’s 1984 smash written by John Deacon, “I Want to Break Free,” as well as Mercury’s “Man On The Prowl” and Brian May’s “Hammer To Fall,” which were also on that year’s The Works album, and Roger Taylor’s new wave-influenced “Action This Day,” from the band’s previous set, 1982’s Hot Space. The words to May’s song are in Mercury’s handwriting.
Visitors to the store in London’s Soho, which is open until January, are also invited to see Mercury’s outfit for the “It’s A Hard Life” video, ‘created by costume designer Natasha Korniloff. It was revisited for Freddie’s video for his 1987 solo hit “The Great Pretender.”
Korniloff was also widely feted for her work on productions such as Hamlet and the celebrated video for David Bowie’s 1980 No.1 “Ashes to Ashes.” She designed the extravagant, form-fitting, feathered red outfit in the Queen promo clip especially for Mercury, who of course carried it off with his usual flair.
The replica on display in the pop-up store was commissioned by the Freddie Mercury Estate and meticulously recreated by Graham Tuckett, and can be viewed in the store at 57 Carnaby Street, London, W1, until the end of December. In January, in the pop-up’s final month, the pop-up will follow its Music and Art & Design months with a Magic theme.