Queen’s much-loved “Teo Torriatte” – originally written in tribute to the band’s Japanese fans – appeared during the opening ceremonies of the 2020 Tokyo Games which officially begin today on July 23.
Japan very quickly took Queen to their hearts, signaling the beginning of a deep bond that endures to this very day.
As early as 1974, in Japan, Music Life Magazine had started to feature pictures of the band and report on their albums. The style of music and stage show struck an immediate chord, and so in April 1975, Queen embarked on an eight-night tour of Japan. Their very first concert on Japanese soil would be at the world-famous Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, an arena dedicated to martial arts and concerts, and it’s fair to say the band had no idea what was in store for them.
Roger Taylor said: “We knew there was sort of demand for us there and so we tagged it on to the end of an American tour. We had a holiday in Hawaii and then it was, sort of, logical, so we went there. We arrived at the airport and suddenly realized it was on a scale different to that which we’d imagined – there were thousands of people there, just to welcome us. Normally you just don’t get that sort of thing anywhere.”
This first encounter marked the beginning of a deep bond between Queen and Japan, with each leaving a lasting impression on the other. So much so, it inspired Brian May to write a song as a special tribute to their Japanese audience with “Teo Torriatte”. The song originally featured on the band’s 1976 A Day At The Races album containing two choruses sung in Japanese.
Record executive Kaz Utsunomiya said: “They never expected the band to come up with a song like “Teo Torriatte”, which is mainly for the Japanese market. The band has different songs for all over the world, but I think “Teo Torriatte” you can only listen to them doing that in Japan.”