Neha Patil (Editor)

Who Wants to Live Forever

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15 September 1986



Vinyl record (7"/12")


5:15 (album version) 4:55 (Greatest Hits II CD edit) 4:01 (single version)

"Who Wants to Live Forever" is a song by the British rock band Queen. It is the sixth track on the album A Kind of Magic, released in June 1986, and was written by lead guitarist Brian May for the soundtrack to the film Highlander. The song peaked at No. 24 in the UK charts.


The song is used to frame the scenes in the film where Connor MacLeod must endure his beloved wife Heather MacLeod growing old and dying while he, as an Immortal, remains forever young. (It was later used in the episodes "The Gathering", "Revenge is Sweet", "The Hunters", "Line of Fire", and "Leader of the Pack" of the Highlander television series).

In the film, Freddie Mercury provides all the main vocals, while May sings lead vocals on the first verse on the album version, before Mercury takes over for most of the rest of the song, with May singing "But touch my tears with your lips" during Mercury's verse and then the final line of the song, "Who waits forever anyway?". An instrumental version of the song, titled "Forever", was included as a bonus track on the CD version of the album. This instrumental featured only a piano, with keyboard accompaniment during the chorus sections. The piano track was recorded solely by May. Queen was backed up by an orchestra, with orchestrations by the co-composer of the film's score, Michael Kamen. Since its release, the song has been covered by a number of artists.

Music video

The video was directed by David Mallet and filmed in a (now demolished) warehouse at Tobacco Wharf at London's East End in September 1986. It featured the National Philharmonic Orchestra with forty choirboys and hundreds and hundreds of candles which remain lit throughout filming as well as Mercury wearing a tuxedo suit. It is the only Queen video to feature bass guitarist John Deacon playing an upright bass. According to Roger Taylor in an interview for Queen's Greatest Video Hits II, he was drunk during the filming.

An alternate version with clips from the film Highlander (which the song appears in) appears on the video single with "A Kind of Magic" in October 1986 and later as a hidden music video on the Queen Greatest Video Hits II DVD in November 2003.


  • Freddie Mercury – lead and backing vocals
  • Brian May – lead and backing vocals, synthesiser, electric guitar, orchestral arrangements
  • John Deacon - bass guitar
  • Roger Taylor – drums, backing vocals
  • Michael Kamen – orchestral arrangements, conductor
  • National Philharmonic Orchestra – strings and percussion
  • Cover versions

  • Luciano Pavarotti called Giorgia for his charity concert Pavarotti & Friends where she performed the song. The recorded Live-CD was released in 1995.
  • Sarah Brightman covered this track on her 1997 album, Time to say Goodbye.
  • Polish singer Edyta Górniak recorded a cover called "Nieśmiertelni" in 2003, released on Moja i Twoja muzyka, RMF FM compilation album.
  • The Ten Tenors recorded a version on their album Here's to the Heroes, released in 2006.
  • Rock Star: INXS finalist, MiG Ayesa covered the song on his debut album MiG in 2007.
  • Katharine McPhee covered this song on the "Queen" themed week on American Idol's fifth season.
  • Eva Avila covered this song on the "1980's" themed week on Canadian Idol's fourth season.
  • In 2007, the song was covered by the band Gregorian on their album Masters of Chant Chapter VI.
  • Kady Malloy covered this song during "80's" week on American Idol's seventh season.
  • Jonathan Ansell covered this song for his 2nd album Forever, released in 2008
  • Rhydian Roberts covered this song on his debut album Rhydian, released on 24 November 2008.
  • Katherine Jenkins covered this song on her seventh album Believe, released on 26 October 2009.
  • Stacey Solomon performed the song on the sixth series of The X Factor.
  • David Garrett covered this song for his eighth album David Garrett, released in 2009.
  • During the 2009-2010 figure skating season, Chinese figure skating pair Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo performed their technical program to an instrumental version of the song. They included it at the 2010 Winter Olympics where they won gold
  • Kitty Brucknell performed the song on series eight of The X-Factor.
  • Jonathan and Charlotte performed a cover of this song in Italian on their 2012 album Together following their second-place finish on the 2012 season of Britain's Got Talent.
  • In 2013, Il Divo, recorded from "A Musical Affair" album, and included a strong 'power ballad' version of the song in Italian and English. For the French version of the album, they recorded the song with Anggun.
  • Lillie McCloud performed the song on the second part of the second live show of The X Factor U.S. season 3 (2013).
  • The Tenors featuring violinist Lindsey Sterling on their 2015 album "Under One Sky". The song was shot as a music video with the Tenors as vampires in the Anne Rice tradition.
  • Tributes

  • Seal performed a live version of this song at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992, noting that the song made him cry when he first heard it.
  • In 2005, the song was covered by Breaking Benjamin on the album Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen. It is also included on their greatest hits album Shallow Bay.
  • Closing the Isle of Wight Festival in England on 12 June 2016, Queen + Adam Lambert performed the song as a tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida earlier that day.
  • Funeral music

    In a 2005 poll conducted by digital television station Music Choice on what song Britons would most like played at their funeral, the song was voted the fifth most popular.

    Dune version

    German band Dune released their cover of "Who Wants to Live Forever", from their album Forever, as a single in October 1996.

    Dune's version of "Who Wants to Live Forever" sold more than 500,000 copies in Germany. The single peaked at No. 3 in the Austrian singles charts, No. 9 in the Swiss Charts, No. 12 in the Dutch Charts and No. 59 in the Swedish charts.

    Track listing

    1. Who Wants to Live Forever (Sixtysix Radio Mix) (3:54)
    2. Who Wants to Live Forever (South Bound Mix) (3:58)
    3. Highland Trilogy: One Day in Glencoe (4:49)
    4. Highland Trilogy: Valley of Tears (4:58)
    5. Highland Trilogy: In the Air, Part 2 (10:29)


    Released: 4 December 1996

    1. Who Wants to Live Forever (Komakino Remix) (5:32)
    2. Who Wants to Live Forever (Future Breeze Remix) (7:03)
    3. In the Air, Part 1 (5:13)

    Music video

    The music video of "Who Wants to Live Forever" was directed by Matt Broadley. It was shot in the Scottish Highlands.

    Sarah Brightman version

    Soprano Sarah Brightman released her cover of "Who Wants to Live Forever", from her album Timeless/Time to Say Goodbye, as a single in 1997 (See 1997 in music). The single peaked at No. 45 in the UK singles chart.

    CD single

    1. "Who Wants to Live Forever" (Album version)
    2. "Who Wants to Live Forever" (Xenomania club mix)

    Maxi CD single

    1. "Who Wants to Live Forever"
    2. "A Question of Honour"
    3. "Heaven Is Here"
    4. "I Loved You"

    12" vinyl

    1. "Who Wants to Live Forever (Trouser Enthusiasts 'Cybernetic Odalisque' Mix)"
    2. "Who Wants to Live Forever (Xenomania Club Mix)"
    3. "Who Wants to Live Forever (Xenomania Dub Mix)"
    4. "Who Wants to Live Forever (X-Citing Mix)

    Edyta Górniak version

    Polish singer Edyta Górniak released a cover of the song in 2003 called "Nieśmiertelni" (Immortals). She recorded the cover with Polish lyrics for the cover compilation album RMF FM – Moja i Twoja muzyka by Polish radio station RMF FM. It was released as a promo radio single by Pomaton EMI. The image on the cover was shot by photographer Robert Wolański.

    Track listing

    1. Nieśmiertelni (3:26)


    Who Wants to Live Forever Wikipedia

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