“Too Much Love Will Kill You” is a song written by British guitarist Brian May of Queen, Frank Musker, and Elizabeth Lamers. The song reflected the breakdown of May’s first marriage and attraction to his future wife, Anita Dobson. It was first recorded by Queen around 1988 or before, and was intended to be on the band’s The Miracle album in 1989, but did not make the cut due to legal disputes following the band’s decision that all songs on the album would be written by the group as opposed to individuals.
After Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991, May arranged a solo version, which he performed at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992, and subsequently included on his solo album Back to the Light that same year. Released as a single, it reached number five on the UK Singles Chart. Because it was first played publicly at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, a common misconception is that it was written as a tribute to Freddie Mercury, although it had actually been written several years before he died.
In 1995, the remaining members of Queen elected to include the original recording of “Too Much Love Will Kill You”, with Mercury on vocals, on the Made in Heaven album, released four years after Mercury’s death. Queen’s version is a power ballad characteristic of the late 1980s time period in which it was recorded, with heavy use of keyboards and electric guitar. It reached number 15 on the UK Singles Chart and number 19 on Canada’s RPM Top Singles chart in 1996. Although it failed to duplicate the chart success of May’s solo version, Queen’s version of the song has since come to be regarded as the definitive version, after being awarded “Best Song Musically and Lyrically” at the 1997 Novello Awards (May said later that if there was one song that he would have wanted to win an award for, it was this one), and being included on Queen’s Greatest Hits III.
The video for the Brian May version of the song was directed by David Mallet and features May singing the song to the camera, and is intercut with footage from various home movies. The video for the Queen version of the song was directed by DoRo and is a montage-style video of clips mainly from live performances and promo videos, and uses the Promo Edit version of the song.
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