What can I say? I was never a Queen fan. First-rate musicians and singers, certainly; fine blokes, no doubt (if we’re to believe the biopic). A few undeniable classic tunes in there. But the overblown drama, the gazillion stacked vocals, the rock star posing and cliches… just never my thing.
But I am a Jake Shimabukuro fan, so who better to deliver Queen’s undisputed magnum opus, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in a way that’s palatable to a Queen-cynic like me? It would be interesting to learn how many of the 10.3 million people who have watched this 2010 performance on YouTube are Queen fans first, Jake and/or uke fans second, and vice-versa. Whatever, it’s pretty darn cool. A studio version of Jake playing the song appeared on his 2011 album Peace Love Ukulele, and various sheet music versions of his uke arrangement are available on the internet. —Blair Jackson