Queen's Brian May releases tear-jerking alternative version to classic single Too Much Love Will Kill You

Brian May
(Image credit: Brian May)

Queen's Brian May has shared a heart-wrenching alternative version of his classic tune Too Much Love Will Kill You. The reimagined song will appear on May's remastered Back To The Light album, set to arrive on August 6.

On the song's initial release back in August 1992, Too Much Love Will Kill You peaked at number 5 in the UK singles chart. It was first previewed earlier that year in April to 72,000 fans at Wembley Stadium for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. Due to the timing of the debut, many fans thought the song was written with the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in mind, who died a year previous. 

However, May notes that the tune actually dates back to 1986-7, and was written with songwriters Elizabeth Lamers and Frank Musker, following a bout of personal and romantic issues that left him in a "tangled state of mind".

Too Much Love Will Kill You is a big, long story and the version that you hear on Back to the Light is the original," he says. "It has the original keyboard that I played when we were writing the song.

"Me and Frank Musker, and his lady friend at the time, were in a room and it was like a therapy session for me. I was just pouring out all these words because I felt like I was trapped. I was in a place that I could never, ever get out of. All I could do is write about it. This is the only song I wrote in that probably nine months or a year period.” 

"The things that I struggle with are still there. Too Much Love Will Kill You is a chronicle of what’s actually buried deepest inside me. Every word on it, as I listen to it now, every word counts for me. Every word I would still stand by. It’s exactly how I am inside. I say ‘am’ in the present tense because I’ve come to the realisation that I haven’t changed that much. It’s the one opportunity I had in my life to tell it as I saw it.  In a way, it’s the most important song I ever wrote because it does sum up life’s journey for me.”

Too Much Love Will Kill You was also released on Queen's 1995 album Made In Heaven, recorded with Mercury's vocals in 1989. The Queen release also earned May a Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

Discussing the Queen version, May says: “I loved working with Freddie to do that vocal. We were aware that the song was becoming something different, and it meant something different. We were all aware of it. We obviously knew Freddie’s days were probably limited barring a miracle. So the song started to feel like something different. And we didn’t shy away from making it very big, very Queen-like. And I like it.

“But if you want to hear what the song originally had poured into it, with the blood, sweat and tears of my life, then that’s this version.”

Listen to Too Much Love Will Kill You (remastered) below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.