The director of Queen‘s iconic Bohemian Rhapsody video has died

Still from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody video
(Image credit: Queen YouTube)

Bruce Gowers, who directed videos for Rush, Journey, Prince, Supertramp, Michael Jackson and, most famously, Queen's iconic promo for Bohemian Rhapsody, has died, aged 82. 

The British director died on January 15 in Santa Monica, California of complications from an acute respiratory infection, his family announced.

Gowers' video for Bohemian Rhapsody, filmed in under four hours at the BBC's Elstree Studios in London in November 1975, was the first video ever show on Top Of The Pops.

"We all knew it was a gamble and we really expected them to dump it," the director told the Daily Mail in 2016. "But we sat around a TV set at the editing facility with our fingers crossed, and bam there it was… It was played everywhere."

"It changed the way music was perceived: everyone was doing videos and bands were seeing their sales and chart positions rise if their videos were good."

A statement from the family of the director, who also directed nine series of American Idol, reads: "[Gowers] always brought boundless enthusiasm, energy, passion and joy to his work.

"He loved and was loved by the crews that he worked with and was known far and wide for his generosity as a colleague, constantly encouraging and promoting the talented people on his team.

"Funny, irreverent and wonderfully candid, he will be remembered in countless legendary stories that will keep his charming spirit alive for many years to come. He was always happiest in the control room, on a boat in the Bahamas, and of course, at home with the dogs, friends and family."

Gowers directed Rush's videos for Limelight and Tom Sawyer, Rod Stewart's video for Hot Legs, 10cc's video for I'm Not In Love, and Prince's video for 1999.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.