Princes of the Universe

Song Review by

In the 1980's, Queen shocked many long-time fans by adding synthesizers to their sound and experimenting with glossy, minimalist dance music to complement their usual pomp-rock hits. Despite these growing pains, the band could always be counted for at a least few gutsy rockers on every album. One of their best rockers from this period was "Princes Of The Universe," a song that was composed for the soundtrack of the film Highlander. The lyrics were the stuff of pure fantasy rock as they chronicled the film’s main characters, a race of immortal swordfighters: "Born to be free/Princes of the universe/Fighting and free/Got your world in my hand/I’m here for your love and I make my stand/We were born to be princes of the universe." The music backing this fanciful narrative is appropriately grand, matching swaggering midtempo verse melodies to a breathless, high-voltage chorus that builds to a bombastic peak. Queen’s recording of "Princes Of The Universe" is a stomping hard rock delight, layering squalling guitars over a throbbing midtempo backbeat during the verses and speeding up to a furious blitz on the chorus. Freddie Mercury delivers the lyrics in an operatically powerful style and the group supplies appropriately regal backing harmonies throughout. Surprisingly, this stylish rocker failed to make much a chart impression on either side of the Atlantic but it has become a cult favorite with Queen fans. It also spawned an entertaining music video that features Freddie Mercury having a sword fight with Highlander star Christopher Lambert and later became the opening credits movie for the Highlander television series.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
A Kind of Magic 1986 Island / Universal 3:33
Greatest Hits III 1999 Hollywood 3:31
Princes of the Universe 2000 EMI Music Distribution 3:33
Greatest Hits: I II & III: The Platinum Collection 2001 Hollywood 3:31
The Singles Collection, Vol. 3 2010 EMI / Parlophone 3:31
Queen 40: Limited Edition Collector's Box Set, Vol. 3 2012 Hollywood 3:33