Olympics Rewind: an Opera Rock Anthem for Barcelona 92

The long wait is over! A year later due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tokyo 2020 has already started and we couldn’t be more excited. In light of this special occasion, we’re going to talk about “Barcelona” (1987), the unforgettable single by operatic soprano Montserrat Caballé and Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury, which became an anthem for the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona. Stay with us to discover how such disparate artists joined forces to release a common project.

The story about both musicians starts in 1986 when Freddy Mercury (always an opera passionate) had the chance to have a meeting in Barcelona with Montserrat Caballé, an artist he’d been admiring since he saw her performing at the London Royal Opera House in 1983.

This meeting would lead to a musical partnership that resulted in an exquisite piece that brought together the very best of classic and contemporary music: Barcelona, the iconic anthem written ahead of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

Co-written by Mercury and Mike Moran, the single reached the eighth position in the UK Singles Chart, being one of the most successful hits of Mercury’s solo career. However, after being featured during the Barcelona 92 Olympic Games, the song peaked in the second position in the UK, the Netherlands and New Zealand. On the other hand, the official music video was released in October 1987, and it was directed by David Mallet.

The track starts with a marvellous orchestral section, which fades progressively to be followed by Freddie Mercury (singing in his baritone voice) and Montserrat Caballé (who performs the soprano part). Moreover, for the chorus, Mercury recorded his voice in several tracks.

Although the pair had planned to perform the single at the opening ceremony of Barcelona 92, the death of the British singer (eight months before the start of the event) made it impossible. Nevertheless, the song could be performed in 1987 at Ku Club Ibiza and in 1988 at La Nit.

Want to read more content relating to the Olympic Games? We invite you to check our article about the 7 best Olympic Games logos of all time here.