Queen’s “Jesus” Lyrics Meaning
Some people may find it odd that the late Freddie Mercury, back around the time when he was in his early twenties, not only wrote but recorded a song titled “Jesus” which is in fact about the Biblical figure. After all, Freddie went on to become an icon of homosexuality. This is a practice which is frowned upon by traditional Christianity. Moreover, Freddie was known to have grown up under a different faith known as Zoroastrianism.
And Freddie was in fact a Zoroastrian. He was so into this faith that when he passed, it was a priest from said religion who conducted his funeral, in London at that. But the interesting thing to note in relation to this track is that there are some known similarities and theoretical relationships between Zoroastrianism and Christianity. For instance, both believed in the coming of a messiah.
In fact the Three Wise Men of Nativity fame, i.e. the ones who sought out Baby Jesus, were actually Zoroastrians. They were not practitioners of Judaism. It is speculated by some scholars that other Zoroastrian beliefs, such as monotheism, may have gone to not only influence Christianity but also its predecessor, Judaism.
And “the Three Wise Men” are acknowledged in this song. But all of that said, it isn’t necessarily as if Queen is taking a religious stance per se. Yes, Freddie is celebrating the presence of “the Lord Jesus”. But he is doing so, at least as far as the first couple of verses are concerned, as if he were someone who was actually around during Jesus’ day.
And that particular narrative viewpoint was inspired by the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, which came out a couple of years prior to this track.
Lyrics Shed Light on Jesus’ Extraordinary Abilities
The lyrics serve the purpose of recounting some of Jesus’s acts and abilities. As far as the first verse goes, Mercury depicts himself as one of the spectators who “had gathered ‘round” to see Jesus. In that regard, he observes how different people react to him.
The second verse then illustrates that a man, apparently a leper, comes and entreats the titular figure by falling to his feet. And as is his standard, Jesus proceeds to miraculously help him. He miraculously transforms the leper into “a new man”.
The Three Wise Men
The third and fourth verses both focus on the Three Wise Men and how they “followed a star” to meet “a leader of man” whose forthcoming they were obviously aware of beforehand. So it wouldn’t be out of way to speculate that even though Freddie does not directly allude to his Zoroastrian beliefs, perhaps this is his way of doing so to those in the know, by shouting out the Magi twice.
As for the chorus, it centers on the sentence “all going down to see the Lord Jesus”. So in essence this is a gospel track, or let’s say definitely not the type of song that Queen went on to be known for. Freddie Mercury may not have been a Christian, but obviously he believed that Jesus existed and moreover is worthy of spiritual reverence, i.e. the title “Lord”.
So in closing, considering that this is one of the band’s earliest tracks, perhaps we can speculate that, if nothing else, at that juncture in history Freddie perceived some value in/or inclination in giving Jesus Christ an official, public shoutout.
When did Queen release “Jesus”?
This song dates back to Queen, i.e. Freddie and co.’s debut album, which was named after the band. That was a project which EMI and Elektra made public on 13 July 1973.
It was in fact the late Freddie Mercury (1946-1991) who wrote this track. On the production side, the entire Queen crew (i.e. Mercury, John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Brian May) is credited as co-producers. The crew shares the production credits with fellow English musicians:
- Roy Thomas Baker
- John Anthony