|Kim Yeon-woo performs 'Bohemian Rhapsody' on MBC's 'King of Mask Singer' in April 2017. Screen capture from YouTube|
By Ko Dong-hwan
Following the Korean box office success of "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Korean versions" of the rock number by Queen are surfacing online.
The song and the British band have struck a chord with Koreans, with over 6 million tickets to the movie sold since its opening in late October. But Korean musicians have been producing their own versions of the song for years, with the earliest gig available on video dating back to 1998.
Korean covers of "Bohemian Rhapsody" have been performed on TV music shows and at concert venues. Musicians have ranged from a ballad singer and rocker to a K-pop girl band.
|Koh Yu-jin from Flower. Provided to Hankook Ilbo|
The outstanding performer is soloist Kim Yeon-woo, who has covered the song the most in a high-profile way.
Backed by a white-shirted choir, the singer raised the first installment of his "Bohemian series" on KBS TV music talk show "You Hee-yeol's Sketchbook" in 2012. His next gig was a concert in 2016.
The following year in Olympic Hall at Seoul's Olympic Park, the singer, whose nickname is God Yeon-woo, sang the song at his Christmas concert, "Oh My God Yeon Woo." This time, the act came with other Queen songs: "We will rock you," "Crazy little thing called love" and "Somebody to love." In his "Queen Medley," he switched from playing a drum to a guitar and to a piano for the different numbers.
Kim's latest "Bohemian Rhapsody" was performed in April 2017 when he appeared wearing a mask in TV music show "King of Mask Singer" on MBC. In the two-year anniversary special program, he performed the song as an opening act, wearing a white top, pants and a yellow blazer, imitating the outfit of Queen's Freddie Mercury.
|Son Seung-yeon. Provided to Hankook Ilbo|
Koh Yu-jin, a vocalist from rock band Flower, covered the song in a 2014 concert at Bundang Central Park in Seongnam and in several TV music acts years before. Another soloist rocker, Kim Kyung-ho, performed it on a TV music program in 1999.
Singer Son Seung-yeon's version from "Immortal Songs: Singing the Legend" on KBS in 2014 was used by foreigners for "YouTubers react" content.
One of the earliest versions was that by then top girl band FinKL in 1998. Four members, including now one of the hottest musical ticket sellers, Ock Joo-hyun, performed it on a TV music show on KBS. The number was rendered into an idol version and had backing dancers behind the stars.