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Queen
A new feature every month, we look back at a classic bands that sold millions, influenced popular music and then disappeared and reappeared!

NOW.
We have to admit, Queen is one of our favourite bands of all time, and it's relatively easy why. Noted in particular for the musical eclecticism, the never-seen-before theatrics, Freddie Mercury's showmanship, and of course their flamboyant outfits ~ their music brought hope to us and millions the world over. They're one of the top five selling artists of all time; they've sold almost a hundred million records in singles and sales worldwide. Even today ~ artists as diverse as Guns n' Roses, Def Leppard, Robbie Williams, George Michael, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Green Day and even Sheryl Crow sight this band as being the major influence on their sounds. Nirvana's lead singer Kurt Cobain's suicide note even mentioned how much he admired and envied lead singer Freddie Mercury.

Although Mercury may have passed on in the real world close to fifteen years ago, his music and legacy lives on forever. And now after all this time, the remaining members of his band Queen are back in the news, for the band has returned with a new lead singer ~ and even released a new album. Now to you younger kids out there who can't recall the 70's and early to mid 80's, this may seem like a new sound. We at The Record were surprised that someone would even dare to fill in Mercury's shoes. We'll give you our take on that one…but first a look back at what made this band unique and groundbreaking for it's time….

QUEEN THEN
The original line up of Queen began life as a glam rock unit in 1970. Astronomy student Brian May and aspiring dentist Roger Taylor were in a band called Smile with bass player Tim Staffell. Art student Freddie Bulsara was Tim's roommate in Ealing Arts College and followed Smile's music closely. When Tim Staffell quit the band, Freddie decided to step in for Tim and history was about to begin. Bulsara changed his last name to Mercury ~ after the messenger of the gods ~ when the band was getting started. They had a number of bass players, but it was not until 1971 that they found John Deacon and started to rehearse for what would emerge as the first album of Queen. The rest as they say is history.

QUEEN LIVE
Queen's live performances were truly ground-breaking, for in the seventies they changed live concerts forever from the staid, stodgy events that had prevailed since the time of the Beatles, where performers would merely stand around and play their instruments. Employing massive lighting rigs, pyrotechnics, and other special effects to make their shows into engaging theatrical events ~ the energy with which they performed and the excitement, enthusiasm and pure adrenaline Freddie Mercury brought with his vocal performance, was so natural and so genuine that their audiences have always joined in and sung along with them.

Queen embarked upon many popular tours, with memorable shows including the historic Live Aid concert held at Wembley Stadium in England, and the Rock In Rio festival in Brazil, although only the group's final tour, in support of the album A Kind of Magic, ever actually made any money. The Wembley Concert, part of a UK tour in 1986, attracted 150,000 people over two nights and became one of the best selling concerts of all time, when it was released on home video.

QUEEN'S MUSIC
Queen's music was a bizarre yet highly accessible fusion of pop, rock 'n roll and even jazz ~ a huge, mock-operatic sound with layered guitars and overdubbed vocals. For years, their albums boasted the motto 'no synthesizers were used on this record', signaling their allegiance with the legions of post-Black Sabbath hard rock bands. Like their heroes The Beatles, Queen explored different kinds of topics throughout their career in their music. Beginning with News Of The World in 1977, Queen actually began to write songs with the specific purpose of involving the crowd (We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions) and brilliantly tailored songs (like Radio Ga Ga) to involve claps. This resulted in a stunning moment at Live Aid at which almost 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium clapped their hands over their head in unison to Radio Ga Ga.


You can read the rest of our feature on Queen in the October 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.











ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

Ricky Martin
Santana
Darren Hayes
James Blunt
Sheryl Crow
Westlife
T.A.T.U
The Cardigans
Rahul Vaidya
Starsailor
Bappi Lahiri
DJ Rainer Klang
Getting Started: The Guitar
Goldfrapp
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