Friday, December 20, 2013

Queen Will Always Rock Me

 As far as I can remember, Queen was always a part of my life. I grew up with Queen- they got really hot in the 1980s (Freddie Mercury in his mustache) after being together since 1971. There was Live Aid, the Wembley Stadium in 1986 before they quietly quit touring after when Freddie discovered he had AIDs and was dead in 5 years. I remember seeing their music videos on MTV- when the channel was all about music before it became a reality network and Brian May doing some introductions and little stories here and there behind the hits. I think I have those still on VHS tapes. Freddie with his powerful operatic voice that could range from opera to head-banging rock. John Deacon with this heart-beating bass, Roger Taylor and his drums and Brian with his lead guitar- they were such a great band. Yes they fought but only because they had a vision and knew what they wanted and in the end the main songwriter would win. They were also creative and open-minded- Freddie loved Brian's guitar at the end of Bohemian Rhapsody while Brian thought it should've just been the piano but, as I just wrote not that long ago, the songwriter (Freddie) would win at the end. They were also encouraging with one another- Freddie, Brian and Roger convinced John to submit any songs so that he would have a financial pillow cushion rather than his bass playing so he could live comfortably many years to come without going broke. They had management and financial issues in the 1970s from being screwed and banded together- John was their money man who managed to sort out their earnings.
After Freddie died and John retired, Brian and Roger continued on with Queen. First they enlisted Paul Rogers from Bad Company. I wasn't too thrilled with that one. Don't get me wrong- I do like Paul Rogers- he has a great singing voice but it wasn't fit for Queen's music. Maybe for the hard rockers like Liar and Tie Your Mother Down but not for Killer Queen. I honestly thought just end Queen and form another band in another name if Brian and Roger wanted to play in a band. Then came Adam Lambert. Now I'll admit that I haven't watched American Idol after quitting mid-way into season 2 as I lost interest but once I heard about Queen being a guest to play on American Idol with Adam, I thought "Now we are talking!" I do think Adam is a much better suited singer for Queen. He has that Freddie vibe about him- they are both showmen, powerful singers, and yes, both are gay. Adam can get away with singing Killer Queen or Bohemian Rhapsody. I approve of this replacement. Thankfully, Roger and Brian did realize that Paul wasn't fitting into their mold as I already realized before.
 Freddie...the picture above is my kind of Freddie. Man he was hot in the 1970s. Yes, I know, gay. And dead. But do I care? No. He's fascinating to me. He's also a cat lover like me. His birthday is in September, like me (except different days and different horoscope). Freddie has a voice like no other. As I mentioned before, Freddie had a huge range of his voice to be able to go anywhere from rock to opera; if he was alive today I wouldn't have any doubt that he would be involved in more genres- like Country, Hip-Hop/Rap. Freddie died in 1991 from complications of AIDs. I remember very clearly of hearing the news that Freddie was dead. I was 10 years old. I had just gotten home from seeing a magic show (David Copperfield) with my grandmother. Mom was home watching TV and there was Freddie, showing a clip from Bohemian Rhapsody's music video with those two year-dates of his birth and death. When I went to bed, I cried my eyes out. Next thing I know, AIDs was everywhere- in ads, news, being discussed in school. It was a heavy topic. He had released the news of him having AIDs after being hounded by the press and rumors and the following day, Freddie was gone. I honestly don't remember the announcement- I could've been just too young to understand what was going on until after his death and the AIDs awareness spread like wildfires. Freddie's death was the first death that really affected me to remember- like "Where were you when JFK or John Lennon died?". Well I take that back- Lucille Ball's death had an impact on me but the memory is sketchy- I was still a little girl and I do recall hearing about it but I don't know where I was, who I was with, how I heard the news nothing like how I heard about Freddie's death. Perhaps it was because Lucille was in her 80s and had heart surgery, dying of a heart attack so it wasn't as shocking. I suppose I can say that although Lucille's death was my first celebrity death, Freddie's death had the most impact.
I remember back in the mid-2000s, my grandmother, Mom and I were on a road trip and we had music in the car- Bohemian Rhapsody came on during our CD circulation/rotation. The first time it came on, Grandma got a good kick out of with the opera bit. The second time it came on, this time around Grandma listened to the lyrics and had a freak out. The song was talking about killing a man and she wasn't thrilled, realizing that ever since I was a child I was crazy about them and hearing about this. She gave my mother a hard time about it "How could you let her listen to this????"...Wait a minute! First of all, the song came out in 1975 while my mother was a teenager and at the time, Grandma didn't say anything. Second of all, my Mom pointed out to her that there's other classic songs that talked about murder- Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin was an example. Grandma eventually got quiet and Mom and I quietly took Bohemian Rhapsody out of it's rotation of playing. I am wondering what Grandma was really afraid of- was she scared that I would turn into a murderer? I'm sure Grandma gave Freddie a third degree interrogation after when she died some time later.
After Freddie's death, John went on to perform with Roger and Brian to work on Made in Heaven with the remaining tracks Freddie left behind to release and three live performances before retiring. John was always the shy one- Freddie was shy too but once he got on the stage, his showman persona came out and he was fearless of anything. John kept quiet- he did perform, letting Brian, Roger and Freddie have the spotlight of their performances. It's been said that John suffered depression after Freddie's death. I think of all the members of Queen, John took Freddie's death the hardest. I suppose that to him, his musician days were over the moment Freddie died with very few exceptions. Although, according to both Roger and Brian, John wrote them a letter saying that he approves of whatever they do with Queen (he does get his fair share of percentage of the pie). He was last seen at Queen's Broadway production of We Will Rock You premiere, Roger thought he was there to see what his investment was all about. Other than that, there's ideas that John was playing golf and enjoying retirement. I'm sure he is and I hope he is too. John was (and still is) a very talented bass man. I do miss his presence in Queen whenever I see Roger and Brian perform.
I have this picture as a poster, hanging in my bedroom

My Favorite Songs of Queen (in no particular order other than what's coming to my mind)
Bohemian Rhapsody
Killer Queen
You're My Best Friend
Now I'm Here
Tie Your Mother Down
One Vision
The Miracle
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Invisible Man
Another One Bites the Dust
Seven Seas of Rhye
Millionaire Waltz
Keep Yourself Alive
It's a Kind of Magic
Stone Cold Crazy
Death on Two Legs
We Will Rock You (both fast and classic versions)
Sheer Heart Attack
Under Pressure
Bicycle Race
Fat Bottom Girls
I'm Going Slightly Mad
Princes of the Universe
I Want It All

I would put down These Are the Days of Our Lives but decided not to- it makes me cry. I love I Want to Break Free's music video where Queen dressed as women but the song is a take it or leave it. I must have been one of the very few people in America who thought that the music video was funny while the rest weren't too thrilled. 

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