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Queen Appreciation

Discussion in '70's Music' started by Cosmic Harmony, Feb 1, 2010.

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  1. Cosmic Harmony

    Cosmic Harmony Senior Member

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    [​IMG]


    In the late 60's a young guitarist decided to get a rock band together. This guitarist was Brian May. He recruited bassist Tim Staffell and put out ads for a drummer that led a young dental student named Rodger Taylor to them and he was quickly recruited. This trio would become Smile.
    While attending art college Staffell became friends with fellow student Farrokh Bulsara (who would take on the English name "Freddie") who became an astute fan of Smile.
    In late 1970 Staffell left smile to join the band Humpy Bong. The remaining Smile members, May and Taylor, continued to work together and would change their name to "Queen" under persistent encouragement from Freddie. Later when asked why Freddie chose the name "Queen" he responded with:

    "I thought up the name Queen. It's just a name, but it's very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid. It's a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it."


    After a revolving door of bassists Queen finally settled on John Deacon and began to record demos. Queen's earliest recording were "Liar", "Keep Yourself Alive", "The Night Comes Down", "Jesus", and "My Fairy King" which all appeared on their debut album. It was around this time that Freddie would change his last name to "Mercury" inspired by the line in the latter mentioned song "Mother Mercury, look what they've done to me". It is popularly misconstrued that the inspiration was in the reverse order.
    Queen had many complications while recording their self titled debut. Initially no record companies were interested in their demos so they had to handle the album themselves. Because of this the band had to record in cheap studios and more often then not would only be given the chance to record for small increments of time in one sitting so the songs had to placed together in a very unusual fashion that limited the over sound Queen wished to produce. Usually they would record late at night, very early in the morning, or during other time slots that other bands thought were undesirable. Regardless of this their debut was very well received by critics, though not in records sales, and is often called "one of the most overlooked hard rock debuts ever".
    When Queen went back into the studio to record their follow up "Queen II" they were more acclimated with the recording process and given much more time to record than they had for the debut and it showed. "Queen II" had the complex vocal harmonies and overdubs that Queen would one day become known for and make famous. Fueled by the Freddie Mercury composed "Seven Seas Of Rhye" (which was also the closing track on their debut, though it was incomplete and lacked vocals) "Queen II" reached the top 5 on their native UK charts and is often referred to as their darkest album and a favorite among hardcore Queen fans ((myself included)). It was with this album that Queen fully expressed their "No Synth" stance of the 70's as many people believe the unusual recording techniques and Brian May's Red Special were all done with synthesizers and the band believed that tarnished the complexity and overall compositions of their work. It was also during this time the Queen toured in support of Mott The Hoople and gained quite a bit of attention for their live performances.
    It was with the release of their third album in 1974, "Sheer Heart Attack" that Queen truly rocked into stardom. Spearheaded on the radio by the hit singles "Now I'm Here" and "Killer Queen" the album became a worldwide hit and is still recognized as one of the band's finest albums. It was with this album that Queen began to pull away from the progressive sound of their first two albums in favor of many different musical styles and melodies that ranged from heavy metal to ragtime to hints of calypso. The direction that Queen began to developed on "Sheer Heart Attack" would become truly refined on their next album and what is commonly called their finest album and magnum opus, "A Night At The Opera".
    In 1975 Queen began working on what would become the most expensive album ever made at the time, "A Night At The Opera". Taking their diverse musical blends and arrangement to never before seen placed Queen fully utilized stereo sound to create grand, sweeping musical compositions. The focal point that "A Night At The Opera" built up to would be what is often called one of the greatest recordings in popular music, "Bohemian Rhapsody".
    "Bohemian Rhapsody" hold no set chorus though does have very distinctive parts. It was composed solely by Freddie Mercury and contains over 170 overdubs. It was written to be a sort of mock trial and deals with many enigmatic lyrics that some believe are "random rhyming nonsense", but Brian May has stated in more recent years that the song is a bombardment of imagery and symbolism that represents many traumas that Freddie had, in particularly with his sexuality. The song would go one to be a massive worldwide hit, despite it being uncharacteristically long for a hit single and for it having no set chorus. All the same since it's release "Bohemian Rhapsody" has broken numerous records and is often ranked among ever "greatest of all time" lists.
    After adequately supporting "A Night At The Opera" through touring Queen was back in the studio to record it's follow up "A Day At The Races" which, like it's predecessor, was also named after a Marx Brothers' film. Also, it featured similar overdubbing technique, though used in different musical styles such as the gospel theme of lead single "Somebody To Love". It was also a successful from both a commercial and critical stance with other hit singles being "Tie Your Mother Down" and "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy".
    The following year Queen shifted their sound yet again by stripping their arrangements back down to the rock roots of their earliest albums. This took the form of "News Of The World" which would go on to be one of Queen's highest selling albums. Initially some believed this release was "boring" compared to their previous releases but after seeing the commanding success of the double A-side "We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions" it became apparently that Queen could use their signature overdubbing technique to create walls of sound that could be specifically aimed towards pop audiences and such songs would go on to become some of the most publicly recognized songs of all time, especially for their use in sporting events which Mercury had in mind while writing "We Are The Champions".
    Their next album "Jazz" would prove to be their most diverse in terms of musical styles. Despite the name there is no real jazz on the album though nearly every track is a different genre. Being lead by the double A-side single "Fat Bottomed Girls/Bicycle Race" the album was yet another hit and would be the last Queen album to following their strict "No Synth" moto.
    In 1980 Queen released "The Game", which would break their longstanding slogan of "No Synth" from the very beginning of the album with the lead track "Play The Game" having a blatant synth into. Despite going back on what they used to say so adamantly "The Game" would be the only Queen album to reach #1 on both the UK and US charts and was home to many of Queen's biggest hits such as the rockabilly "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and the bass driven boogie "Another One Bites The Dust". The latter song stirred up controversy because when backmasking the chorus the song seems to say "It's fun to smoke marijuana". Queen repeated stated that they did not do that on purpose, but whether or not because of the rumor "Another One Bites The Dust" became Queen's highest selling single.
    Following "The Game" Queen released the disco/funk driven "Hot Space". This album caused quite a stir within the band as bassist John Deacon (the only member of Queen to have funk and soul roots as opposed to rock) wanted to keep as much rock out of the album as possible and that caused a riff between the other member, specifically with Brian May as his compositions were often the heaviest in Queen's catalog. Despite this the album yielded the hit David Bowie collaboration "Under Pressure", which would be Queen's second #1 single in their native UK, the other being "Bohemian Rhapsody".
    That same year Queen released their first compilation album which would be hugely successful and is the highest selling album of all time in the UK.
    After steadily touring for the last decade Queen opted not to tour in 1983. During this Queen members worked on side projects and the band worked on their next album "The Works". When released "The Works" was lead by the synth dominated hit "Radio Ga Ga" which would be one of their biggest hits of the 80's. More prominent than on perhaps any other Queen album is the presence of synthesizers. The biggest hits of the album "I Want To Break Free" and the previously mention "Radio Ga Ga" were composed almost solely on synth, however the rest of the album retained the different styles that Queen's albums had become known for. "Hammer To Fall" is one of the heavier songs of Queen's career, "Man On The Prowl" follows a similar rockabilly style of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "Is This the World We Created...?" is a very gentle acoustic song about world crisis, and so on and so on.​
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  2. Cosmic Harmony

    Cosmic Harmony Senior Member

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    Re: Queen ~ February 2010 Band of the Month

    In 1985 Queen played at Wembley Stadium for Live Aid and this performance (clocked at under 20 minutes) is consider the greatest live gig of all time. The band opened with the "Bohemian Rhapsody", though due to a strict "no pre-recordings" rule at the event they were unable to play the operatic section so they just played the piano section before leading the entire crowd into clapping in rhythm and singing along with "Radio Ga Ga", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "Hammer To Fall", "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions". This performances inspired the opening track, "One Vision", to Queen's next album "A King Of Magic".
    "A Kind Of Magic" was a hit and it's songs were featured prominently in the film "The Highlander". Hits included the previously mention "One Vision", the title track, "Who Want To Live Forever", and "Friends Will Be Friends". On supporting "Magic" tour they revised Wembley to recoding their "Live at Wembley '86" album. "The Magic" would be Queen's last tour as Freddie Mercury would contract AIDS soon after.
    After Brian May spiraled into depression because of a brutal divorce and after the band learned of Freddie illness the band considered breaking up but stayed together and recorded "The Miracle" which had hit singles "I Want It All" and "Breakthru".
    After no tour to support "The Miracle" rumors spread and it was popularly believed that Freddie had contracted AIDS from his gaunt appearance and lack of interviews.
    Despite his failing health Freddie continued to have a key role in Queen's musical direction and in 1991 they released "Innuendo" which was their darkest album since "Queen II". The album was in many ways the bands way of coming to terms with Freddie's approaching death. The title track was a huge hit as was "These Are The Days Of Our Life", "Headlong", "I'm Going Slightly Mad", and "The Show Must Go On". The latter track, the closing track, was written about how no matter what Freddie will continue to write music as long as he can. The song has some of the highest notes Mercury had hit in years. Brian May had a hard time singing the song himself and has serious doubts about whether or not Freddie could do it. Freddie then drank a sum of vodka and told Brian "I'll f*cking do it darling." before going into the studio and recording the song in one take.
    On November 23, 1991 Freddie issued a statement that confirmed that his long questioned sexuality and that he in fact did have AIDS. He requested to be taken off medication and all the machines, as he could barely move let alone sing. According to his best friend Mary Austin he died peacefully and with a smile on his face.
    Following his death the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was put together to raise money for AIDS awareness. It was view by over 1.2 billion people and is the most viewed live concert in history.
    Four years later the three surviving Queen members released Queen's final album "Made In Heaven". After the release of "Innuendo" Freddie told the rest of the band that they could come to him with any lyrics and any melodies and he would sing them and he wanted the songs to be finished after he passed to leave fans with as much material as possible. "Made In Heaven" went to number #1 in countries across the world and is Queen's highest selling studio album.
    In 1997 Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor all returned to the studio together for the final time. They recorded "No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)" for both Princess Diana and for Freddie Mercury. This would be the last song composed under the Queen name and the only song to not feature Mercury.​
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  3. Magic

    Magic Woman of the World

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    Re: Queen ~ February 2010 Band of the Month

    :yay:

    the Queen Thread is up and running! Nice write up so far :)

    [​IMG]

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  4. Lynch

    Lynch Here for the cookies and the tunes

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    Re: Queen ~ February 2010 Band of the Month

    good writeup
     
  5. rtbuck

    rtbuck Senior Member

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    Re: Queen ~ February 2010 Band of the Month

    Awesome job Cosmic!!

    I first heard of Queen with "Bohemian Rhapsody" when it first was released.That was back in the day when 45's were all I would buy. I still had no idea what Hard Rock or metal was,all that mattered was what was being played on WKBW AM's top 20 countdown.Even though I didn't understand music the 45's I was buting was stuff like "Squeeze Box" by the Who,"Island Girl" by Elton John, "R & R All Nite" by Kiss(I didn't even know about the costumes & Make up!),"Devil Woman" by Cliff Richard,"Love is Alive" by Gary Wright, & of course "Bohemian Rhapsody". I just think of those cold wintery days where my Dad would somehow squeeze 7 or 8 of us 12 year old kids in his car along with all of our hockey equipment(this was before seatbelt laws here in NY State)to travel 25-30 miles to play in a hockey game.I always had WKBW AM on & whenever "Bohemian Rhapsody" came on it was always a hilarious singalong which probably gave my dad a headache.

    A few years later I was now into Kiss,Aerosmith,Nugent,Cheap Trick...etc & one afternoon I was at my good friend DJ's house. His Dad was working so that meant it was time to crank up the stereo. Another friend of ours named Kevin showed up with an album that blew me away... Queen 'News of the World'. All I had to do was look at the artwork & that was it I had to have that record. The beat of "We Will Rock You" started up "Boom Boom Tschi,Boom Boom Tschi,Boom Boom Tschi...etc" & then singing about Blood on your face & then an anthem chorus of We Will Rock You followed by a guitar solo!!! Wow! "We are the Champions" was an awesome follow up & a beautiful song. "Sheer Heart Attack" just had so much energy that I didn't need to hear anymore I was sold. I immediately started thinking of my record albums at home figuring that I could trade for the album & bring it home that evening. I wasn't going to take no for an answer & after a while it worked I traded ELO 'New World Record' & 'Frampton Comes Alive'(now I could look back & be a little puzzled but at the time it made sense because I was only 15 so I didn't really have much money & I couldn't drive to the mall & besides in my book Frampton wimped out w/'I'm in You' so I could've cared less about Frampton at that point). That was it I had now added Queen to my favorite band's list & soon picked up 'Sheer Heart attack' & 'Night at the Opera'.
     
  6. Cosmic Harmony

    Cosmic Harmony Senior Member

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    Re: Queen ~ February 2010 Band of the Month

    That took me over 2 hours to write by the way. :heheh:

    Some fun facts now that I was too worn out to add earlier...

    *Queen is the second highest selling rock band of all time behind on the Beatles with over 300 million albums.

    *In their native country of the UK they have the highest selling album ("Greatest Hits") and have the highest overall chart success of anyone.

    *They are also the only group in which every member wrote more than one chart topping single.

    *Their Greatest Hits I & II are the highest selling albums on iTunes.

    *"Bohemian Rhapsody" has won the annual Guinness Book of World Record "Most popular song" poll more than any other song, with it being dethrone by "We Are The Champions" on more than one occasion. Both songs were composed solely by Freddie Mercury.

    *Queen is the only group to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame as a band.

    *"Bohemian Rhapsody" is the only single to ever sell over a million copies at two separate times, upon it's original release in 1975 and after Freddie Mercury's passing in 1991.
     
  7. METALPRIEST

    METALPRIEST Senior Member

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    Re: Queen ~ February 2010 Band of the Month

    Congrats QUEEN!!!!!!!!!

     
  8. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Re: Queen ~ February 2010 Band of the Month

    And here I thought you were slacking Cosmic...:lmao:


    Very well done and I appreciate the effort and look forward to more of your Royal additions to this thread.:clap:
     
  9. Magic

    Magic Woman of the World

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    Re: Queen ~ February 2010 Band of the Month

    Interesing facts, Cosmic :)

    It is nice when someone takes the time to post all this stuff that I dont have time to look up.
     
  10. Hepcat

    Hepcat retired

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    Re: Queen ~ February 2010 Band of the Month

    Very impressive indeed! I never knew those things.

    :grinthumb
     
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