2. The Beginning
4. Queen’s Greatest Performances
5. Queen After Freddie Mercury
Queen represents to me the beginning of a new stage in my life, because since I discovered them I changed my music taste, lifestyle, perspective. Why do I like them so much? I like them because they have an unique genre of music. I literally like all their songs, even the ones not so popular. But it’s not only their songs that make me love them so much, it’s also the members as individual human beings that make them so interesting for me.
Queen came to popularity during the mid-1970’s and amazed an enormous worldwide fanbase that continues to exist to this day. Queen's live performances were truly ground-breaking, employing massive lighting and other special effects to make their shows into engaging theatrical events. Few bands embodied the pure excess of the 70’s like. Embracing the exaggerated pomp of progressive rock and heavy metal, as well as vaudevillian music hall, the British quartet delved deeply into camp and bombast, creating a huge, mock-operatic sound with layered guitars and overdubbed vocals. Their music was a bizarre yet highly accessible fusion of the macho and the fey. For years, their albums boasted the motto no synthesizers were used on this record signaling their allegiance with the legions of post-Led Zeppelin hard rock bands.
Queen had a major role in the evolution of rock music, along side other artists such as Elvis Presley, Guns’n Roses, Led Zeppelin and many others. In the following pages we’ll be seeing their evolution over the years, we will get to know them better and see their contribution to the music industry.
In 1968, Astronomy student and guitarist Brian May and lead singer and bassist Tim Staffell, decided they wanted to form a group. Brian placed an advertisement on the college notice board for a “Ginger Baker type” drummer, and a young dental student called Roger Taylor auditioned and got the job. They called the group “Smile”.
Smile were signed to Mercury Records in 1969, and had their first experience recording at Trident Studios that year. Tim Staffell was at Ealing College of Art with Freddie Mercury (then Farrokh Bulsara) and introduced him to the band. Freddie soon became a keen fan. Sadly, in 1970, Smile decided to call it a day, as nothing seemed to be happening for them. Tim went off and joined a band called Humpty Bong. Freddie left his band “Wreckage” and joined up with Brian and Roger – it had all begun. They had had three temporary bassists before February 1971 when John Deacon was taken on as bassist and the fourth member of the band.
The band’s crest was designed by Freddie Mercury and includes the zodiac signs of all four members surrounding a phoenix. The name of the band was Freddie’s idea and originally Roger and particularly Brian didn’t like it. He thought up the name because it sounded regal, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. Other names that the band had discussed were the ‘Grand Dance’- derived from a C.S. Lewis Trilogy of books ‘Out Of A Silent Planet’ that Roger and Brian had both read. Roger also quite liked the name ‘The Rich Kids’.
• Lesley-Ann Jones, Bohemian Rhapsody: The Definitive Biography of Freddie Mercury, London, 1997, Hodder & Stoughton
• Peter Hince, Queen Unseen: My Life with the Greatest Rock Band of the 20th Century, London, 2011, Music Press
• Laura Jackson, Queen: The Definitive Biography, London, 1999, Piatkus
• The Queen Phenomenon, written by Simon Witter, directed by Hannes Rossacher, Rudi Dolezal, London, 1995
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