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Queen. One of the many iterations of the word includes “something having eminence or supremacy in a given domain” in its definition. The name itself brings to mind pomp and grandeur. There couldn’t have been a more appropriate name for this band. With the mix of operatic vocals, heavy metal/prog rock fusion and the most dynamic front man ever, how could you go wrong?
The band itself got its start with two members of the rock group Smile in guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. In 1971, following the departure of their lead singer, Brian and Roger formed a new group with Freddie Mercury, who had been singing for the band Wreckage. John Deacon completed the group a few months later. They released their first album Queen, in 1973 without much success. The followed up in 1974 with Queen II and had a minor hit with “Seven Seas of Rhye,” earning them a supporting spot for Mott the Hoople on their first American tour. Sheer Heart Attack was released later in 1974 garnering a little more attention with “Killer Queen”. All of this was just setting the table for 1975’s A Night at the Opera, seen by many as Queen’s best album. Rumor has it, A Night at the Opera was the most expensive album ever made up to that point. They also shot what could be known as one of the first music videos for “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Queen quickly became one of the top acts in the world with a fan base and attitude to match. They continued their dominance with A Day at the Races, News of the World, and Jazz over the next four years. One of the things Queen prided themselves on was the fact that they never used synthesizers on any of their recordings. That changed in 1980 with the release of The Game. Ironically, that became the band’s first number one album in America. Unfortunately, they followed that up with the soundtrack to the campy sci-fi movie "Flash Gordon". 1982’s Hot Space, and 1984’s The Works received little attention in the U.S. or Great Britain.
In 1985, the band performed at Live Aid, reestablishing themselves as one of the best live acts ever, putting to bed rumors of the band’s demise. The released A Kind of Magic the following year to success in Europe, but their U.S. market never returned. The Miracle followed in 1989 with a similar fate. In 1991, Innuendo was released to critical acclaim with the album achieving gold status and peaking at number 30 in the U.S. Unfortunately, this would turn out to be their swan song.
Freddie Mercury released a statement on November 23, 1991 stating that he had AIDS, confirming rumors that had been prevalent for a while. He passed away the next day. The remaining members reunited in 1994 to record what would be the band’s final album, Made in Heaven, using vocal tracks Mercury had recorded in his final days.
Queen on the Web
TV Guide: Queen
Queen Videos, Interviews and More on TV Guide's Online Video Guide
The official site of the rock band.
The official site of the international fan club.
An online news source with information on everything Queen.
From the Mouth of Freddie Mercury
On his lyrics:
"People are always asking me what my lyrics mean. Well I say what any decent poet would say if you dared ask him to analyze his work: if you see it, darling, then it's there."
"One night Roger was in a foul mood and he threw his entire bloody drumset across the stage. The thing only just missed me - I might have been killed."
On the band:
"We've gone overboard on every Queen album. But that's Queen."
"Fuck today, it's tomorrow."