Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970. Their classic line-up was Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), Roger Taylor (drums, vocals) and John Deacon (bass). Their earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works by incorporating further styles, such as arena rock and pop rock. For more details click here
Freddy Mercury: drama queen, one of a kind genius. Being a head of your time makes for a very lonely life and a legacy that lasts for ages.
There is no doubt that Freddy was a genius when it comes to composing beautiful tunes in a variety of genera adapted to rock, but he was also a drama queen. He was known for his flamboyant style and four-octave vocal range, a gift from his condition (supernumerary incisors). Freddy was born in East Africa and was sent to a boarding school in India to study music during his childhood. He later studied art and graphic design in college. He held several odd jobs while searching for fertile ground to plant his artistic seed. In 1970 he teamed up with Brian May (an astrophysicist, no wonder they were all so spaced out… hehehehe) and Roger Taylor. The rest is history. The intensity of some of his most famous songs, provides a glimpse into his troubled emotional ups and downs (Love of my life, Bohemian Rhapsody, and his ode to the Radio Ga Ga, just to name a few). His lyrics are charged with a lot of extreme emotions:
Didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on
As if nothing really matters”
This piece is performed with great intensity by a soulful Freddy Mercury who seem to feel tortured and isolated by his own talent. Perhaps that is why he named the band Queen? He claimed that it sounded regal. Others claim that he was hinting his true identity . I guess we will never know for sure, but he is proof that there is a lot of beauty to be found even in pain. Only a very gifted individual can take pain and turn it into a beautiful piece of art. It teaches us to look for the greatness in every human being despite their shortcomings. His love for music carried him from the depths of despair to becoming a bright star that will remain in the constellation of rock classics forever!
Below is a list of my favorite picks:
Death on two legs
This is one of their really good but lesser known songs. The piano and subsequent guitar solo in the beginning of the song puts me into a ‘zone.’ Legend has it that this song was dedicated to the band’s first agent, who screwed them over by paying them peanuts for their song rights even though they were already famous.
The nerve of some people! I think in the long run it was Norman Sheffield’s loss as the band went on to create numerous hits.
I want to break free
This song is kind of funny as it is also charged with that ‘Freddy Drama’ that we all love. “I have fallen in Love, I have fallen in love for the first time, and this time I know is for real”. Does that mean that he has fallen in love before but this time is different? Then it would not be the first time… Or is he a serial monogamist? Freddy did bounce from relationship to relationships for many years due to the isolation caused by his fame and his struggle with addiction. Another hint of his troubled emotional ups and downs is the paragraph where he says: “I can’t get over the way you love me like you do, But I have to be sure, When I walk out that door… I don’t want to live alone, … I want to break free”.
Modern dating experts would probably claim that Fredy was ahead of the curve in a time where the concept of “friends with benz” was grouped along with the down low and frowned upon. Today, #FWB is all there is while stable relationships are quickly becoming a relic. It seems like that is what he is describing to the person whom he wants to break free from. Another interpretation is that this was another way of trying to come out of the closet. In this video all band members were dressed in women’s clothing, although the press only attacked Freddy and called him a ‘freak.’ Regardless of the underlying cause, the video attracted a lot of attention from the press and the song became a classic.
What do you think inspired him to write this song?
The most intriguing part of this song is finding our what could have prompted him to kill a man in such a cold blooded way. Could it be related to the end of the song? “So you think you can stone me and and spit in my eye? So you think you can love me and leave me to die?Can’t do this to me Baby…” Jeez! Maybe he had some anger issues that he needed to work out? It is hard to tell. His mastery of suspense combined with a musical blend of classical, opera and rock makes this piece stand out. His band members were opposed to releasing this song under their name, but Freddy insisted and the song was released as a single in 1975 with a smashing success! It was completely different from anything they had produced in the past and they had just parted ways with their first agent. It was definitely a risky move for the band, but Freddy stood his ground, releasing the song and lifting the band’s creative boundaries into new heights.
Don’t Stop Me Now
I can’t stop dancing every time I hear this song! It is a tune completely filled with energy. Although the happiness of the tune is contrasted with lyrics that tell the story of a man child. Someone living a life of excess who willingly gives up his power to others by asking not to be stopped. Was he pleading to his peers, friends, parents or perhaps his inner higher self to allow the fun to continue? Perhaps the combination of childlike candidness and high energy of he song is what makes it so contagious.
If you are a fan, what do you love about this song?
Love Of My Life
This song is sure to bring a tear to your eye if you have ever loved deeply and gone through heart break. Freddy describes the kind of love that is capable of setting the other person free, so they can be happy even if is not with you. Have you ever experienced this kind of love? His song talks about being by the side of his former lover during old age, to show him/her how much he still loves him/her, although his lover is leaving him. Everyone is looking for that one life companion. However, for the lucky ones who can learn to transcend the concept of love as possession and see love as giving, they understand that true love is always growing and sometimes it changes (labels are redefined) but the love never fades. Thus, we decide if we want to remain a life companion regardless of the labels.
Additional honorary mentions:
- Killer queen
- Another one bites the dust
- Under pressure
- We will rock you
- Somebody to love
- Hammer to fall
- Tie your mother down