Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody

The profile of Queen at its YouTube channel is quite good. Here is the start:

Few bands embodied the pure excess of the ’70s like Queen. Embracing the exaggerated pomp of prog 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. Queen’s 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. But vocalist Freddie Mercury brought an extravagant sense of camp to Queen, pushing them toward kitschy humor and pseudo-classical arrangements, as epitomized on their best-known song, “Bohemian Rhapsody.

The whole thing is worth a read. The point made above is a good one: It really is amazing how many disparate elements were crammed into the Queen style — and how well it worked.

Personally, I admire the band far more today than back in the day. At that point, I couldn’t — or didn’t want to –see the past the glam rock element to appreciate the skills of the individual band members and their precision as a group. That said, it always was obvious that Brian May was a great guitarist and Freddie Mercury was one of the best front men of his generation.

Here are Radio Ga Ga and Killer Queen.

  • Soul of Wit

    I never grasped just how influential Freddie Mercury would be. Most rock singers of today admire the Queen frontman. Few have his pipes.

    Their live shows were thrilling. Early hits like “Keep Yourself Alive” and “Now I’m Here” would bring the arena to its feet. A personal favorite was the Brian May raver “Tie Your Mother Down”.

    Fun Brian May trivia: In addition to being a fine guitarist, Brian is also an astrophysicist. Check out his YouTube channel. You will be surprised at what he is known for these days. Apparently, performing and astrophysics are not enough to keep him busy.

  • Carl

    Mercury did have a great voice and stage presence. So when they finally found the Higgs Boson, I wonder if May played We are the Champions.

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