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Q   U   E   E   N



Formed 1971, England

Freddie Mercury - born   Frederick Bulsara, Sep. 5, 1946, Zanzibar; died Nov. 24, 1991, London, Eng., - vocals, piano.
Brian May - born July 19, 1947, London, Eng. - guitars.
John Deacon - born Aug. 19, 1951, Leicester, Eng. - bassist.
Roger Meddows-Taylor - born July 26, 1949, Norfolk, Eng. - drums.

 

The enormously popular British band Queen epitomized pomp rock, with elaborate stage setups, smoke bombs, flashpots, lead singer Freddie Mercury’s half-martial, half-coy preening onstage, and highly produced, much overdubbed music on record. Queen can be traced back to 1967, when Brian May and Roger Taylor joined singer Tim Staffell in a group called Smile. Staffell soon left to go solo, and the remaining two Smiles teamed up with Freddie Mercury (from a group called Wreckage) and later John Deacon. They played very few gigs at the start, avoiding the club circuit and rehearsing for two years while they all remained in college. (May began work on a Ph.D. in astronomy; Taylor has a degree in biology; Deacon, a degree in electronics; and Mercury had a degree in illustration and design.) They began touring in 1973, when their debut album was released. After a second LP, the band made its U.S. tour debut opening for Mott the Hoople.

Queen’s sound combined showy glam rock, heavy metal, and intricate vocal harmonies produced by multitracking Mercury’s voice. May’s guitar was also thickly overdubbed; A Night at the Opera included "God Save the Queen" rendered as a chorale of lead guitar lines. (Until 1980’s The Game, the quartet’s albums boasted that "no synthesizers" were used.) Queen’s third LP, Sheer Heart Attack, featured "Killer Queen," its first U.S. Top Twenty hit. The LP also became its first U.S. gold.

 

Mercury’s onstage pseudo-dramatics, which had more to do with his admitted influence Liza Minnelli than with Robert Plant), and the band’s audience grew with its breakthrough LP, A Night at the Opera. It contained the six-minute gold "Bohemian Rhapsody" (#9, 1976), which featured a Mercury solo episode of "mama mia" with dozens of vocal tracks. "Bohemian Rhapsody" stayed at #1 in England for nine weeks, breaking the record Paul Anka had held since 1957 for his "Diana." The promotional video produced for it was one of the first nonperformance, conceptual rock videos.

 

Queen has had eight gold and six platinum records; through the mid-Eighties only its second LP and the 1980 soundtrack to the film Flash Gordon failed to sell so impressively. The group’s U.S. Top Forty singles include "Killer Queen" (#12), 1975; "Bohemian Rhapsody" (#9), "You’re My Best Friend" (#16), "Somebody to Love" (#13), 1976; "We Are the Champions" b/w "We Will Rock You" (#4), 1977; "Fat Bottomed Girls" b/w "Bicycle Race" (#24), for which the group staged an all-female nude bicycle race, 1978; "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (#1), 1979; "Another One Bites the Dust" (#1), 1980; "Under Pressure" with David Bowie (#29), 1981; "Body Language" (#11), 1982; "Radio Ga-Ga" (#16), 1984. At first their hits were marchlike hard rock, but in the late Seventies the group began to branch out; its two biggest hits of the period were the rockabilly-style "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and the disco-style "Another One Bites the Dust," a close relative of Chic’s "Good Times," which went to #1 pop and R&B.

 

In 1981 Taylor released a solo album, Fun in Space, and later in the year the band recorded with an outsider for the first time, writing and singing with David Bowie on "Under Pressure," included on both their platinum Greatest Hits and Hot Space. One side of Hot Space was typically bombastic rock, while the other contained funk followups to "Another One Bites the Dust." Fans were relatively cool to Hot Space; it did not go platinum. Queen’s next LP, The Works (#23, 1984), marked a return to hard-rock form. It contained the nostalgic "Radio Ga-Ga."

Queen ceased to be a commercial force in the States; its next two LPs didn’t even go gold. Yet all over the world the group retained its regal status. The gold Innuendo, which went to #30 here, shot to #1 in Britain in early 1991. By then rumors were rampant that Mercury was ill with AIDS, something the group continually denied. That November he released a statement from his deathbed confirming the stories; just two days later he died of the disease in his London mansion at age 45.

On April 20, 1992, the surviving members of Queen were joined by a host of stars -- including Elton John, Axl Rose, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Def Leppard, and many other admirers -- for a memorial concert held at Wembley Stadium that was broadcast to a worldwide audience of more than one billion. Ironically, around the time of the Wembley concert, Queen was enjoying its greatest American popularity in years, thanks to a memorable scene from the movie Wayne’s World, in which main characters Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) and buddies sing along to "Bohemian Rhapsody" as it blares on the car radio. The re released single soared to #2.

May’s second solo project came out in 1993; a posthumous Mercury solo album was released in 1992; since 1987 Roger Taylor has recorded three albums with a sideline band, the Cross.

THE ALBUMS
1973 -- Queen (Elektra)
1974 -- Queen II; Sheer Heart Attack
1975 -- A Night at the Opera
1976 -- A Day at the Races
1977 -- News of the World
1978 -- Jazz
1979 -- Live Killers
1980 -- The Game; Flash Gordon soundtrack
1981 -- Greatest Hits
1982 -- Hot Space
1984 -- The Works (Capitol)
1986 -- A Kind of Magic
1989 -- The Miracle
1991 -- Innuendo (Hollywood) ( - Mercury)
1992 -- Classic Queen; Live at Wembley ‘86; Greatest Hits; Five Live EP (with George Michael and Lisa Stansfield)
1995 -- Queen at the BBC
1995 -- Freddie Mercury solo:
1985 -- Mr. Bad Guy (Columbia)
1987 -- Barcelona (with Montserrat Caballe) (Hollywood)
1992 -- The Great Pretender
1992 -- Brian May solo:
1983 -- Star Fleet Project (Capitol)
1993 -- Back to the Light (Hollywood).
1993 -- Roger Taylor solo:
1981 -- Fun in Space (Elektra)
1984 -- Strange Frontier (Capitol)

 


FREDDIE MERCURY



Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5th 1946 in Zanzibar, to parents Bomi and Jer Bulsara. Freddie moved to India in 1947. He attended boarding school in Panchgani, just outside Bombay. Whilst there he began his piano lessons, reaching Grade 4 in practical and theory. The family, with the addition now of younger sister Kashmira, moved to England in 1963. Freddie left Isleworth school in 1964 with three 'O' levels and one 'A' level in Art. He went to Ealing College of Art to study Graphic Illustration. He left in 1969 with a Diploma in Graphic Art & Design (The equivalent of a Degree). Freddie joined his first serious band in 1969, they were called IBEX. Freddie stood 5ft 9 and a half inches tall with black hair and dark brown eyes. He was single and shared his large house and garden with several cats, creatures he adored. He loved opera and ballet, Marilyn Monroe was his favorite actress and Aretha Franklin just one of his many favorite singers. He liked to drink either Champagne or iced Vodka and Indian food was one of his favorites. He sadly died on November 24th 1991of AIDS.

 

 

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