Formed in 1970, Roger Taylor once said ‘when Queen do something, they do it BIG’. Perhaps the most famous Queen association is flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury, an exquisitely gifted, almost operatic musician, lyricist and stage presence. He has, at one stage or another been voted the greatest rock singer of all time, one of rock’s greatest all-time entertainers and one of the greatest voices in all of music.
The band forged a reputation through the 70s and 80s as world-class live performers and their output, from their first eponymously-named album through to Queen II in 1974, A Night at the Opera (1975), A Day at the Races (1976) and News of the World (1977) spawned worldwide hit after worldwide hit.
They played in front of 200,000 in Hyde Park, 325,000 in Rio and in front of an audience of over a billion at Live Aid, a performance in the summer of 1985 which was voted ‘The Greatest Live Performance Ever’ in a BBC poll.
A Kind of Magic was released in 1986 and prompted a colossal stadium tour. Their final live concert came on the 9th August that year at Knebworth Park. By 1988, Queen stopped touring and focused their attention on studio work which still sold by the multi-million.
Around this time, rumours were flying around that Freddie Mercury was ill. The hearsay and conjecture were consistently denied but on the 23rd November 1991, he released a statement to the public saying he had AIDS. He died the next day.
Queen’s legacy will live on and on and the numbers back that up – 18 #1 albums; 18 #1 singles; 250-300m albums sold worldwide; 1,322 weeks (26 years) on the UK album chart. They are (arguably) the greatest British band of all time, Bohemian Rhapsody was voted the UKs favourite song ever (with We Are the Champions voted as the world’s favourite song) and in the real test of popularity, they are the most bootlegged band ever.
Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar. His real name is Farrokh Bulsara but his passport read Frederick Mercury.
The video for We Will Rock You was shot in Roger Taylor’s garden.
The Official International Queen Fan Club is the longest running rock group fan club in the world.
Queen only released Another One Bites the Dust because Michael Jackson encouraged them to.
Queen’s collaboration with David Bowie on Under Pressure wasn’t planned – Bowie just happened to be by the studio while Queen was recording the song.
Brian May has a PhD in Astrophysics from Imperial College London. He also doesn’t use a plectrum. He uses an old sixpence coin!
Freddie Mercury once said ‘A concert is not a live rendition of an album. It’s a theatrical event.’ Well said Sir.
Queen – Where Are They Now?
After being heralded as perhaps the greatest stage performer in history, he died in 1991. His memory will live on. RIP Freddie.
An accomplished musician, singer-songwriter and producer, Roger Taylor has released a number of solo albums and is slated to release another in 2014.
Brian May CBE is one of the world’s greatest guitarists (ranked alongside Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page and Carlos Santana). Post-Queen, he is a committed animal rights activist, author and scientist.
He was just 19 when he joined Queen and after a phenomenally successful career, he retired from the music industry. It’s been said that he never quite recovered from Freddie’s death but either way, he lives in south London with his wife. They have six children together.