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Being A Queen Fan Pt 3, Tying Things Up

Hi folks. This is the third part of my post about my years as a Queen fan and it is meant to tie up some loose ends, plug any wholes in the story, any other metaphors to that affect. I had forgotten to mention how some things had taken place, in order for me to become the fan of such a band as Queen.

First of all, I’m going to go back to 1983, when I was being punished for speaking up. I could go on about other times I had been basically told to shut up by authority in school, but this is not the place for it. Maybe in another blog post I may tackle that and one which hurts more than you can imagine.

So, how did Bob and myself meet? In junior school when I was a bad boy, being punished for swearing. Actually, I called a potential bully a prick when I was just about to turn 10 in 1983 and it was over which record we would hear that night, or which records we had heard lately to help put us to sleep. Because of my mouth, I was shipped off to where the younger students stayed and slept, for the second time that school year. I was 9 and just about to turn 10 so, in Queen terms the Hot Space tour had ended and it would be a few months before Brian would get on stage with def Leppard and Los Angeles, during the Pyromania tour, which is documented on a live album, as the second disk of the deluxe version of Pyromania, to end off the show with Travellin’ Band.

The first time was because I had written a letter with all sorts of nasty words to a staff member, whom I had no love for, because she had made a bad first impression on me when I was six. My first memory of that person was them spanking me, for doing something wrong and we didn’t get a chance to say hi, or anything before then. I forget what it was and frankly, I don’t care.

Anyway, when I was in the other wing of the residence, I was walking around, crying and Bob basically took me into his room and we had become friends. We learned that we shared the same sense of humour and like the same TV shows at the time. We both liked mimicking other peoples voices and especially the staff at our school. No, we weren’t the only ones and other people were known to do that too and the staff knew that we did that. I don’t know how they felt and it doesn’t bother me either way.

Back then Bob was playing some hot piano and one song I remember was a tuen called Alley Cat and I don’t know who composed it, but I do remember that it was in the key of C. He had got better as years went on and even tried playing guitar. With Queen, I wasand will always be into the rock first and foremost, with Bob being into the ballads, symphonic rock and progressive rock side. I like all of that too, but as I had mentioned before I’ve always said that Queen are a hard rock band first before anything else. After all, that’s how the first album had started. Right?

Last I had heard, Bob is doing well for himself and this is an old link and he is older than 31 now. In fact, he will be 47 in November.

When I had bought The Miracle on CD in 1991, it was on June 1st of that year, the day before I turned 18 and I remember being excited to listen to it and News Of The World on CD, as I had bought it that day as well.

The first Queen album I ever bought was Innuendo on tape in March of 1991 and next was Sheer Heart Attack in May of that year, also on tape. My first Queen albums on CD were News Of The World, The Miracle and once again, Sheer Heart Attack, with A Day At The Races in there somewhere.

I had got a portable CD player in 1991, with cassette and radio as a part of the unit and the first Queen album I had sampled was A Night at the Opera and Death On Two Legs, as I got it from my parents for Christmas that year and I would take it to school with me. That boom box also gave me strength in order to overcome the haters and I stuck to the first few albums and the hard rock, in order to try and change minds. I don’t think that it had worked, but I did try.

Our school had an event called Run For Light and I forget what the purpose of it was, but I do remember BohRhap being played during the 1994 event, which would normally take place in May, just before the May 24 weekend, or the Victoria Day long weekend in Ontario. It was documented on our audio yearbook for the 1993/ 1994 school year and our lab ensemble also played during the event, but no Queen songs that year. The closest thing to Queen for me that we did was to learn the song …In That Quiet Earth from the Wind & Wuthering album from Genesis and that album is one of the reasons I had put them in the long list of bands, who kept me holding on to Queen.

The first Queen song I had learned on guitar was probably Now I’m Here and I had learned any and all Queen songs by ear. I know I had tried playing bits of other songs from Innuendo and I Can’t Live With You was one of them. I couldn’t get the touch right for the latter and so, I had just played it like I had and learned it, like any other Queen songs, where the guitar was a main instrument, besides bass and drums.

Speaking of drums, the only Queen song I ever attempted to play on drums was Fat Bottomed Girls and that was back in 1991, when I only had the single version of the song to go from and had no idea, that the album version was longer. Needless to say, I sucked at it and I was better on guitar, vocals and bass. I did it because my guitar teacher wanted me to try and put together some sort of demo of myself and I had done that at home, but not with a band type of setting. I had opted to do everything myself and I managed to take care of everything, except for drums and I did play everything on the recording, but not everything was done well.

I did much better with Body Language in 1993, with keyboards, which was not my instrument and I actually sang it as well as Freddie did, but I had to change it slightly.

Another thing which kept me holding on to Queen was actually a TV weather channel. No, not The Weather Channel, but its Canadian counterpart called The Weather Network. Why and how? One of the music beds leading into winter storm coverage in or around 1992 sounded much like parts of Don’t Lose Your Head and during local forecasts, background music would play. Some of the music was jazzy, some classical, but others sounded rather Poppe and singable, like the less rocky Queen tracks. Some of the music reminds me of what Freddie or John had written and most of the music came from a group called Network Music Ensemble. The music was spread over many albums focusing on either a specific instrument, genre, or demeanor. For example: there is an album called World Beat with songs which have some Caribbean flavored, as well as other sounds throughout the world. There is an album called Gentle Guitar, which has songs which focus on the acoustic guitar and yes, there is even a song with a Caribbean flavour which ends it off. One of the songs on it reminds me (melodically) of some aspects of Play The Game, even if it is in a different key. Music from this group was and probably is played still on both The Weather Network and The Weather Channel, along with appearing in commercials or paid advertisements. Just do a search for Network Music Ensemble on which ever streaming service you use and there are a lot of albums to go through. I suggest looking through albums instead of songs, because that will make things faster and as a hint, all of the music I have found was released in 2011, according to iTunes and Youtube Music. I have found out that this music may have come out some time in the 80s and it doesn’t surprise me, given how the mixes sound of that time. There are countless examples of this with songs with drums, but I can assure you that what I am saying is true.

I had mentioned Nine Inch Nails and I had connected them to Queen immediately, even before I knew anything about Trent Reznor’s influences, or that he had done Get Down Make Love. The 1992 remix album Fixed is packaged in much the same type of CD case as the We Will Rock You EP in 1991 and I must have known that there was something there to why I love NIN as much as I do. In more recent years, I had read on Wikipedia that Trent was more affected by the death of Freddie, rather than John Lennon. That confirms it and would have, if I had known before 1996.

I had heard the fast studio version of We Will Rock You in 1992, over and over again over a period of 2 years, when radio stations had used foreground programming, especially on the weekends. Remember in the first post of this series I had talked about hearing songs which would later appear on A Night at the Odeon? I would hear WWRY and select songs from that concert until some time in the 2000s, when radio stations stopped playing live music as a part of long-form programming , which is what foreground programming is, from 30 minutes to 3 hours of nothing but specialized programming, either focussing on the genre or play live music, or (in the old days on FM radio) a trivia program on Sunday evenings, or a talk show in the middle of the day from Monday to Friday, or also on Sunday evenings until about 2004. Now it’s all about just playing what is in rotation and maybe a radio station will get one or 2 hours of free time, for foreground programming. Any talk shows are reserved for talk radio stations now, as programmers had circle the waggons sometime in the 90s.

When I finally had access to the internet and through a data plan, I had learned about the Queen The Greatest compilation from 2009, Queen On Fire and the singles boxed sets, which I wish were available to everyone digitally. Paul McCartney had released his own such boxed set of singles in December 2022 and it had many tracks which were never available to us on digital and streaming platforms before, without having to go on Youtube and search for the song as a video from a fan. I wish that Queen would rerelease all 3 volumes of the singles boxed set and then, we would all have all of the music which was released for us. Sure, collecting albums and CDs is good, but the most important thing is the music and that will outlast anything physical. Right? I know that I may get some pushback on this so, hear me out. I love CDs and I love the whole ritual of listening to music by putting the disk into the player, after taking the disk ot of the case. Then, close the player’s door, or drawer and push play. Off we go for 45 minutes or more, of continuous music listening and we won’t be back until the album is done. Now you can either purchase a full album, or cherry pick songs from iTunes which you want, or you can stream individual songs and create a playlist. I love the convenience of streaming, but what about the artist? Do we also think the artist makes a whole lot of money these days, given that they don’t get all that much from iTunes? Also, sales of physical music is down and it’s only those who want not just the music, but for something to look at who buy albums, or CDs these days. For me, it’s all about the music and it always has been about that. Sure, it’s nice to have a glossy package as an artefact, but what about physical space for other things? Besides, don’t we all have hobbies? Mine is amateur radioand I’m buying nothing on CD these days, because I want more music, but do not have the room to put things in an organized manner anymore, without the risk of not being able to move around my apartment and access things easily. Unlike Brian, I don’t have my music in alphabetical order and I prefer chronologically, by the artist. Unfortunately, with streaming we don’t get a choice in the matter, if you are like me and you prefer albums over individual songs. The trouble is that we don’t have time to sit down and listen to a full album, as we have podcasts to listen to, Youtube channels to watch by appointment and other things tying up our lives and shortening our attention spans. Besides, I like listening to albums when writing in a vehicle as I used to do, back in the day on the bus on the way to and from school. The only time I listen to a full album these days is when I get it for the first time ever and it is new to us all. I had pre-ordered it on iTunes and it had finally come down, on the day of release as a full complete puzzle. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea of where I come from.

To end off this post, let’s tie up a few more strands of my pre-Queen fandom I want to tell you about . In the 80s there was a documentary show on the radio called Discumentary and it was hosted by a man in Vancouver Brritish Columbia named Terry David Mulligan. That is where I first learned about not just Queen, but about other classic rock bands of the 60s and 70s, who had survived in the 80s, or in some cases had broken up after a member had died. Yes, he had done Led Zeppelin II, but for this blog I’m going to focus on Queen. He called them “the monarchs of British rock” and he played Death On Two Legs when talking about the band’s business peculiarities around that time and of course, he did touch on BohRhap and why not? The thing is that he only went as far as A Kind Of Magic and I actually liked that song when I first heard it, because of how Freddie sang the studio version. Before playing Killer Queen, he said something like “the critics hated them, but fans thought they were killer”. This is in reference to a lot of hard rock bands being pummelled by critics, including Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath Queen and others back in the day.

During 1996 I had met a Queen fan named Walter when I was in Hamilton and he had turned me on to The Magic Years documentary… all 3 parts of it and I loved it much better than the 1991 TV documentary hosted by Axl Rose. Speaking of documentaries, I currently have in my iTunes library: The Story of Queen: Mercury Rising, The Great Pretender, Queen: Day’s of Our Lives and Classic Albums: Queen – The Making of A Night At the Opera. The Classic Albums documentary wouldn’t be the last of its kind I would purchase over the next 6 years, with the latest being Def Leppard – Hysteria (Classic Album) in 2020, before the world stopped.

I had finally purchased The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 2019 and I wish that the whole thing was here, including U2 and Spinal Tap. At least we have the majority of the concert available to us and I’m happy.

One last thing, the songs I had heard from Queen on the radio or in the air in the 80s were: Bohemian Rhapsody, Another One Bites the Dust, Killer Queen, Keep Yourself Alive, You’re My Best Friend, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Somebody To Love, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, A Kind of Magic, Under Pressure, Radio GaGa, I Want It All, The Miracle, Hammer to Fall, Machines, Great King Rat and Body Language. I wanted to avoid songs which I had heard in the previous documentary I had mentioned and I had heard Great King Rat as part of a short segment called Psychedelic Snack. I forget exactly when I had heard it, but I like that it sounded raw and ragged. That’s all I got for now and I may update this post in the future.


The Queen Family

Hi folks. In the last post, I had mentioned the creation of what I call The Queen Family, as apposed to The Royal Family. The Royal Family were a bunch of fans who would show up at possibly every show of The Crazy Tour in 1979 and this is obviously different from that, as I will explain.

The Queen Family consists of any band, or musician who has ever played with Freddie, Brian, John or Roger over the years and it is a rather large and diverse bunch of musicians, spanning many genres. For example: Lady GaGa and Motörhead are among the many who have played with Brian and it’s obviously a crazy huge list. I had decided to create the family, because of all of the bands and guests who had played at the tribute to Freddie and this would include everyone who was on stage and even those who sang along with Liza Minnelli, while she powered her way through We Are the Champions.

In some cases, I will give consideration to musicians who are fans, but who may never get a chance to play with Queen, dew to their genre. For example: extreme metal stalwarts Max Cavalara and his brother Igor went to see Queen in 1981, when they had played in San Paulo Brazil during the tour of South America. Max has mentioned being a fan and especially, of the fast version of We Will Rock You from Live Killers. So, I’m going to include such bands as: Sepultura, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, Nailbomb, Deftones, Fear Factory, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Prong, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Lamb Of God, Killer Be Killed, Mastodon, Converge, Gojira and any other band who has members playing on anything that the Cavalera brothers or even Sepultura have been a part of, together and individually.

Another case is Rob Halford, who is also a Queen fan and one of his favourite singers is Freddie. He has actually met and spoken with Brian when he was asked to attend Buckingham Palace, on behalf of Judas Priest and he tells the story about this, in his 2020 book Confess. He has also met Freddie a couple of times over the years, at a bar and on either a boat, or a yacht. He didn’t really get a chance to talk with Fred, but he is most certainly welcome as far as I’m concerned. Besides, I like his work in and outside of Judas Priest and this also opens the door to include Pantera, because Rob did a vocal with them on the track Light Comes Out of Black, which is actually cool.

Any band who has covered Queen is also included, even if I am not a fan of them. Metallica is here, but we also have such artists as: Nine Inch Nails, Puscifer, Panic! At the Disco, Michael Bublé and any other band who has covered Queen. Even if you have sampled, or remixed Queen you are in.

Even comedy is not immune from being a part of the family, with Monty Python and of course, without Ben Elton we wouldn’t have had the We Will Rock You musical. Besides, Eric Idle is friends with Queen manager Jim Beach and he also manages Monty Python too, according to Eric’s 2018 memoirAlways Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography. To be honest, I believe him and also according to the book, late Beatle and friend of Eric’s George Harrison and his wife Olivia got him a jukebox and Eric’s son loved 2 songs on it: Money by Pink Floyd and Bohemian Rhapsody by you know who.

This extends to everyone who has played with anyone, who has played with any members of Queen and many more, as you can see. I happen to like the majority of the bands here and even if I don’t necessarily like them, I respect them for what they do. After all, they are a part of the Queen Family, as are we the fans, whether we have been to a Queen concert or not. Our own entry is by simply purchasing Queen music on iTunes, or physically. Streaming is just that and I do not count streaming as a purchase, not even with a monthly nominal fee for those who have subscribed to either Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube music. However, if you have purchased music and are subscribed to a streaming service, you are in. Of course, having Queen clothing helps and showing off your fandom that way lets everybody know that you are a loud and proud Queen head.

Finally, you can’t leave out any bands who have influenced Queen as a colective and individually. We all know that Freddie loved Jimi Hendrix, but also Liza Minnelli and her mother Judy Garland equally. What’s wrong with that? The answer is… nothing at all and this further extends to even more musicians, making the Queen Family… … well… … gargantuan? I don’t know, but that’s the best I can come up with to describe how mammoth the family is with all sorts of musicians from all different eras of music, as well as comedy.

I got the idea for my version of The Queen Family from Slipknot and their Knotfest concept, of touring with a bunch of bands they like, in a traveling festival, similar to Ozzfest, which was started by Sharon Osbourne in response to Lollapalooza turning down her husband, then allowing Metallica to be a part of it in 1996. Well, Ozzy did eventually play at Lollapalooza with Black Sabbath, but not in the traveling festival incarnation in the 90s. I personally don’t like the Knotfest concept, because it is Slipknot and I would want to only see Slipknot and not a bunch of bands whom I don’t care about all that much. However, The Queen Family is all inclusive, if musicians have a shred or more, of Queen in their DNA and regardless of how much I like all of the bands and artists included.

In conclusion, it is a crowded family of musicians whom I believe deserve to be mentioned alongside Queen in the same breath and remember, this is only my version of it and you as a Queen fan, may have your own. So, let’s all enjoy Queen and our favourite bands and artists, who keep us holding on and reminding us of Queen, in a positive way.

The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, 31 Years Later

Hi folks. Something tremendous had happened 31 years ago today and I want to talk about it here, because it relates to Queen. The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert had taken place on April 20th 1992 at Wembley Stadium, the same venue where Queen had stolen the show at Live Aid on July 13th 1985. On April 20th 1992, Roger, Brian and John, took to the stage at Wembley Stadium for the start of one of the biggest events in rock history, which the band had organized to pay tribute to Freddie. Queen were joined by some of the greatest musical talent in the world to celebrate Freddie’s life and work. The other objective was to increase public awareness of AIDS, the disease that had prematurely ended Freddie’s life on November 24th 1991. The concert was not only a great show and memmorial to Freddie, but it raised a huge and still growing sum of money for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, a charity formed at the time whose charter is the relief of suffering from AIDS throughout the world.
Back then, the musical landscape had changed because of grunge and alternative rock in general, but Queen wouldn’t fall flat despite loosing Freddie, or having no new album out and I will get into that later on. There is a lot to go through, so let’s get on with the rest of this post. I will mention all of the bands who had played s we go, along with any and all guest singers for Queen.
The concert began with a speech by: Brian, Roger and John, who would introduce each of the bands before them. At the end of his speech, John introduced Metallica, who went on to play: Enter Sandman, Sad But True and Nothing Else Matters, with singer James Hetfield returning to sing Stone Cold Crazy with the members of Queen and Tony Iommi. This would be documented on any video of the concert, but also the 30th anniversary of the Super Deluxe version of the 1991 Metallica album and the band’s participation in the concert, along with the interaction with some of the bands (including Queen) would be documented on the 1992 video A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica, where guitarist Kirk Hammet busts in on James’s performance, which was rather funny.
Then, Extreme took to the stage (introduced by Brian) and did a medley of Queen songs, along with a classic live favourite Love Of My Life. When Queen had done this song with Freddie, European audiences knew their role, as they would (without prompting) sing the song when Fred would stop singing. Apparently when Queen played Montreal in 1981, that didn’t happen and despite that, Queen fans know that this was a highlight of the show, along with the traditional ending of each concert, which I will get to later on. By the way, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt) was in the video for Black Cat by Janet Jackson and has played guitar on tour with Rihanna, for a number of years. Also, Extreme had put out 3 albums since the concert and a new one is coming out on June 9th, entitled SIX. I have heard 3 songs off of it so far and considerint that they are all older and haven’t put out anything since 2008, it’s actually not bad so far.

Next, Roger brought on def Leppard, who played three Songs and among them, was Now I’m Here, with Brian on guitar. Wanna know about how that came about? Of course you do.
By the way, this was the second concert with new guitarist Vivian Campbell, who replaced Steve Clark who had died of alcohol poisoning on January 8, 1991. This lineup is still together to this day, complete with Rick Allen playing drums with one arm and 2 feet.
Next, (as Roger refered to him) The very ticklish Bob Geldof did a song called “Too Late God”. Before that, he had talked about how he taught Freddie to speak Gaelic. After all, mr. Geldof is Irish!
Next we have the incomparable Spinal Tap, who did their big hit “The Majesty of Rock” from the album Break Like The Wind. Of course, Harry Shearer is a member of both the band and a cast member of The Simpsons and the group had guest starred in the episode The Otto Show, 3 days after the concert.

U2 would be next up, with a performance from San Francisco California, they’re single Until The End Of The World. Then, we have Guns N’ Roses and they did: “Paradise City”, “Only Women Bleed” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”.
Next, we have Elizabeth Taylor and her aids awareness speech, which did get some boos as most people wanted to get on with the show and not have to listen to someone go on and on about The Aids virus and increasing awareness of it.

In between sets there were a bunch of Videos with Freddie, with and without Queen. In fact, I had first heard the song Barcelona during the concert and if you haven’t heard the original version, here yah go.
Now, it’s time to get into the Queen set and all of the singers and guest musicians. Queen + Joe Elliott and Slash starting off the Queen half with “Tie Your Mother Down”, which had concussive Pyro. That’s what that boom is called, when the first shot hits. A shot is when a guitarist plays a power cord and the drums and base come in with a beat at the same time. Then, the boom hits! I remember that we used to hear it more often, at hard rock and metal shows before September 11th and since then, not a lot of bands have used this to get the crowd to go wild and scream. The first time I ever heard the boom was in 1988, when I went to see Dio, Megadeth and Savatage. I had no idea why the boom only happened at certain times and I’ve always been interested in how those explosions are timed so that when the first beat hits, the boom hits at the same time. Anyway, I digress.
Queen + Roger Daltrey, and Tony Iommi, doing “I Want It All”, with “Heaven and Hell” & “Pinball Wizard” as the intro. Note: Do you want to hear what this version sounds like? Sure!

Queen +, Zucchero, doing “Las Palabras De Amor (The Words of Love)”
Queen + Gary Cherone, and Tony Iommi doing “Hammer to Fall”
Queen + James Hetfield, and Tony Iommi, doing a crazy version of “Stone Cold Crazy”. In the A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica, Home video released in November 1992, you see Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammet busting in on the performance during the second guitar solo. Speaking of the guitar solo, it had a lot of delay on it and it wasn’t always turned off at the proper time, as you could hear it when Brian went back into the riff. This was apparent during the original broadcast, but it was fixed in released versions of the concert!
Queen + Robert Plant doing “Innuendo” (including parts of “Kashmir”), “Thank You” (intro) to “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
Brian May + Spike Edney, premiering “Too Much Love Will Kill You”. First of all, Spike Edney became Queen’s touring keyboardist and musical director to this day and played keyboards for The Cross. The Cross was Roger Taylor’s band from 1987 to 1991 and if you haven’t heard them, ask any Queen fan to play you some, or share it with you, from where ever you both get your music from.
Secondly, this song would appear on Brian’s solo album Back To The Light and again, on the 1995 Queen album Made In Heaven.

Queen + Paul Young doing “Radio Ga Ga”. Note: Paul had started in a band called Streetband, whose only known song to most people is about the pleasures of having… and is called Toast. If you haven’t heard it yet and you are a fan of Paul Young and his many hit singles, get ready for this because this is very different.
Queen + Seal doing “Who Wants to Live Forever”
Queen + Lisa Stansfield doing “I Want to Break Free”. It was roomered that Rod Stewart would do this song, but it was not to be.
Queen + David Bowie and Annie Lennox doing “Under Pressure”, which wasn’t a bad version.
Queen + Ian Hunter, David Bowie, Mick Ronson, Joe Elliott and Phil, Collen, doing “All the Young Dudes”, which was written by Bowie and he also recorded and released his own version in a lower key.
Queen + David Bowie and Mick ,, Ronson, taking on the Bowie classic “Heroes”
David Bowie spontaneously reciting “The Lord’s Prayer”!

Queen + George Michael taking on “’39”. I thought it was really cooll that he did it and I had gained more respect for him after that and his next two songs.
Queen + George Michael and Lisa Stansfield doing “These Are the Days of Our Lives”
Queen + George Michael doing “Somebody to Love”, which was released as a single in 1993, as a part of the Five Live EP, which has 2 of the 3 tracks George Michael had done with Queen and 3 others by himself.
Queen + Elton John and Axl Rose doing “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Note: for the most part, Queen have use a tape of the opera section, from the original 1970s’ studio recording featuring Freddie. For those who have complaints about bands using backing tracks live, you can either blame it on Queen, or except it as it is. In this case, it was needed, whether you disagree with the use of backing tracks or not.
Queen + Elton John and Tony Iommi, doing “The Show Must Go On”, which has been done by Queen since then, with both Paul Rodgers and more recently with Adam Lambert.
Queen + Axl Rose doing “We Will Rock You”
Queen + Liza Minnelli , supported by everyone else who performed at the concert singing the traditional song after We Will Rock You, “We Are the Champions”. This even included members of Scorpions singing along and I had found out, because they had appeared on Rockline the same evening.

Queen – “God Save the Queen” (taped outro, ). As we Queen fans know, this has been the traditional end to every single show, since 1974 and was released on the A Night At the Opera album and at the end of every live album. The concert had happened on Easter Monday of 1992, just before the Simpsons episode The Otto Show would air. That would explain the presence of Spinal Tap, or it could have been coincidental, that the new album was out and that they played at the concert. Either way, I was lucky enough to catch the show live, on both radio and TV and I had a tape of some of the show, which had unfortunately worn out. However, I now have the concert as a digital release and I have both halves of the show, complete with the video montages of Queen and Freddie, between the sets. I had failed to mention above, that the def Leppard version of Now I’m Here also appears on the deluxe version of the Adrenalize album, along with other cool songs, which are also on the X, Yeah! & Songs From The Sparkle Lounge: Rarities From The Vault compilation album which came out in 2021.
Two things had occurred because of the concert: the rerelease of bohemian Rhapsody as a single from the soundtrack of the movie Wayn’s World and the resurgence of queen in North America. The two events are connected by Bo Rhap appearing on both the soundtrack and the Classic Queen compilation, which was released in March 1992, as I had covered in a previous post. The album had done unusually well for a release, with old songs, as I had also gone over in the same post.

Since then, there have been 3 other tribute concerts in more recent years. 2 of them were for people who had committed suicide in 2017 and 1 who had passed away last year. Chris Cornell had died May 18, 2017, while Chester Bennington had passed away on July 20 of the same year. Chester Benington’s concert was first, thanks to Linken Park, their fans and their friends and it was held at The Hollywood Bowl. For Queen fans, Chester pokes fun at Freddie, as he is warming up in one of their video montages between songs. Also, Metallica had made some sort of appearance at concerts for all 4 musicians, with the band playing live at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert, playing live at the Chris Cornell tribute concert and giving well wishes via video message for the Linken Park and Friends show and the Taylor Hawkins tribute shows.. Altho, in the case of Linken Park, it was just them, with a bunch of guest singers and the occasional performance by a solo artist within the set. You’ll see what I mean if you can get through the entire three hour + video.
This reminds me, what if Youtube was around in 1992? Would the concert also have gone out live over it, along with radio and traditional TV? What about social media? Could you imagine the buzz around the show with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, all the other networks which allow us to communicate over the Internet all around the world? In other words, could you imagine the announcement of the concert going viral, before any tickets are sold or anything?

The Freddie Tribute concert had set the standard for how tribute concerts would play in the future, as all the other artists I have mentioned, have all had video montage is playing between the sets and in some cases, it was well-wishes from fellow musicians. Some people had wondered why all of the bands had played their own songs, instead of nothing but Queen songs and I believe that the reason for that is because not every band could do Queen justice, in a short amount of time and why not stage it like a regular concert, with the other bands serving as opening acts, playing their own material? Some bands have covered Queen, but there is also the issue of moving equipment on and off stage for each band and all the logistics of that, which would have had to be worked out. Besides, Queen are also fans of other bands too and they would want to hear them play their own songs. Extreme were the only band to have done, what some would have liked, against Brian’s wishes and for more on that, check this interview with Nuno Bettencourt, years after the concert.

If every opening band had done this, there wouldn’t have been any room for Queen and guest singers to do a full set of music. Also, the way the concert went was and is the best way, for all concerned and it obviously went well. Will we see anything like this again, besides other tribute concerts to fallen musicians? Maybe, depending on the artist and how well-liked the musician was. With every artist mentioned, they were all worthy of. A tribute to them, put on by the band and in the case of Chris and Chester, mental illness is a topic which has risen because of how they had died and others, who have also committed suicide by hanging. With Taylor Hawkins, the fact that he may have died from having an enlarged heart is equally as troubling, but everyone who knew him had liked him. Even Brian and Roger would appear at both tribute concerts to him, in September last year, in London and Los Angeles. Why not? If you haven’t seen or heard the tribute concert before, or if you have and want to watch and or hear it again, here you go. It’s not exactly the complete concert, but you get a general idea of what music we heard that day, at home or in the stadium.

So, what about the other bands who played and what about the guest singers? Nearly everyone is active, with some exceptions. The death of George Michael in 2016 being one of them and David Bowie and Mick Ronson being others. However, in the case of David, he had gone on to release 8 studio albums before he had passed in 2016, with Blackstar being released on his 69th birthday and 2 days before his death.

As for George, he had released a number of albums and had gone through some issues, both of the health and legal, with him being arrested in 1998 in a public bathroom and thus, coming out as gay. Then 2011 saw him having to deal with a bout of pneumonia and I remember hearing him talking and sounding quite short of breath. I was going through my own issues with strep throat, which had lowered my voice significantly at the time and having lost sleep for a day or so and having to go to ER and… … that’s another story for another blog which I had told in a former ham radio group newsletter.

As for Queen, Brian and Roger had decided to continue in 2004, with Paul Rodgers and now Adam Lambert and John would retire, 5 years after the concert. Spike is still with Queen as the musical director and keyboardist and Brian and Roger had released solo albums and had played with other musicians since then.

By the way, any musicians who were a part of the concert are automatically in what I will call The Queen Family. If any band or artist has ever played with Queen, or with a member of Queen, they are in The Queen Family. This includes a rather wide net of musicians who have played with Freddie, Brian, John and Roger over the years and it doesn’t matter whether they had played with Queen in the studio, or live. I will do a separate post in the future, to further explain my reasons for the creation of the family, in my mind.

Anyway, I think I’ve said all that needs to be said and more, about the concert and I’m going to go through some podcasts and try to find the time, to watch any part of it, that I can.

Remembering Taylor Hawkins

Hi folks. It was one year today that we lost Taylor Hawkins, drummer and occasional singer of Foo Fighters. His best friend and boss Dave Grohl would switch places and get behind the drum kit, while Taylor would sing any number of songs, including those by Queen. Why not?

Taylor loved Queen as they were the first band he saw and from that moment, he wanted to play drums. He grew up in an area where reggae was the order of the day so, listening to hard rock was his punk rock in Palo Alto California at the time. Besides Queen, he also loved Rush and so do I. After all, I am Canadian and from Toronto Ontario. However, Queen will always be the classic band to come home to, for the both of us and yes, I am a drummer too. I can’t play as well as Taylor, Roger Taylor or even Dave Grohl, but I can at least keep the beat. I’m a guitarist and like both Dave and Taylor, I can sing and singing is more preferable to me, than wanking away on 6 strings, so I stick to rhythm, providing the crunch. Anyway, I digress.

The reason I am doing this post is rather obvious, but also because since I had done a search on Youtube, I have found 2 live versions of Foo Fighters doing the Queen classic Somebody to Love, with Taylor on lead vocals and Dave pounding the skins. I also listened to an episode of a podcast called Ongoing History of New Music, where the host talked to all 5 members of Foo Fighters about the release and making of Sonic Highways album and the TV series. The host is Alan Cross and the show looks at things from the alt-rock or alternative rock universe. Even if you are not a fan of the band or sub-genre being spotlighted, you always learn something and you will love hearing the stories. Alan Cross is very good at telling stories and making them entertaining and from what I hear, he is also a nice dude. I believe that!

Shortly after Taylor died, Alan did an episode looking back on the life of the Foo’s drummer and thankfully, it is available to listen to.

While I’m at it, let’s listen to Alan and his interview with all 5 members of Foo Fighters in 2014, from their studio.

When I had heard about Taylor’s passing it was early on March 26th and it had come from a Youtube channel I subscribe to, in order to get rock and metal news. I was up from then on and looking for anything I had in my iTunes library and anywhere else on YouTube, to listen to in order to celebrate the life of Taylor Hawkins. I had found some things, but what I really wanted to have was Foo Fighters music on my phone, as payed downloads from iTunes that I could more or less keep forever. So, I had set about collecting each Foo Fighters album and anything else I could find that was lying around from iTunes, by the end of June 2022.

When the tribute concerts to Taylor had happened in September, I was glued to my phone and to a YouTube channel, which had happened to stream it and unfortunately, that stream is no longer up. That was the first concert from Wembley and I didn’t hear the second one from Los Angeles:, but Roger and Brian from Queen had showed up at both shows, along with the surviving members of Rush and even Danny Carey of Tool played with the members of Rush. Both shows had people from many of the bands I had grown up with and even newer bands who, also may regard Queen as an influence. I can’t go through the entire list here, but I can tell you that the list of musicians was as large, or larger than the Freddie Tribute in 1992. However, I will mention Joe Walsh, who is also a ham, or amateur radio operator like me. I having talked with him yet, but I hope to do so some day on the air. Altho, I imagine that it won’t be about music and about more mundane things.

Anyway, let’s get to the reason I am writing this post in the first place. This may be the last time Taylor got to sing this Queen song, before he died and lucky for us, this version is good. RIP.

Classic Queen, 31 Years Later

On march 3rd 1992, Classic Queen came out and I got my copy on Monday March 16th, which was the first day of our March Break and no ping-ponging to and from school for exactly a week from that date, because of a winter storm, the following Sunday. I was excited as this would be my first Queen compilation on CD for me and later on I would get Greatest Hits II on CD and later, on iTunes.

I have talked about how much I loth this compilation, as it really seems like it was thrown together. However, what I am going to do in this post is to point out the good things about this album, besides that it had sold millions in the US and Canada.

First, the single version of Bohemian Rhapsody (as it appears on Classic Queen) sounds exceptionally bright. I like how it sounds on this album, compared to other CDs and even the A Night At The Opera CD, as I found that there was some sort of diminution of sound quality, but not like MP3. With iTunes and Apple Music, the sound is much better than that, using advanced audio coding, which has improved over the years to sound much closer to CD quality and here’s a hint, if what you buy has the words “Apple Digital Master” attached to it, you are 99% guaranteed to have CD-quality sound. I can go into my own opinions on this, but that’s a whole different blog post and, an opinion post from me. To give you an idea of how bright the sound was on Classic Queen, here is the operatic section of BohRhap, with only vocals.

I was also happy that BohRhap was the point track and well, it was obvious why, as it became popular thanks to a comedy movie from a guy from Toronto and an American, who had done their own segment on Saturday Night Live, called Wayne’s World. That was made into the movie and had BohRhap in it and on the soundtrack and, it would be released as a single, backed with The Show Must Go On and why not? It was especially sweet when BohRhap had charted again in the US and had made it to 2 and that’s not bad.

I thought it was cool and this is the one song that can bring Queen and fans of hard rock and metal together, because of the part of the video, where the guys are in the car.

Stone Cold Crazy was included and that made me happy, as on the Sheer Heart Attack CD, it and In the Lap of the Gods are so close that when SCC starts you hear the decay of Roger’s snare drum at the beginning of the track. However, on future versions that was thankfully fixed including digital downloads. Of course, I like the song anyway and, it was also smart to include this track, because of the popularity of Metallica, who had done their own version almost 2 years earlier and were now riding high, with their own album and would play with Queen at The tribute to Freddie, on April 20th.

Hammer to Fall got some love on rock radio, even if it was the single version which was played. I was so happy to hear this song on radio stations, who wouldn’t touch The Works if it had hit them in the face, playing this track on regular rotation, as if it was a new song from a currently active band. You see, at that time Queen were thought to be a dead act, because of Freddie’s death and for a while, that was kinda true. Anyway, I wish that the album version of this song would have been played on rock radio, instead of the single version which appears on both Classic Queen and Greatest Hits II, as it has a better guitar solo and is also, longer.

We got the single versions of I Want It All and Tie Your Mother Down, which neither The Miracle or A Day At The Races CD’s had included as bonus material. Altho, The Miracle would include the single version of I Want It All on the 2011 deluxe and the 2022 super deluxe version. Tie only would be included on Stone Cold Classics and for a time, the music video was available on iTunes, which also had the single version as the music for the track. Naturally, when I figured this out and had snapped it up in 2019 I considered myself really lucky and am so glad I had bought it. It is no longer on iTunes in Canada so, lucky me.

Queen would be played quite a lot on rock radio, besides BohRhap and Hammer To Fall. This would include both Headlong and The Show Must Go On, along with Keep Yourself Alive and of course, We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, Somebody To Love, Killer Queen and other rock radio staples for Queen. You may have heard Stone Cold Crazy once in a while, but the other songs I had mentioned were played a lot, along with the normal album version of Under Pressure from Hot Space and I will get into that track below. Because of Classic Queen, Queen were played in regular rotation and the band’s popularity would balloon and the only problem was that this wouldn’t cary over to the back catalog shifting as many units for a while and I don’t understand why that was. At least, that is what I had heard on the radio somewhere, but I don’t know for sure. Either way, that would be rather disturbing.

Queen became cool again, thanks to BohRhap and of course, Classic Queen and when the 1992 “Greatest Hits” album was released they became even cooler. Hell, even my school would include BohRhap during an event called Run For Light and this would be documented on our audio yearbook for the 1993/ 94 school year. Was I happy? Sure, but it shouldn’t have taken the death of Freddie, a comedy movie and a weird compilation shifting units for this to happen.

We got a different mix of Under Pressure than the one we have known since 1981 and as I had said before, I actually like it better than the original. I had included this in a previous post, but I thought I would include it here again, because this was a major reason for me having any love for this compilation.

Like all compilations, the CD booklet contained the liner notes, there was information about every song on the album including when it was released and other cool details. My mom read it out to me and I had to help her with pronouncing names like Russell Mulcahy, when talking about A Kind Of Magic and it’s inclusion in Highlander, as well as on the eponymous album in 1986. Queen Rocks was the exception to this rule, as it had just the lyrics and no song information, like the hits packages have. Of course, this was years before Google was even a word and the only mention of it was with Sesame Street and Cookie Monster’s googly eyes, but I’m not sure if I even spelled that correctly. Anyway, I now have no need for That and can either do a Google search, or go into my bookmarks on my phone. I have a bookmark for Queen, along with Def Leppard and can simply search for Queen, if I want more specific information about one of the bands in this bookmark I had created.

Finally, this was my first Queen compilation I would own on CD and my second was the British Greatest Hits album. After both Classic Queen and the 1992 “Greatest Hits” albums had come out, I had gained much more appreciation for both of the British hits packages and especially, after the edits to songs, which didn’t deserve any cutting whatsoever. The Miracle was the worst offender as it was edited, while One Vision was trimmed at both the beginning and end, without taking any chunks of the song out. If you want, I’ll give you the Classic Queen edits of both songs here. First, The Miracle and if you know the album version like the back of your hand, you will see why I hate this atrocious edit

Now, here is One Vision, as it had appeared on Classic Queen and to be frank, I think that the single version should have been included, instead of this cheap trimmed version.

There is a song which does need an answer, as to why it was included on a North American compilation. What the hell was One Year of Love doing here? It wasn’t even a single released in North America and there for, it has no business on this album. Just because it is written by Deacy? That would be the only reason I could think of, for including it to make that quota. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense here.

Having said that, it is a good compilation, despite my own misgivings about how it was put together and the versions they used for some songs, which also goes for the Greatest Hits package which would be released in September 1992. I am also glad that Queen became cool again and cool to a younger generation, who were also being turned on to alternative rock coming out of Seattle and other genres of music which would bubble up to the mainstream, with Queen holding their own in their resurgence as a legacy band. By the way, I also loved what was coming out of Seattle as it reminded me of how rock was supposed to sound, with simple pop song hooks and for my progressive rock needs, there was that artistic side of bands like Soundgarden, along with Alice In Chains’s metal sound and what’s not to like about that, alongside Queen? Anyway, everything would eventually settle down and radio stations would circle the wagons, tighten the playlists according to format and Queen would once again, be played steadily on classic rock radio, as opposed to being overplayed like they were an active band with a new album on the market.

To call this post a day, i am going to ask a question and I hope that you can answer it in the comments on either Facebook, Twitter, or even here. I will also provide my own answer and you may find it surprising. Should Classic Queen be released as a digital download on iTunes and all streaming platforms? My answer is yes (warts and all), but not as a standalone compilation. It should be released as a part of The Queen Collection as it was with the 1992 Greatest Hits package and the 3rd disk with the Queen For An Hour interview and Thank God It’s Christmas on it, possibly with some bonus tracks, such as any remixes of songs which had appeared on the 1991 CD remasters, putting everything a Queen fan could want in one package and because those remixes and alternate versions are on Youtube and shouldn’t only be there. Maybe this would require a 4th disk, but I dont care as the inclusion of any and all Hollywood Bonus remixes would tie up any loose ends and remind those of us who had bought the 1991 CD remasters, what we were given back then. This would include everything which was different compared to the 2011 remasters like the silly edits to some of the songs, which were more obvious than others. I Want It All from the 1991 remaster of The Miracle is a prime example of this and I hope that something like this may come out, either this year or some time in the future. This would be a great Christmas release and something that most fans wouldn’t expect to go out after 31 years, but I think that my idea should at least get discussed. One more thing, it should be released throughout the world and not just the US and Canada. Hollywood Records is distributed by Universal and so is Island Records so, why not do this?

Happy 32nd Birthday To Innuendo

It was 32 years ago today, that Innuendo had come out and this is a post about how it relates to me and how it had kick started my Queen fandom, shortly after it had come out. I will be repeating some things from previous posts, but you will understand why in a bit.

Back in February 1991, I only had the Greatest Hits album on tape and didn’t listen to it all that much, as I was still in my Beatles phase and even after I got into Queen, The Beatles didn’t exactly go away as I had tried to find connections between the two bands. Well, that would come in time and in the beginning of 1991, I would be putting up with my friend Bob playing Queen on his little ghetto blaster and he had bought Innuendo on CD and I had dipped my toes into the Queen waters, by purchasing it on tape on a Monday afternoon in March, during an orientation and mobility lesson. I went to a record store in Brantford at one of its malls and had bought it and soon after, I would give it a listen. Very quickly, Innuendo (the album and song) would grow on me, but I wouldn’t buy the album on CD until late May and then, the ball had started rolling.

As I had said in the other post about me and Bob, Queen grew on me because of my propensity to hard rock and after Bob and myself had listened to Rockline with Brian and Roger as guests, I began to hear more of the album from him.

In January I would hear Headlong on the radio at home and it was a nice song (I guess) at the time. Little did I know that I would grow to love it months later, because of its hard rock vibe and a kinda stripped down feel to it and the production. It was still heavily produced, but it had a drier sound and of course, that would continue on Made In Heaven 4 years later.

I would hear Innuendo next and I didn’t sit through the whole song at first, so I didn’t notice the Spanish guitar Interlude with Steve Howe of Yes and Asia fame. It reminded me (oddly enough) vocally of Twisted Sister and the bonus track King Of The Fools from the album Come Out And Play. Why? I have no idea, but here it is anyway.

I love how slow and menacing Innuendo is and that drum roll at the beginning, lets you know that this is a song which demands attention, even with its 6 minutes and change length. The middle section when played by Brian reminded me (then and now) of something which you would hear on an Iron Maiden track and because I love Maiden, that touched a nerve with me. Vocally, Freddie was singing as well as ever and there seemed to be no indication that he was sick, throughout the entire album. The exception is the sound of his voice, which was thinner, but despite that it was still strong and authoritative.

I’m Going Slightly Mad isn’t one of my favourite Queen tracks, but what impressed me is how low Freddie sings and affectively at that. He doesn’t often do a track in the lower register, unless he is harmonizing with himself or only as a part of a song. The only other time he had done this was with Crazy Little Thing Called Love and it was not really a showcase for how well he could sing down there. If Freddie had lived to today, I’m sure that we would have heard more of him down in the bottom range of his voice more often and always returning to the higher register, to serve the song.

I Can’t Live With You had a pop feel to me, even if it is a composition from Brian and vocally, Freddie seemed to echo this with his delivery. The sound of the programmed drums reminds me of The Devil You Know by Jesus Jones, which would appear on their 1993 album Perverse. There was a song from 1990 which has much the same type of pop swing to it and the same vocal delivery which Freddie has on the song, but I can’t remember what it is and who did it. I thought it was Luther Vandross, but it wasn’t.

When I heard Don’t Try So Hard for the first time, I thought Freddie sounded like a girl when he sang the falsetto part and I loved when he went into full voice on that high D 5 note. I tried to mimic what he did and I succeeded (when I was 17) and now I don’t know if I can still do it anymore, because I haven’t had a chance to sing Queen songs properly.

Ride The Wild Wind was a song I love singing because of its wide range and I especially love the guitar solo and the chugging lead up to the final chorus.

All God’s People was a song which Bob and myself thought was titled after the first words of the song, like Christian hymns we had learned at school, for full assemblies. Also, the fact that Mike Moran had written it didn’t clue into either of us as we didn’t know Queen or Freddie’s history well enough, to know about the Barcelona album. All the same, I liked it and I still do to this day. I also wish that it would become a hymn which kids had to learn in school, instead of those boring Christian tunes we had to learn, when we grew up.

I had thought that These Are the Days of Our Lives was just called Days of Our Lives, after the soap opera of the same name in the US. It could have been a theme to a TV show, but it obviously has another meaning now, especially given the context of the video and events which would occur months later, like the death of Freddie in November 1991.

I’m going to talk about Delilah, despite that it is not one of the greatest songs by Queen, but I am going to address the debate over whether Brian uses a Wawa pedal, or a talk box at the end when he does the meows. I’m going to state it right here, that I believe it is a talk box. If you listen carefully, you can hear “M” when Brian does the “meow’s” and you can’t do that with a Wawa pedal.

Now we get to my personal favourite song on the album, The Hitman which is probably the heaviest Queen song in years, besides Was It All Worth It and unfortunately, it wasn’t released as a single, as an A-side. It reminds me at times of early Black Sabbath and at times, Freddie sounds even more evil than Ozzy when delivering the line “I’m the hitman, I’m your prise”, with his vibrato sounding sinister. It’s a great guitar song and my guitar teacher showed me how to play it.

Bijou actually made me sad, because of how little Freddie was actually on the track. To me, that was a marker I had missed that something was very wrong with Freddie and his health, especially while Brian and Roger were denying that Freddy was ill, until the very end. It’s simply because of how little Freddie sings on this song that should have made me shout louder that something was going on and it wasn’t good.

The Show Must Go On has gained popularity after Freddie had died over here in North America, but I liked it and still do. Freddie did not sound like he was sick at all, except for Freddie singing slightly flatt at times, but that only adds to the song’s beauty. I love how it is a power ballad, but also symphonic at the same time and it is a perfect song to end off the final album, with Freddie while he was still alive. If they had ended it off with Bijou, it wouldn’t have been right and thank God they gave us one more as a finale.

When I had bought Innuendo on CD, I remember the booklet smelling kinda like peanut butter and so does Bob. I wonder why that is, as it seems odd to me. Was there someone eating a peanut butter sandwich and happen to have some peanut butter on his hands, when handling the initial booklet? I don’t know, I’m just asking.

Anyway, happy 32nd anniversary to this fine album from Fredie, Brian, John and Roger and there really is nothing else to be said about it.


Hi folks. I’m going to ask a question here and I’m going to give my answer, with the hope that others will also give the same answer in the comments. Why do I love Queen so much?

I have many reasons for Queen being in my top 5 favourite bands with other classic rock bands in the top 10 or lower. Yes, I love The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, but Queen are the shit because they love to genre-bend and do not stay in one place on every album. That could also be a same reason to dislike them, as there are people who want their favourite bands to have a unified sound. I get that and I love bands who do, but when Queen had released an album they did what they did well, because they worked hard in the studio. This has pushed other rock and metal bands to be as fussy about their sound and one example of this has to be Devin Townsend. He does good work with plenty of information coming at you and he also does harmony vocals, even in a band like Strapping Young Lad, despite having some thrash and industrially tinged sounds in their music.

Queen have also written great songs and I guess that this could also be a point of contention with some, that there has been nothing new for years. I’ll grant that, but I will defend the songs I like the most as vehemently as I can and will justify why songs in a specific genre are great as Queen songs, despite that most of the heaviest numbers didn’t even get a sniff at prime time. Dead On Time was never even a single and neither was The Hitman, or Was It All Worth It. All 3 songs are on the Deep Cuts compilations for that reason alone, dew to how great they are and how they could have had more time in the spotlight, as they are popular among Queen fans, who love hard rock. At least, Was It All Worth It is and even Axl Rose had said on Rockline in 1994 that maybe he could have done Dead On Time for The Spaghetti Incident? back in 1993. Could you imagine it among the various punk and classic rock songs in the mix and even that Charles Manson song at the very end? I will talk about hard rock more in a bit!

Queen are also a great live band and I have never been to a Queen concert, even with Paul Rodgers or Adam Lambert on vocals. However, as a musician I feel the energy the 4 of them had when they played live back in the day. Listening to a song like Stone Cold Crazy from their November 1974 Rainbow show certainly has that urgency and forosity. Freddie may not hit all the notes of each song as we hear them on the albums, but that’s the point and he is doing what is best for himself and his voice. If he went all out and actually tried to hit every single note while moving around like he did, he would be out of tune and would have a lot of trouble. Take when he actually attempts the higher part in One Vision from Live At Wembley on July 12th 1986, when he sings “there’s only one direction” and he hits a high D, on the word “one”, but direction sounds awful because he can’t do the run. I’ve heard metal singers who make this mistake and fans generally don’t care, because they are moving around on stage. For example: Sebastian Bach when he was with Skid Row was captured in one of their home videos and he sounded awful. As much as it bothers me, I’m glad that Freddie doesn’t try to replicate songs live, because it’s nearly impossible without moving around like he did. Then again, there was Live Aid, where he nailed BohRhap and We Are The Champions nearly note for note so, he could have done it more often, but the whole point of what he did was communicating with the audience and giving his all.

Let’s not forget that all 4 of the guys are great musicians in their own rights and Brian doesn’t have to shred, in order to prove that he’s a virtuoso guitarist. The same could be said for Roger, not having to attempt to play long drum solos in order to show that he’s a great drummer. Freddie has proven himself as a great singer in the studio and live, as well as being the consummate showman. As for John, he just plays some really good bass.

Queen have also done some really cool things in the studio which have always impressed me, like the multy-layered vocal and guitar harmonies from Brian. Some bands have done that in rock and metal, but Queen started it and when ever I hear 3 part guitar harmony in any other band besides Queen, I automatically assume that Queen fans are in the band. Even the megaphone type vocal effect that Freddie did on Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon was done again, by other bands. Depending on who you ask, they either worked or didn’t and of course, Queen weren’t the first band to have their voices filtered. Remember The Beatles and the song Piggies from The White Album? That whole middle section with George Harrison singing alone is all filtered, before the musical break before the last verse.

I guess the most impressive thing for me is that Queen had been around for 20 years, with the same lineup until Freddie passed away in November 1991. This is despite all four members being different from each other and the fact that they fight to get what they want. There must be something there which had kept them together, besides friendship and mutual respect for each other. These days with Brian and Roger, there is no drama and they seem to like most of the same bands. For example: they’ve both expressed respect and admiration for Muse, who are of course in my iTunes library and I had grown to respect them years ago, especially when learning that Queen are among their influences and they also respect another of my favourite bands, namely Slipknot. There’s another band who should have stayed together as they were from the first album lineup, but life had other ideas and it’s nearly impossible for 9 members to agree on everything. With Muse it’s the same 3 guys since day one and with Queen, there had been other bassists, but we regard the classic lineup as the definitive lineup of the band and now that Freddie is gone, it is Queen plus whom ever is the singer, with John also deciding to retire in 1997.

Having said all that, I don’t necessarily like every Queen song. I leave those songs which I listen to, only when listening to a complete album as I feel that those songs are here for a reason, which is unspoken. I also wish that Queen could put out more albums so they could get with the times. Unfortunately, without Freddie and John, we won’t get that opportunity to find out whether we hear Brian playing guitar in an alternate tuning, or if Roger will suddenly break out with a galloping beat, such as the middle of I Want It All more often. Would Freddie try growling, or roaring? Would they try distorted vocals, much like Trent Reznor does with Nine Inch Nails sometimes? Would they even attempt something resembling NIN or Ministry? Would Freddie do more songs in the baritone range, much like Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode? I believe that everything would have been possible if Freddie was with us today and maybe even a musical could have come out of a future album. Maybe they would have done what Judas Priest did with their 2008 album Nostradamus, or American Idiot from Green Day. Maybe Freddie would have encouraged other singers from genres outside rock to guest on future Queen albums. Could you imagine if Montserrat Caballé showing up on a Queen album, hitting a couple of high notes? There could have been endless possibilities and if Queen had been making albums with Freddie today, I believe that more bands would name Queen as an influence and without shame, especially in the rock and metal community. Yes, loud wire certainly list them as a nonmetal band which metalheads love, but what about metal bands themselves? We know that some have indicated as such, but what about others who have flirted with various aspects of what Queen did?

If yu take out all of the ballads and experimenting with other genres of music, Queen are really just a hard rock band at the core. Hard rock is their main platform sound and that is how we were introduced to Queen with Keep Yourself Alive back in 1973. I was in a hospital in an incubator, but I’m talking in general that we were given a hard rock song out of the gate and why not? Most of the first album was hard rock and I guess to an extent, Queen II was also mostly hard rock, with other albums continuing to include more than 1 crushing track on all of their albums, except for Made In Heaven because of the circumstances in which this album was put together. But by and large, queen are a hard rock band and because of that, they have influenced many metal bands as well as musicians from other genres. Then again, Lady GaGa is a metalhead too and she also loves Queen and I wonder about someone like Billie Eilish. I wonder if she may have a bit of Queen in her musical dna. I am putting this hear because in one of the big metal magazines there was an article, with a list of nonmetal artists who are kinda metal in certain ways, including Lady GaGa and Billie Eilish. The idea was to highlight those who aren’t hard rock or rock bands and that obviously left Queen out of the discussion.

If you look at the last post I did and the long list of other bands in my iTunes library, then take a listen to their individual diskographies, you will understand why I like them nearly as much as I love Queen and 4 other bands. Queen will always be the first band I mention out of my fave 5: Pantera, Slipknot, Metallica and Tool being the other 4. I will get into each band in future posts and I may go beyond the 5, in order to talk about others. For now, let’s enjoy Queen for what they have given us and even if it is just the same songs, we know that they will last until the end of time.

Being A Queen Fan Pt 2, Living On My Own

Hi folks. This is the second part of my post about my years as a Queen fan. This time I will talk about the years from 1994 to now and this will explain why I have always been honest about being a Queen head, but also enjoying other bands. So, here we go.

Remember, back in 1994 I had finally got my hands on the elusive Live Magic album on CD and 1994 was also the year I had graduated from school, age 21. From then on, Queen would always be top priority, but other bands weren’t out of the question. Case in point, during the last couple of weeks of the school year, I had picked up Superunknown by Soundgarden and on the surface, this would be an odd choice. Except, Brian played on a rerecording of a previous song from the album Badmotorfinger and the final track New Damage. I liked what I had heard and after my first purchase, I later bought BMF in the fall of 1994.

I would also begin to collect CDs by Nine Inch Nails, long before I knew that they had covered a Queen song, or that Trent Reznor is a Queen fan. Further to that, I would also purchase a number of albums by Ministry over the next 38 years, either on CD or digitally. Queen fans who only listen to Queen may gasp in shock and horror at the sound of songs like: N.W.O., Jesus Built My Hotrod, or Thieves, but I don’t mind. As I had said in the last post on being a Queen fan, like Queen have never stayed in one genre, I have always liked all kinds of music (whether I wanted to admit it or not) and industrial metal and any form of extreme metal are among the genres Queen haven’t touched.

If you have read the post on the Made In Heaven album, I had mentioned all of the big alt rock bands which had been either rising, or going strong in various parts of the world and I had grown to like them, along with the usual classic rock I had always loved. I had mentioned the connection to Queen and grunge through members of Soundgarden and Andrew Wood being a fan of Freddie. Don’t forget that members of the band he was in would go on to form Pearl Jam, with a California surfer dude (who could sing) named Eddie Vedder. Even Stone Temple Pilots may have been influenced by Queen, with how singer Scott Weiland would add flamboyancy to his stage presence as they became bigger. Doesn’t that remind you of someone we love? There were also roomers that STP had covered Sheer Heart Attack as a potential B-side around 2001 or so, but I’m not sure.

Apparently, even Kurt Cobain of Nirvana loved Queen. Probably, but you wouldn’t know it by his music and the general sound. Even later learning that John Leiden a.k.a. Johnny Rotten had respect for Freddie and the other 3, when he would meet up with Brian and Roger, while both Queen and Sex Pistols were recording in the same studio in 1977. So, I learned that there are Queen fans from all sorts of genres and sub-genres of rock.

One more name for now is Gary Newman who had a big hit with Cars, covered by metal band Fear Factory on their 1998 album Obsolete as a bonus track. They had Gary singing with them and in the video too. Gary is also a Queen fan and here is a link to a story, about Freddie going the extra mile for him in the early 80s.

I will have one more connection to Queen through comedy later on, when talking about the 2010s. In 1995, Made In Heaven came out and just before I had got it in my hand, I was listening to a Nine Inch Nails Italian bootleg CD from the Woodstock 94 concert. For the record, the song I had on at the time was Something I Can Never Have, which goes against what had happened when I got the knock on the door from my friend, who went out and got Made In Heaven for me at the time. I had been waiting all of 1995 for this album to come out and while it was being put together, Queen at the BBC (Live) had come out and I was disappointed, as I found the import of the same album with a similar title, just after Christmas 1991, the same day I had purchased Flash Gordon and Live Killers and found the 1981 Greatest Hits on CD, but wouldn’t purchase it until April 1992.

Around Christmas 1995, I would purchase the boxed set with the first 2 Greatest Hits albums and I was happy, that finally we in North America would have the second Hits package proper and not a rushed slap-dash compilation like Classic Queen and the 1992 Greatest Hits. Can’t you tell that I don’t like those albums?

Anyway, in late summer 1996, I find out that Live Magic would finally get released on Hollywood Records in North America and if I had known that, I probably would have waited. I couldn’t find the Capital Records version, despite a school mate having it on tape. No, not Bob and it was one of the slower kids who when you asked what tape he had, would say “it’s a red one.” Yes, I went to school with all kinds of people and I was in the middle, between the jocks and smarty-pantses, with the slow and dimwitted kids on the other end. I sometimes got lumped in with the dim, but mostly with the smarter kids whom I could have an intelligent conversation, without them getting off track.

From 1997 to 1999, Queen Rocks was my only album I had managed to find and the rest of my time, was taken up with metal and mostly, Metallica. I had actually got all their albums in 1996, just before the Load album came out and I have no problem with them switching gears from thrash to radio rock and back again. There was also the Alice in Chains influence and again, that didn’t bother me because I like AIC too. Just listen to a song like Where The Wild Things Are from Reload and you can certainly hear it.

In 1998, it was all about nu metal, with Korn becoming something of a favourite band. I was also waiting for the next Nine Inch Nails album to come out and in 1996, I had finally heard their cover of Get Down Make Love and I never had a problem with it. When 2wo with Rob Halford came out I was surprised at how much I like it, but not shocked that it didn’t do as well as it could have done. I mean, David Bowie had gone in a similar direction on his last two album so, why couldn’t Rob Halford try it and succeed? At least, he never abandon metal and was well aware of bands like Korn and limp Bizkit, as well as Pantera. There’s another band I had become a fan of at that time and I had picked up some of their CDs at a used record store, called Dr. Disk in Hamilton Ontario, where I had lived at the time. My favourite album is Far Beyond Driven, as it is heavy from beginning to end, except for that Black Sabbath cover right at the end.

Korn had released their third album Follow The Leader in August of 1998 and that was interesting to hear it and compare it to Queen. For some reason, the end of the song Cameltosis reminds me of how that untitled track from Made In Heaven ends, with the ascending rocket type affect, but this time it just goes up and into the next song, which starts off with bagpipes.

The year 1999 was a crazy year for me and my musical tastes, as I would learn about and collect albumms by Fear Factory, who had started out as a death metal band, including melodic vocals and samples, similar to industrial music acts like Ministry and Skinny Puppy. Then, they changed their sound and vocals to have a sound of their own and have put out a number of albums. My favourite album will always be Demanufacture, as every song is memorable and like Queen albums, it takes you on a trip.

The other band I became obsessed with that year was Slipknot, who had released their debut album in June 1999. This album is probably my second favourite of their discography, behind their 2001 album Iowa, but it does have my favourite Slipknot song on it, namely Eyeless. Again, if you are only into Queen, this will be a shock to the system and if you are also a fan of Slipknot, you know why I say this. I would get to meet the entire band in 2000 and singer Corey Taylor again, when touring with his other band Stone Sour on their debut album and we had coffee, with me having a double double and his coffee being black. I wish I had known about him being a Queen fan as I would have liked to have spoken with him about our favourite songs. I could go on about other bands I had grown to love from that time, but that would make the post longer than I would like it to be. However, I will give you an list of bands which have held me to Queen, throughout those years and the names may not all be obvious, but something in them kept me holding on.

In the fall of 1999, Greatest Hits III had come out and I had no idea that there would be another one, given that there was only 1 album released between GH II and 1999. However, it happened and considering what was going on with Queen, I give it a pass, as it did include some solo work on it and the track No One But You (Only the Good Die Young) and Thank God It’s Christmas at the end.

From 2000 to 2014, I wouldn’t purchase any Queen albums, simply because I had run out of room in my CD box I had made in shop class, especially for my CDs. I would put all of what I had collected in my box and eventually, I just ran out of space so, I had just stopped. Meanwhile, I would continue to try and join bands, as well as move into my own place and buy albums by newer rock and metal bands. In 2001, I had become a Tool fan and I had always thought they were cool, but I didn’t really get it, until I would get all 4 CDs that were available. My favourite of all of their albums has to be the 1996 masterpiece Ænima, which had been a calming influence around the September 11th attacks and the 2003 North American black out.

In 2004, I had heard about the 1981 Greatest Hits being reissued under the title Greatest Hits (We Will Rock You Edition) and I wasn’t interested at that time. No, I hadn’t stopped being a fan, it was because I didn’t have any room anymore and it was a compilation I had in the past. Sure, there were bonus tracks, but I just wasn’t interested. Even when Queen teamed up with Paul Rodgers I payed attention, but I didn’t exactly jump for joy, because it was different. I’ll talk about Adam Lambert later on.

When Queen Rock Montreal came out, I was happy, but I knew I couldn’t just run out and get it because I had nowhere to put it, because of no room. It wasn’t until 2014, I had finally decided to catch myself up with everything Queen and it would all be on my iPhone. Unfortunately, the sound quality was not exactly up to snuff, with drum hits which stood alone sounding washy. I would hide those purchases and buy all the albums again in 2022, with the exception of the 2004 Greatest Hits album and any album which has CD sound quality. Yes, I am fussy about what I hear and at first, I let it go. However, that has changed and now I am trying to fix that, even if I have to buy the same albums again.

Changing the subject for a moment, I had told you that I also like comedy as well as music and if you like Monty Python, there is that Queen connection, with Jim Beach as a friend of Eric Idle and from what he says, Jim also manages Python as well as Queen. I hope so! I had become a fan of Python in 1998 and before that, I had always liked them, but didn’t know who was who. Even when I had heard John Cleese reading Great Expectations by Charles dickens on tape and I didn’t connect the dots bak then. I was 10 and had no idea that comedians would read audiobooks and obviously, now I know that some do and not just their own autobiographies either. Besides: John Cleese, Eric idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam are all great in their own rights and I’m glad that I know the names and who is who and who does what.

I will give you a list of my favourite comedians and those I have in my iTunes library. Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Lewis black, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Bob Newhart, Cheech & Chong, Dan Castellaneta, Harry Shearer Dennis Miller, Dr. Demento, Eddie Murphy, The Firesign Theatre, Henry Rollins, Jeff Wayne (American comedian), Jonathan Winters, MacLean & MacLean, National Lampoon, Rowan Atkinson, Sean Morey, Steven Wright, The Three Stooges and Bob & Doug McKenzie. I couldn’t exclude a couple of hosers, portrayed by Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis. Right? There are more comedians which I like, but I don’t have them in my iTunes library as yet.

In 2011, I finally had access to internet through an older cell phone, with buttons as opposed to a touchscreen and I had begun to explore Wikipedia, a couple years earlier. I should explain, that I had gone to the CNIB (Canadian National Institute For The Blind) in Toronto, to learn about and maybe obtain my ham radio license in 2008. I had discovered how websites work and eventually, I would come across Wikipedia in 2009. That is how I began to catch up with Queen and had learned about the Queen On Fire live album from 2004, along with how far back they had to go, in order to make Made In Heaven a full album.

In 2011, I had internet access, because of a data plan I had with my cell phone company and it wasn’t very much. However, it was just enough for me to do what I have to do and that didn’t involve social media yet. That would come when I got the iPhone and a year after that. Anyway, I got myself caught up on any and all albums Queen had released since 1999, as far as knowledge about them. I would also learn about all of what had come out in 2011, with the entire catalogue being released and with the Luxe versions to. I would finally purchase them in September 2014 and unfortunately, I didn’t listen to the sound quality before I had bought each album on iTunes. However, that would be remedied last year in July, when I bought both the Standard and deluxe version of each album. Oh yes, I can’t forget about Queen Forever and this album being one of my first preorders on iTunes. Actually, this was my second, as the first was .5: The Gray Chapter (Special Edition) from Slipknot. Before Christmas, I would purchase Queen On Fire, Queen Rock Montreal, along with everything else including Live at the Rainbow ‘74, Live Killers and Live Magic. In 2015, it would be the Deep Cuts compilations, Hungarian Rhapsody (Live In Budapest 1986) and A Night at the Odeon (Live), with Queen On Air in 2016, Bohemian Rhapsody (The Original Soundtrack) in 2018 and Greatest Hits In Japan in 2020. In 2014 and 2019 I would purchase Live At Wembley Stadium, with the version with extra tracks: A Kind of Magic (Live at Wembley ’86 (July 11)), Another One Bites the Dust (Live at Wembley ’86 (July 11)), Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Live at Wembley ’86 (July 11)) and Tavaski Szel Vizet Araszt (Live), which was an odd choice to put on this album, but okay. I would also purchase both Mr. Bad Guy (Special Edition) and Barcelona in 2019, after purchasing Messenger of the Gods: The Singles Collection in 2016 and Lover of Life, Singer of Songs: The Very Best of Freddie Mercury Solo in 2014. I even managed to purchse Golden Days from Brian & Kerry Ellis in the summer of 2017, among other things before the summer of 2022.

In 2014, Queen and Adam Lambert went on tour together as Queen & Adam Lambert and has been together to this day. The only song I know from Adam is What Do You Want From Me? And I do have a track he did on Avicii’s True album in 2013. That’s the one with Wake Me Up and Hey Brother on it and no, I don’t normally listen to that kind of music, but Wake Me Up has a cool vibe. I had learned about Adam’s contributions later on before purchasing the album on iTunes in 2017.

In 2020, I was surprised when Queen and Adam put out You Are The Champions as a single, but I shouldn’t have been, as it was for the nurses who were dealing with COVID-19 patients, during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, on October 2nd, two albums came out that I was waiting for: CMFT by Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, as well as Live Around the World from Queen and Adam. I bought the deluxe version as it would have more music on it. Then, that same day, Donald Trump got Covid and put all the spotlight on him, while I had gone to the bank to do a transaction. So far, Queen and Adam had done a tour in 2022 and maybe one more in 2023. I prefer Freddie, but Adam isn’t all that bad.

Now it’s 2023 and my Queen fandom has been further locked in when I had discovered a podcast (which was approved by Queen in 2020. The Queen Podcast has been going since the fall of 2020 and yes, I know that some who are reading this know about the podcast and it’s Facebook group, but I’m promoting it here too. I also had put a link to it in the first post in this blog and I quite enjoy it, even it is quite long at times. They are going through every queen album in order of the track listings and I’m looking forward to them covering more solo stuff. They did Back To The Light from Brian and Roger’s first solo outing Fun In Space. By the way, this was one of the late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins’s favourite album as he had a poster on the wall of 606, the Foos recording studio in California. I wonder if it is still there, even after Taylor passed.

Anyway, this podcast and its FB group got me in touch with fellow Queen heads, with whom I could talk about the band without having to explain all that much. I’m happy to know that we all like not just Queen, but other bands too and of course, some of us are more obsessed than others, but that’s all right. It’s all a part of being a Queen fan and as a fan, I am happy to have found the podcast and its FB group. I had fired off an email early on and here is what it said.

Subject: Hello from Canada

Hello from Canada. My name is Gordie and I live in Toronto Ontario Canada. I am in my late 40s and I have been a Queen fan, since I was about 4, when I had discovered News Of The World and had heard the first 4 or 5 tracks. However, I didn’t buy all of the albums until 1991, as they had come out on CD and yes, the remixes were either tolerable, or just plain atrocious. Queen got me through my hi school years and back then, it wasn’t cool to be a fan in my early 20s either. I became the fan I am today, in 1991 and just after Freddie had died, I had all of the albums on CD, except for: Queen II, The Works, Live Killers and Flash Gordon, along with Live Magic and any solo material from Freddie, Brian or Roger.

I discovered the cast a couple of days ago, while checking Twitter and immediately subscribed to it. I am in the process of catching up to the latest episode and right now, I just finished listening to Queen II, The Black Side. I’m looking forward to what you are going to do, after going through all of the albums and, whether you will be going through the solo albums and maybe, appearances on other bands songs. For example: Brian playing with Soundgarden. Maybe even talking about bands they have influenced or, who have influenced them.

About my last idea, I can think of a lot of bands that have Queen all over their music and maybe more, than what Wikipedia has listed. For example: the band Korn has even admitted that singer Jonathan Davis loves Freddie and Robert Plant, as much as other 80s new wave and alternative bands. I bet you that even Depeche Mode have been influenced by Queen in someway and the same with Queen being influenced by them, on a song like Radio GaGa. Even extreme metal bands owe something to Queen and obviously, Stone Cold Crazy is a perfect example of this. If you listen to what Roger is doing during the verces, he is essentially playing blast beats. Except, he’s using rimshots as opposed to snare on the second beat and it’s not quite so fast, as you would hear in bands like Suffocation, or any extreme metal bands you can name from any related sub genres.

By the way, take another listen to Friends Will Be Friends and you will hear some Hendrix-like Wawa from Brian, during the fade out. That jumped out at me, after thinking about it and I thought I would mention it here. Also, A Kind Of Magic and The Works were recorded using Rockman amplifiers, along with the usual amps for the heavy sound. Nobody has said this but, when I listen to both albums I immediately recognized the sound, as I would hear it on more recent albums by Boston. A lot of bands had used them, without mentioning it, other than Def Leppard and even Wikipedia fails to point out this fact, about those two albums.

One thing you should know about me is that I have been blind since birth and I am also a musician. I can’t play guitar as well as Brian or sing like Freddie, but I try. I also have perfect pitch and have a trained ear, to hear music and any sounds, like guitar sounds and even how Freddie’s voice sounds on certain tracks from Made In Heaven. When it had come out, most people didn’t Clue in that the vocals have been recorded over a number of years and after listening to each track, I figured it out right away. although, I did need a little help in figuring out when tracks like Let Me Live and It’s A Beautiful Day were recorded. Obviously, I know now from Wikipedia and the 2011 deluxe version of The Game.

My question is, (in your opinions)what Queen cover version is the best out of all of the ones whih have been released? I like the original and the Metallica version of Stone Cold Crazy in their own rights! I was surprised to hear the faithful rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody by Puscifer, as I had no idea that Maynard James Keenan was a fan. I love Tool and Queen but it was certainly odd, to hear him singing Freddie’s words.

Anyway, keep up the great work and hopefully the cast can go on for a long time, even after the pandemic is over.

Sent from my iPhone SE

That was back in 2020 and they did read out my email and I was wrong about one or two things, namely that the Rockman amplifiers weren’t used on A Kind Of Magic, according to Wikipedia. However, it certainly sounds like it and I would like to think that I am right on this, because of the guitar sound alone.

Anyway, I did get a reply and most of the email was read out on Episode 11, about 28 minutes into it. I may decide to do a voice message for the podcast some day, when I am free of any obligations, whether they be blogs, emails or YouTube channels I watch regularly. I also have to figure out a good question for the panel to answer.

Ever since the podcast, I’ve been buying whatever Queen music I could find on iTunes, which isn’t a movie and eventually, I will purchase the Rock In rio movie, of Queen live in 1985. I have also continued with my solo collection, with purchasing both versions Back To The Light and Another World in 2021 and 2022. In the past week or so, I now have all of Roger’s solo work and with The Cross, thanks to Christmas money and in case you are wondering, I bought the individual albums instead of The Lot as I wanted each album separately.

Will I continue to snap up Queen and solo work? Of course and even take what ever I can from Youtube and convert the audio to MP3, which isn’t available on iTunes anymore, or as yet. I am looking forward to any new reissues and what ever we will get in the coming years, as I turn 50 in June. Maybe we will get the debut album’s 50th anniversary this year? I guess we will see and hopefully, more boxed sets like what we saw in November with The Miracle will be coming down the pike, as there are B-sides and rare tracks which need to be heard and you never know, if there may be something that only the hard-core know about and the rest of us do not, which could come out weeks before the release. Case in point, Face It Alone. Need I say more?

Anyway, as I had promised, here is a long list of bands who have helped me hold on to Queen and some of the bands willl surprise some, dew to their sound and some will not. The commonality is that I like them along with Queen and they are all in my iTunes library and like the list of comedians I like, there are other bands who have held me to Queen, but are not on my phone at this time. So, here is the list of bands who have kept me hanging on, to a band who haven’t recorded any new music as a unit except for The Cosmos Rocks in 2008 with Paul Rodgers and yes, 2 of his bands will appear on the list. Ready?

AFI, The Age of Electric, Alexisonfire, Alice In Chains, All That Remains, Amen, Amorphis, Apocalyptica, Arcade Fire, As I Lay Dying, Ascot Royals, Audioslave, Avenged Sevenfold, Avicii, Bad Company, The Firm and any other band Paul Rodgers has been in, including Queen, Bad News, Beastie Boys, The Beatles, Billie Eilish, Billy Squire, Breaking Benjamin, Boston, Brian Eno, Cannibal Corpse, The Cars, Cavalera Conspiracy, Soulfly, Sepultura, Chimaira, Soundgarden and Chris Cornell, Coal Chamber and DevilDriver, The Crystal Method, The Cure, Pantera, Hellyeah and Damageplan, David Bowie, Def Leppard, Deftones, Depeche Mode, Disturbed and Device, Devin Townsend and Strapping Young Lad, Dream Theater, Econoline Crush, Evanescence, Extreme, Faith No More and any other bands which involve singer Mike Patton, Fear Factory, Five Finger Death Punch, Foo Fighters, Genesis, Godhead, Godsmack, Green Day, Henry Rollins (as a musician), Greta Van Fleet, Guns N’ Roses, Imagine Dragons, Jane’s Addiction, Joe Satriani, Rob Halford and Judas Priest, Kiss, Slayer, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, KMFDM, Kraftwerk, Korn, Life of Agony, LINKIN PARK, Slipknot and anything else Corey Taylor is involved with, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Motörhead, Muse, Nailbomb, New Order, Opeth, Orgy, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, Pink Floyd, The Prodigy, Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, Rush, Saga, Sevendust, Sex Pistols, Skid Row (the classic era), The Smashing Pumpkins, Spinal Tap, Spineshank, Stabbing Westward, Static-X, Sweet, Them Crooked Vultures, Type O Negative and U2, are all in my iTunes library and have kept me listening to Queen. I like all of these bands for many reasons and they all have something to do, with why I have Queen as one of my 5 favourite bands. I encourage anyone reading this to check out all of these artists and this will go to show that Queen fans also have interesting taste, much like how the band’s music goes many places throughout an album.

I know I may have forgotten some things and I will pick that up in a future post on my years as a Queen fan.

Greatest Hits

Hi folks. This is a post on Queen’s Greatest Hits album from 1981 and I have some thoughts on this and the second package 10 years later, not coming out in North America against the guys wishes. As someone who was born and raised in Canada, my version of this compilation is different from those in Queen’s native land and I don’t know why it wasn’t standardized throughout the world, despite that in some countries there weren’t enough singles released in order to fill up an entire albums worth of hits. If this had happened, we wouldn’t have had Classic Queen in 1992 and the Greatest Hits II would have probably been released throughout the world around the same time, even as the band’s back catalogue was being released on cd in North America for the first time.

If the 1981 British version was released as it was throughout the world, I believe that more people would have grown to like some of the songs which may have previously been unreleased as a single, or had been released with little chart success. Don’t Stop Me Now is a prime example of a song which was successful in one part of the world, but hardly so in another. However, this shouldn’t have influenced how this compilation was sequenced throughout the world and maybe Greatest Hits II would have gone out as is. Both of the 2 GH packages have British hits and having released both albums as they were, would have been great for the North American Queen fan, for the same reason I had mentioned above. It could have been an educational opportunity for those of us who may have been on the fence about Queen and only heard songs off of the radio, that would be played on certain radio formats or special times of the day or week. For example: an all request Saturday night program on a rock station may allow for songs which aren’t normally in rotation.

There are plenty of great songs in Queen’s catalogue which were released as singles in Europe and should have stood a chance in North America. A great example of this is Who Wants To Live Forever, which has an anthemic chorus and of course, came from the movie Highlander. Altho, I could have done without the edit to I’m Going Slightly Mad, Who Wants To Live Forever and Under Pressure, with the latter being replaced on future versions with the album version.

In 2004, the 1981 British Greatest Hits package was given a release in the US and Canada, with 3 bonus tracks: I’m In Love With My Car (Single Version), Under Pressure and Tie Your Mother Down (Live at the Milton Keynes Bowl, June 1982). It was released under the title Greatest Hits (We Will Rock You Edition) and it just happens to be the first album I ever bought by Queen from iTunes in August 2014. I am glad that it finally got a North American release, but why the bonus tracks? If there were bonus tracks maybe they should have been Under Pressure and Keep Yourself Alive and we would have been up to speed in North America. At least, we have the single version of I’m In Love With My Car, which really isn’t available anywhere else digitally, or physically. I think that this compilation was discontinued and pulled from all digital in streaming platforms, except for Spotify the last time I checked.

Anyway, as of 2023, both of these packages have become the definitive Greatest Hits packages. We could have done without the unfortunate releases of Classic Queen and the 1992 Greatest Hits album, which were obviously thrown together in a rush and with the same masters which had gone out on CD in 1991. Plus, albums overlapped with each of the 2 compilations and that bothers me. I Want To Break Free obviously wasn’t on the 1981 Greatest Hits in North America, neither was Body Language. What I think should have happened was that Queen should have took a chance and released the 1981 GH package as it was in England throughout the world and maybe include the Under Pressure single inside, as a bonus. Then, when it came time for the CD and digital reissue, Under Pressure and Soul Brother could have been bonus tracks after We Are The Champions. Then, Greatest Hits II could go out with Under Pressure on it, with the same mix that would appear on Classic Queen in March 1992. I would have been happy with that, as I like it better than the original in some ways.

As for any singles, they could have done what ever they wished as far as I’m concerned and I have no problem with any of the singles which were released in 1991 and 1992 all around the world, as they were meant to go out. Maybe the video for These Are the Days of Our Lives in 1992 would have seemed unnecessary without a home album to back it up except Innuendo, but so what? When it went out with BohRhap in December 1991, it wasn’t going to be put on Greatest Hits II. Right? Besides, everything will have sorted themselves out on Greatest Hits III in 1999 so, nothing to worry about. After all, all 3 hits packages are now available in The Platinum Collection boxed set in 2000 throughout the world and now things seem to have settled down, as far as that goes.

What they could have done with the 1992 US and Canada packages is release them in The Queen Collection Boxed Set all around the world in November 1992, as it was with the 3rd disk with the 1989 interview and Thank God It’s Christmas on it. Then, keep it around for digital and streaming platforms, where as now we just have the other boxed set and the Greatest Hits packages separately. Like I said, if there was a universal track listing and maybe a universal cover art throughout the world, we wouldn’t have had anything to fight about and I wouldn’t have to do this blog post. Sure, Under Pressure would be orphaned, but it would land on the second Greatest Hits package. Right? Then again, BohRhap and These Are The Days Of Our Lives could have been included as a bonus CD single with GH II, after December 1991. I’m just saying… … That’s all I have for today and I will see you later.

Being a Queen Fan Pt 1, Me and Bob

Hi folks. This is about my first years as a queen fan. I’ve told you in the first post how I had initially got into the band, to the point of trying to be a completist and because of Queen’s back catalog, there is a lot to get and I got it all, except for Live Magic until 1994. This is about my years as a fan, from 1991 to 1994, when I had graduated from high school.

To refresh our memories, I had a room mate who is as much of a music fan as I and we were close friends at the time and shared much the same childlike sense of humor. We are both blind and he plays piano, while I play guitar. I did initially take piano lessons at the school, but I hated it because of repetition and learning to read music. I also thought that the music was boring and I had no interest in being a concert pianist, even after getting into Queen and Freddie’s piano playing. I left that to my buddy Bob Reid, who was my room mate during that school year. Oh yes, I went to a boarding school in Brantford Ontario, known as the W. Ross Macdonald School, which is a school for the blind and we even have deaf and blind students. The staff were all sighted and more and more staff who were blind, would eventually work there, as some would have graduated from the school. The first teacher we had who was blind (when I was there) was a woman with a guy dog. No, I have no plans to get a dog, either as a guide or a pet as animals and myself do not go well together. I love dogs and I love cats, but I’m not equipped to own a pet. If they could learn to communicate in English using real words telling me whether they are hungry, want to play, or anything else, then we’d be in business. Anyway, I digress.

In 1990, my previous room mate had given me the 1981 North American version of the Greatest Hits album, which had Keep Yourself Alive and Under Pressure as part of the track listing, along with 12 other songs which had appeared on the 1981 British version, which I guess is now the definitive version of the album around the world. Bob had the same album and his version had noise reduction on it, in order to combat tape hiss. Anyway, it sounded awful and to make things worse for him, my copy had the album version of Keep Yourself Alive, while his copy had the version with the early US fade. Yes, I hate that version too, but that;s the way it goes I guess.

In early 1991, Bob was playing Queen, while I was still in my Beatles phase and I soon came around, as I had the Greatest Hits album and when Innuendo came out, we both listened to the Rockline episode with Brian and Roger as guests. They even took a question about Vanilla Ice sampling Under Pressure, which had made me mad even before I had jumped into the Queen pool. I’m still angry that he had done the sample, but I have since heard him talk and he seems like a nice dude and I’m trying to let it go, but it’s really hard.

Anyway, soon after Rockline I would buy Innuendo on tape and I quickly realized that Queen had clicked with me better than The Beatles, simply because of the guitar. I had always been into metal even when The Beatles had dominated my music listening and Queen was the gate way back home (so to speak). If you think about it, doesn’t the descending guitar Melody in Innuendo in A minor played by Brian kinda remind you of something which Iron Maiden had done previously? It did for me and shortly before then, I had heard Queen on a metal show, which also sealed the deal and I was on a mission to find out what I had been missing for years and of course, I would and I will have more on that below.

I had started buying all of the albums (at first on tape), but I had decided that I liked Queen too much so I made the switch to CD’s and that switch would be completed just after Christmas, when I had bought all of the albums on CD, some of which I previously had on tape. I gave the tapes to friends whom I knew also liked Queen, but they weren’t as obsessed as me at the time. I should also mention that the order of the albums I would eventually own was partially in part controlled by Queen albums coming out on CD, but not in order of the album releases like in 2011. I also had my sister’s copy of the News Of The World album and I would listen to it on weekends while at home. So, the spring of 1991 was full of Queen on my walkman at school and Queen on record at home. However, there was more to come, as I would get more of the albums on CD.

To go back a bit, Queen had signed with Hollywood Records in 1990 and would release Innuendo in 1991, along with the rest of Queen’s studio albums and Live Killers, but not the 1981 Greatest Hits album, which was owned by another label. However, some Queen albums were available on CD and tape in the US and Canada on Capital Records in the 80s, between Hot Space and Innuendo. I had bought The Works on tape and The Miracle on CD in the spring of 1991 and I was happy to hear all of what I had missed of the two albums, even as The Works would begin with Radio GaGa. Don’t get me wrong, I love GaGa, but it isn’t and hasn’t been a proper album opener for me, because of it’s demeanor, compared to the next song returning to Queen’s hard rock roots with a track from Brian. I remember listening to it in the school van and me and Bob were excited and then, the rest of the album came along and I grew to appreciate it, even GaGa as a song in its own right, but not as an album opener. I will get more into that when talking more about The Works in a later post.

Some time in June, Bob had been given a copy of A Night At The Opera on tape, with side 1 ending with Keep Good Company and on side 2 before BohRhap was Seaside Rendezvous. He was so lucky and I wanted it so bad so, he kindly put it on tape for me, but he forgot to bring the tape back to school the final week of the year. So, he gave me the ANATO tape (which I would take good care of throughout the summer of 1991 and i brought it back in September, when we exchanged tapes. On one side was ANATO and on the other was a Queen documentary hosted by Axl Rose, which had aired after the St. Louis incident and before the Use Your Illusion I and II albums. I had also spent the summer, looking forward to any new releases on CD and at the end of August, I went out to get Queen on CD and Jazz on Tape. Then I came back to school and I was teased mercilessly for liking Queen by the jocks, as I didn’t know anything about Freddie’s bisexuality and frankly, not giving a shit. I think the real reason was that Queen were an old band and did not put out the same type of music which was popular among those who appreciated hair metal. Unfortunately, I didn’t have all of the armaments to back me up, meaning all of the albums and all their hard rock songs and there were some people, who just didn’t get it until Queen had become cool, thanks to the BohRhap video in 1992. In other words, they were not true music fans and just bandwagonists. I kept my love for the ballads and the other shit to myself, as the guys who were ragging on me liked metal, like I do too. I even loved the 1991 Metallica album and I was so happy that it did well, along with Slave to the Grind by Skid Row. After all, the title track was fast like speed metal and the album was heavy, but not brutal like extreme metal. That was what I was into in the 80s and now.

Also during the summer, I had heard Queen live and it was the 1975 Christmas Eve concert as it was and not the newly tuned version which was released in 2015. I remember hearing Ogre Battle and thinking that it reminds me of Iron Maiden. I also heard Freddie’s vocals and thinking that he wasn’t the same singer live, as he was in the studio. I was disappointed and when I had heard Spread Your Wings from Live Killers, my heart sank. Obviously, I love Freddie, but a real bugaboo for me was how Freddie sang live, VS. in the studio. In other words, Freddie played it safe vocally unlike his personality on and sometimes off stage. That bothered me for a long time and to an extent, it still does and tuning his vocals for more recent live albums doesn’t help. I’d rather hear him as he was, with authenticity and with as little fixing as possible. I realize that the idea was to make the live experience different from what we had heard at home, but I always believed that you should sing the exact melody of the song and sometimes, Freddie did and it would be just enough, to let you know that you were hearing a specific song. When I had heard Queen’s Live Aid performance I was so happy to hear Freddie hitting all the notes, as Bob and myself thought that he couldn’t do it. Anyway, I digress

By the time November 24th rolled around, I had all of the albums except for: Flash Gordon, Live Killers, Queen II and Live Magic. I had bought all albums (except for Live Magic) just after Boxing Day and had discovered the British imported 1981 Greatest Hits, but I didn’t get it until May 1992. I was in no real rush to get any Greatest Hits albums on CD, as I had no idea what would happen with the 1981 North American version at the time. Obviously, now I do and that will be another story for another post.

In March 1992, I had bought Classic Queen and that was my first Queen compilation I would purchase, along with a tape by comedian Bill Cosby, featuring most of his classic bits. Yes, I also like comedy and I will get more into that later on. I was really happy with the CD, until I realized what it actually was. To tell the truth, I prefer Greatest Hits I and II and I’m glad that we here in North America can own both albums without them being imports. The only thing I didn’t like about the compilation is that some songs were edited, like on Classic Queen. The Classic Queen, version of The Miracle and One Vision were shortened and The Miracle was downright edited, as apposed to having a trimmed beginning and ending. It also felt rushed to me and I noticed immediately that they used the same masters from the albums except for a few tracks, which were edited and in some cases, it was the single versions of tracks. For the first time, we would get the single versions of I Want It All and Hammer To Fall on a compilation in North America, while Under Pressure has a different mix which is dryer and you can hear some parts better than on the original. If you do a search on Youtube, look for Queen Under Pressure (Classic Queen Mix) and the same with The Miracle and One Vision and then you will understand why I have no love for this compilation, despite it shifting many units here in North America. It may not have done as well as Greatest Hits II, but it did do well none the less.

Speaking of Greatest Hits, I also dislike the 1992 Greatest Hits as it is another slapped together compilation and without any apologies, including all of the same mixes which appeared on the CDs of the albums which tracks were taken from. The only pluses about both compilations were that when they were put together in 1992 in a boxed set, a third CD was included with the Queen For An Hour interview and Thank God It’s Christmas on it and I know I had mentioned it in my Christmas post, but I just had to repeat it here.

Back at school, it was in the music wing where I had met the least resistance to Queen and I had also got an electric guitar for Christmas in 1991. Having my ax gave me strength and the will to push on in pushing Queen on people. We also had a lab ensemble and I was allowed to contribute as others would do, with Dragon Attack and I think it is because of how little complexity is in the song. It was easy for young people to learn and the drummer didn’t have to do much more than play a beat and maybe do some fills. Our drummer was a little guy, who was the size of a 7-year-old, but he was actually 17 and we had become close, since we were both on the wrestling team and we’re both small. We liked much the same music, but I don’t think he was all that into Queen. However, I think he did respect them and after all, Axl Rose is a Queen fan and Trevor (that was his name) was a huge Guns N’ Roses fan and we both loved metal. Unfortunately, he was also balled and had a speech impediment so it was hard to understand him on the phone, but not as difficult if you were right there with him. However, he was no dummy and did well in school. Sadly, I heard that he died a few years after he left the school. I don’t know how, but I had heard that he had follicle cancer which was the reason why he had no hair.

So, the music wing was my escape from the crap I had to deal with when trying to spread Queen throughout the school and those who were bigger than me. Somehow in 1992, when Queen had become popular in North America all that shit went away, but I knew that it was phoney, in that they were just kissing my ass and jumping on the Queen bandwagon because they were popular again. I made tapes for them with the essential songs and songs I felt represented Queen as the rock band and particularly, mine and their musical tastes. I don’t know and I don’t care if they even still have what I did, but I know I was right, as most of those people only listened to music, but were not invested in it unless it was popular.

This was all during the 1991/ 1992 school year and I have one more story from that year I would like to share here. I was in the school’s choir and no, we didn’t do any Queen songs. During the fall, we were invited to go to the school for the blind in Columbus Ohio and its counterpart in Louisville Kentucky. The latter school was because we got to visit the American Printing House For The Blind and in case you are wondering, I do read brail. I don’t have any brail material on me, but on the elevators in our apartment there is both print and braille. I was also lucky enough to learn to read raised print so I know my letters and numbers in both print and brail.

Anyway, I was excited to get the hell out of the school and all the shit I had to put up with, from the non-believers I was surrounded by, who did not take music and were more focused on sports and anything else outside of music. This trip was set for April 1992 and we had to raise money, in order to rent a coach with a driver, in order to take us from Branford to Columbus, to Louisville, to Columbus and back within five days. We left on Sunday April 26 and we would arrive back in Brantford on Thursday April 30th, the same week of the Los Angeles Riots taking place.

During that trip our choir and the schools from both Columbus and Louisville would get together, to participate in something called Ameraflora. I’m not sure if I had spelled it correctly, but here comes my Queen moment. On one day we were either practicing or something, one of my friends had found a Queen fan among the group, who was from somewhere in Thailand. We talked for a bit and unfortunately, I hadn’t stayed in touch. One of the songs they had mentioned was a piano instrumental version of Friends Will Be Friends, similar to Forever and I wonder if that exists. I almost forgot, that I would play queen loud on the bus on the way to both schools and back. I was excited because Bo Rhap was back in the charts again and I had fun scanning radio stations to hear whether they were top 40 or rock. The top 40 stations played it at a faster speed, while rock stations played it normally. Oddly, my coppy of the British Greatest Hits has all of the songs at a slightly faster speed and higher in pitch, similar to top 40 radio. Thankfully, this has been corrected with remastering and on digital releases.

During the 1992/ 1993 school year, Queen were more popular at the school and so, I had won. No, not really, but I like to think I had declared victory over those haters. Anyway, I would continue to add to my Queen collection, with Greatest Hits II in July 1992 and both Freddie solo albums around the same time. Later around Christmas 1992, I would buy some CD singles from the Innuendo era and a couple of Freddie singles too. I had no sooner payed for them, then I had learned that HMV in Toronto (where I was at the time) had Back To The Light as an import. Thankfully, I was patient enough to wait until February 1993 and then, I bought Back To The Light and when I got home, I had basked in Brian’s playing.

Later on that summer, I would purchase an interview disk with an interview with Brian talking about A Kind Of Magic and I had found the same interview on another CD package, back in the summer of 1992, with the British BohRhap CD single on one disk and the interview on the other. After the summer of 1993, I had moved to buying other artists, but Queen would always be there as I would stick to bands who sounded similar to Queen such as Extreme and Sweet and their propensity for glam rock and harmony vocals, similar to Queen. Plus, they had influenced some metal bands so, why not? That would extend to grunge, when I had discovered that Soundgarden would play with Brian in 1993 and Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone was a Queen fan and especially of Freddie. Apparently, so was Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron of Soundgarden. I was also a fan of Pearl Jam, long before I had learned about Andy being a fan of Freddie, but I had heard that a couple of members were in Mother Love Bone with him, before Andy died in 1990. Of course, this would lead to the Temple of the Dog project headed by Chris Cornell. Anyway, I digress.

In March 1994, Bob had let me know about finding Live Magic in an HMV somewhere and next chance I had, I went and snapped it up. You can’t imagine how happy I was and when I got it home, I had listened to it and sang along with Freddie, as loudly as I could, trying to copy his vocal delivery and distortion. I could do that at the time, as I only had my parents to deal with and I was in my own room in the basement, where I wanted to be all along. I had slowed down with buying Queen as I had no idea if any of Roger’s solo albums were available on CD or not and I didn’t know his discography well enough, to know what Iwas looking for. The only way I even knew of The Cross was from the Queen For An Hour Interview and thankfully, all of that would change in the next 29 years.

I would graduate from high school in 1994, at the age of 21 and me and Bob lost touch with each other, with no bad blood between us. He went his way and I went mine and the last time we had met was in 2005, at the Toronto Coach Terminal, when Greyhound Canada was still active and the terminal was bustling with activity, with people buying tickets to go all sorts of places from various bus companies throughout Ontario. Now, Greyhound Canada is no longer, dew to the cOVID-19 pandemic and there is a new bus terminal, replacing the Toronto Coach Terminal at Bay and Dundas.

Queen wasn’t the only thing Bob and myself had in common, as we both loved comedy and we both loved The Flintstones. One comedian whom I’ve always loved and apparently Bob had most of his albums, was George Carlin, the same man who gave us Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television and got some heat from it, by getting arrested in Milwaukee Wisconsin, for using those words during a summer festival. I’m not going to put them here, but you can easily find the original bit on any and all streaming services. Also, I recommend looking up his books and audiobooks if you are into his comedy. Brain Droppings is certainly worth recommending and anything else you may find. It’s comedy, but it is thoughtful and it tought me how to put together lists and blog posts like this. Check out his comedy albums on any digital or streaming platform you use and there are so many from different eras of his career, that I can’t recommend just one. So, try the Classic Gold first and if you like that, you can go from there. It’s a compilation made up of 3 of his 1970s albums and if you want to know and hear more, that’s where Google comes in handy.

Bob and I haven’t been in contact with each other since we last saw each other in June 2005 and I hope to connect with him some day. In the mean time, I will remember the times we spent together as friends and as collaborators, on various projects such as our school yearbook.

That’s it for this post and in the future, I will talk about my Queen fandom from 1995 the present day. Here’s a hint, Queen have never really left.