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Why?

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 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 tht 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 porosity. 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, whe 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 thi 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 sme 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 play 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 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 listen 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 tht 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 too, 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 too. 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.

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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 present day 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. https://www.smoothradio.com/artists/freddie-mercury/gary-numan-tokyo-mcdonalds-queen/

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 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) about 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 Tsylor 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 FFacebook 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.

Cheers,
Gordie
 
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 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, 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, 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. https://youtu.be/jYDjYERb6_I

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.

2023

Hi folks. How are all Gord’s people doing? Did we all have a great Christmas, or what ever you celebrate during the holidays? Have you eaten so much you could puke? Have you drank so much that you could piss it for a week? It was a rather quiet Christmas for me and I actually bought someone else and myself a Christmas gift this year, both for our iPhones. I also bought music on iTunes such as: Sevendust, Chimaira, Opeth and Cannibal Corpse. Yes, I love Queen as wellas a little progressive metal, death metal and even some alternative metal. With Sevendust, there is one song which has a bit of Queen in it and if you listen to the guitar solo for Unraveling, you may hear Clint Lowery channelling Brian at the end of the solo. https://youtu.be/iNYIZx6kuJc

As for Opeth, they wanted to record one of their albums in the same studio as BohRhap and that is cool. Huh? I can’t find any Queen, but here is a cover of a classic track from Robin Trower https://youtu.be/Z7aA1Ya7-sw

It’s 2023 and we have some milestone anniversaries this year to take note of, when it comes to Queen. First, the debut album on July 13th 1973, Star Fleet Project with Brian and the late Eddie Van Halen 10 years later, Living On My Own from Freddie was put out as a single and it went gangbusters, in clubs in 1993, Brian’s Back To The Light was released in February 1993 in the US and Canada, Roger released Fun On Earth in 2013 and it is possible that this year the Star Fleet Project will be rereleased and we could possibly get every take of all 3 songs on the EP.

Something else which has happened is that all Black Sabbath albums with Tony Martin on lead vocals are going to be released again and in most cases, digitally for the first time. Brian plays some smokin’ guitar on the song When Death Calls from the 1989 album Headless Cross. Speaking of Cross, The Cross had broken up in 1993 and this left Roger to return to his solo career after the 1984 album Strange Frontier and the 3 Cross albums: Shove It in 1987, Mad: Bad: And Dangerous To Know in 1990 and Blue Rock in 1991. I may do a post on The Cross and probably about one song inparticular, which features a sample of a movie starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood. Can you guess what movie I am talking about?

There may be one more tour with Queen + Adam Lambert and maybe an anniversary rerelease? The first album maybe? Hopefully we will get some new Queen compilation or something this year, besides any solo work. I will also turn 50 in June and this means that Queen have released albums during my life, with the debut coming out while I was still in the hospital, probably in an incubator as I was only 2 pounds and 6 ounces at birth and as an adult, I’m kinda short anyway.

Well, let’s hope that this year will be better than last year, in all ways. I will leave that to you to figure out what I mean by that!

Thank God It’s Christmas

Hi folks. I hope that we are all safe and warm, especially if you are getting dumped on by snow and blown away by strong winds and freezing under frigid temperatures. In southern Ontario Canada, we are getting just that, with the temperatures falling as the day progresses. We had a flash freeze and of course, that leads to ice on untreated services and combine that with strong winds and falling snow , let’s just say that things could be potentially dangerous if you are a pedestrian and someone like me, who can’t see where they are going and has to rely on sound. Unfortunately, wind blocks out the sound because of the movement of air blowing into my face and the sound of the wind itself so, I am choosing to stay inside where I am warm and I have electricity, in order to cook food and heat my apartment.

I was going to do a post on the Christmas Eve show in 1975, but I have decided not to bite off more than I can chew and talk about something I can get into, without having to do an immense amount of research first. It’s a song and I’ve talked about it in a previous post, but I wish to get into it more here.

Thank God It’s Christmas was released in November 1984, as Queen’s first Christmas song, written by Roger and Brian. The guys had wanted to record a Christmas single and the choice was between this one and a song written souly by Brian called I Dream Of Christmas, which would be later recorded by Brian’s current wife Anita Dobson. https://youtu.be/SunTrA_0bEg

Thank God It’s Christmas started with Roger and you can tell. Right? It certainly sounds like a Roger melody and cord structure. Just listen to how it rolls along and it is in the key of G major. The middle section is most likely from Brian, as it has more guitar on it and is in the key of E Major. I wonder how much Freddie and John had contributed to the arrangement, as well as lyrical ideas

Anyway, it was released as a single in 1984, as both a seven and 12 inch, with versions of Man On the Prowl and Keep Passing the Open Windows and there are two versions of TGIC. There is the version which starts after one drum beat and there is the longer version, starting after 2 bars of drums, before Freddie and John come in with vocals, bass and keyboards. I like the longer version, as the shorter one is what I consider to be the radio edit and I am not usually a fan of edits in general.

The song has appeared on such albums as: The Complete Works Boxed Set in 1985, The Queen Collection in 1992, The Works 2011 Deluxe Version, Greatest Hits III and The Platinum Collection (Greatest Hits I, II & III). The Queen Collection was a US and Canada only set, which put together: Classic Queen, the 1992 Greatest Hits and a 2 track disk with the Queen For An Hour interview and the full version of TGIC at the end of it.

I had heard the song on some radio stations, which played a combination of rock and pop songs! I had first heard it in 1991, just after Freddie had stopped sharing oxygen with us. It was the radio edit and after 1992, I got used to the full version. When Greatest Hits III came out I was surprised to hear the radio edit after all those years and on the 2011 Deluxe version of The Works. I wonder if The Works will get a similar expansion that The Miracle had received a month and change ago, as a boxed set? I suppose that there has to be something new and I’m sure that there will be something there, worth putting out, if or when this comes to fruition

Anyway, someone had put together both versions of TGIC and the 2 B-sides in a video and I will leave you with that. Before I go, I just want to wish you all the best for December 25th and I hope that you get some goodies and that 2023 will be better than this year was, with all that is going on in the world right now. https://youtu.be/6jox5jQIPdg

The Simpsons

Hi folks. I wasn’t going to do a second post today, but something came up that I couldn’t just let slip away and not acknowledge. Besides, I’m not just a Queen fan, but also a fan of The Simpsons.

It was 33 years ago this evening, that the episode Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire aired and is the pilot episode, as well as being a Christmas episode. Basically, Christmas isn’t quite so merry for The simpson family, when Mr. Burns decides to cut the Christmas bonuses, and Marge has to spend the family’s Christmas savings to erase a tattoo which Bart thought would make a great Christmas present, as it would say “Mother”. In order to hide the fact he didn’t get the bonus, Homer (thanks to Barney) decides to take a second job as a mall Santa. Unfortunately, Homer only has $13.00 to spend and bets it all on a dog named Santa’s Little Helper, who loses. Then, becomes a Simpsons family pet.

On Wednesday April 20th itwas the 30th anniversary of the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, which was held at Wembley Stadium on April 20, 1992. The concert was one of the biggest of it’s type, besides Live Aid and it was a real who’s who of the music industry performing and in the audience.

The bands that played were: Metallica, Extreme, Def Leppard, U2 via satellite feed, Spinal Tap, Guns N’ Roses and of course, the 3 surviving members of Queen and many guest singers and backing musicians.

In case you didn’t know, there is a Simpsons connection to the concert in that, Harry Shearer is one of the main cast members and is also Derek Smalls in Spinal Tap too. The band also guest starred on the Season 3 episode The Otto Show, which I guess in part, was to help promote the current album by Spinal Tap Break Like The Wind.

Queen’s music has also been referenced and has appeared in The Simpsons too. During the Season 2 episode The War Of The Simpsons, Homer sings a slightly altered version of We Are The Champions (I Am The Champion) just before Marge finds him in the fishing boat on Catfish Lake. We Will Rock You has been sung by various characters during Sports scenes. Your My Best Friend was also played in the episodes Dog Town and Moe Baby Blues and let’s not forget, about Homer singing about listening to Queen, (among other ways to get beer) in the song It Was A Very Good Beer in Duffless.

Also, if you know the movie Flash Gordon, the actor who portrayed Ming has guest starred in the Season 25 episode The War Of Art. Max von Sydo portrayed both Ming The Merciless in the 1980 movie and the subsequent soundtrack to Flash Gordon and voiced art forger Klaus Ziegler in the episode. If you listen you can hear a little bit of Ming in there but the voice has obviously differed with age and the accent is different too. Ming speaks with a British shakespearean actor type of voice. While Clouse has a sort of German/French type accent and a much gentler demeanor to him.

Something else I had been thinking of is how one of the main characters has evolved, through one of their songs. Okay, this will be rather strange but I thought I would share part of an early post in the other blog, to be a part of this one. To my way of thinking, the song THE SHOW MUST GO ON reminds me of Lisa Simpson, who is voiced by Yeardley Smith. Well, just sit tight and prepare for a ride through my head. If you know your musical notes you will grasp it more easily than if you don’t. The song is in the key of b natural minor and it changes to a higher key of C sharp minor after the first chorus. It goes back to the original key for the next chorus until after the guitar solo. When Freddie sings the lyrics “my soul is painted like the wings of butterflies. Fairy tails of yesterday will grow but never die. I could fly my friends.” This section goes to another key altogether and uses some interesting chords that are rather sophisticated for a rock song. After that it goes back to the original key and the chord progression that is heard throughout the song.

Now, what does this have to do with Lisa Simpson? Well this kinda shows her evolution throughout The Simpsons but not in the right order. The verse and chorus being in the same key with the same chord progression kinda ties together the fact that she was thought to have no real distinct personality from Bart, at first. The key change is her becoming a vegetarian and the key change back to the original key is her becoming a practicing Buddhist later on in the series. The middle section is her true intelligence coming out on the episode “Krusty Gets Busted.”

Keep in mind that this has nothing to do with her musical tastes throughout the show but her evolution. I pointed this out to Yeardley Smith on Twitter early on and well… I think she was amused. After all, I tweeted about it to her almost 10 years ago, when I had first joined Twitter and a few days before I joined Facebook.

Anyway, I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I think Queen are one of the greatest hard rock bands of all time and I can point out many, many times I can hear musical references to their sound in many heavy metal bands. I have too many here to list so, I will leave that for another entry. Yes, Queen are one of my favourite bands and The Simpsons is one of my favourite TV shows, as I have always liked cartoons more than other types of shows. I don’t watch TV as I don’t have a TV, except on my phone, but that doesn’t count to me. However, I have every Simpsons episode so far and it took me 5 years to get every season and every episode, up to Season 30 and from there, I just purchased the entire season from Season 31 onward without having to go back to older seasons.

I generally like the classic period from Seasons 3 to 8 and certain episodes stand out for me from every season, with the 11th being my least favourite as it is really nasty.

As for the current season, I have yet to figure out is I actually have any favourite episodes as yet and it wouldn’t be fair to name a Treehouse of Horror episode as a favourite, as they are an annual tradition every season. Anyway, I have a lot more to say about The Simpsons, but I may do that in a leader post and I do have another post coming up a week from now. I also do a blog on The Simpsons too, which I had started in May 2016 and I will be doing a post tomorrow, about Homer and his heart. Anyway, here is a link to the website. https://simpsonsonsundays.wordpress.com/

Christmas 2022

Hi folks. This is my Christmas post, about 5 of my favourite Christmas songs I haven’t heard in any shopping mall or coffee shop, I had happened to stop in over the years. The one thing they have in common is that these songs are not traditional Christmas songs (with one exception) and are original songs written by the artists. Something else they have in common is that they are not necessarily well known by the mainstream and only to the audience of the band and or radio format on which they are played. I will have more on this later. Anyway, in one case I learned about the song through a book on the song writer and performer, writen by himself. It is a repost from my personal blog from 2016 but I felt it needed a 2018 update and so, here is the list for 2018 to present. Yes, I will include a Queen Christmas song in here. Why wouldn’t I? Before I do that, I have some truth to tell about why Christmas music is played more on some radio stations than others and this came from an internationally known radio personality from Canada. His name is Alan Cross and I trust what he says!

Over the last couple of decades, a growing number of radio stations have flipped to an all-Christmas format starting as early as the end of September. Good on them. This is a very smart ratings move because for a few weeks of the year, people LOVE hearing nothing but holiday music. This means bigger ratings and that means more revenues through the lean winter months.
Because so many stations have jumped on this bandwagon, artists are trying to cash in on the craze and have been releasing holiday songs at an insane rate. Each year, there are more and more of them.
The hard truth about this is that the songs which gain traction with the all-Christmas folks are traditional songs. They can be original–like Perry Como’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”, or they can be covers of those traditional songs. That explains why so many artists default to the tried and true for their Christmas releases.
Managing to have a hit original Christmas song is really, really, really hard, especially if that song has been released over the last 25 years. That would explain why Thank God It’s Christmas is not as well known as it should be and I was lucky to hear it on the radio in 1991, before getting it on CD in 1992, but more on that later. Tradition will always win out because Christmas is all about tradition and continuity and the good old days, right?

Other stations which play rock (i-e) main stream rock, classic rock, active rock or alternative rock do not pander to the mainstream at this time of year. They will play their share of holiday tunes, but they don’t go overboard. Everything in moderation, as the saying goes.

This brings me to the music I have included in this post. The idea of this post is to give some love to holiday songs that will never get played on the mainstream adult contemporary all-Christmas stations, or even rock stations with the exception of 1 or 2 songs. This is not the kind of stuff that flies in offices, stores, Christmas parties, or when Grandma is in the room, unless she is really open minded and happens to enjoy some of the songs I have picked out. So, get ready for some weirdness and some profanity. Sandwiched somewhere in there, is a Queen Christmas song, which was a hit for Queen in 1984.

The first song on my list is Santa Claus Is Comin To Town. Wait! What? Yes, this is a Christmas song but the version I want to bring to your attention is by Bahamian born idiosyncratic guitarist Joseph Spence. He plays guitar and well… sings, but in his own unique way. Actually, he more or less grunts his way through the songs, while playing his out of tune guitar in open tuning. It’s going to be hard to listen to, without laughing or wanting to smash your phone or computer, depending on your reaction to it but, here is the song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_jRAJZ9_y0

Did you get through that song? If you did, have you stopped laughing yet? If so, the next song on my list is Thank God It’s Christmas by Queen, which is written by Brian and Roger. This song was released in December 1984 near the end of The Works album cycle and it has appeared on a couple of Queen albums since. The most recent appearance is on the 2011 Deluxe version of The Works. I had performed it in 1992 30 years ago today, with my best friend Bob Reid at our school and it went over well. It was at one of our noon hour concerts the school held in the auditorium after lunch. Because I couldn’t go home the previous weekend, I had got the idea in my head to maybe do this song, during one of those concerts and Bob was glad to help me out with that. Altho I wish I had known who had written it back then, as I wasn’t able to ascertain that it was from the guitar, keyboards and pens of Brian and Roger.

By the way, I don’t think of A Winter’s Tale as a Christmas song, because it doesn’t mention anything to do with the holidays, except for winter. I see it as a winter song and even that could be questionable, with the words “gentle rain beating on my face”. Last time I checked, there are no Christmas songs with rain being featured and this tune is more of a reflection by Freddie, about how beautiful it is outside. Anyway, here is Thank God It’s Christmas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V5mtUff6ik
This next song will make the 2018″Baby, It’s Cold Outside” brouhaha seem like small potatoes. Fairytale of New York by The Pogues is my next choice as one of my favourites. I had actually heard it for the first time, during Christmas 1995 and it didn’t really catch on with me, until some time in the last 9 years or so when I had heard it on more radio stations and recently read about the song on Wikipedia. I like it because of the dialog in the song and the fact that the woman refers to the man as “you scumbag you Magette, you cheap lousy faggot” referring to the man’s drunkenness. On another note, singer Shane MacGowan was kicked out of The Pogues for being a drunk and replaced by Joe Strummer formerly of The Clash for a time. Here is the song anyway, featuring Kirsty MacColl as the female character, with the song and its subsequent album If I Should Fall from Grace with God being produced by her husband Steve Lillywhite. I could go down that rabbit hole and talk about all the bands he has produced, but that’s not for this blog. https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=YBM156DuxvA&feature=share

My next two choices require a disclaimer. If you are offended by the language in either of the next two songs, I apologize. However, I feel the songs are important to bring to your attention and, I happen to like them.

Next is a song by a member of Monty Python. Also, a guest star on The Simpsons, as well as having success with musicals and other works. Did I mention that he is a song writer too? He certainly wrote one of the most popular songs at funerals, as far as I know. Yes,Eric Idle has written Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life and this next song on my list. The song is simply titled Fuck Christmas and I heard about it, while listening to the audiobook version of his latest book “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life: A Sortabiography”. I highly recommend purchasing the audiobook version of it because, you get to hear Eric himself, read it to you and I will warn you, that there will be a lot of names dropped besides his fellow Monty Python members, including Jim Beach. Yes, Queen and Monty Python are connected by Jim as their manager and a friend of Eric. Anyway, here is the song, in all its uncensored glory. https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=jPuOCzoklRo&feature=share

The final song on my list of Christmas songs I have never heard anywhere I am either shopping or dining is x-M@$ by Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour. It was released in 2010 as a Christmas single, with any money from sails going to charity. In the song, The protagonist is a man who hates Christmas and all that goes with it and would rather be drunk or stoned on this Yuletide holiday, as opposed to consuming eggnog, listening to Caralers and all that joyful noise. There are even a few four letter words in the song and a clean version was also produced for radio and for people who would be offended.
To those who would expect a more traditional song from Corey, I say that it isn’t surprising that he wrote a song for those who hate Christmas and also, Corey plays music that is subversive and is not for the Grandma’s and Grandpa’s of the world. It’s for the younger croud of 50 and under who would get that the song is not a serious hatred of Christmas tune, from the singer and, it’s satire. I’ve heard that Corey actually likes Christmas and I believe him. I’ve met him and despite him throwing people out of Slipknot shows and throwing water on people, who are texting during the concert, I have nothing bad to say about him. He was great to me and we had Tim Hortons coffee together and he had it black and I had a double-double. Anyway, here is the song. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=od7GUy9XS7c
Well, there is my list of my 5 favourite Christmas songs. What have we learned about them? Well, they are mostly meant for us to listen to at home, in our car (if we drive), or with friends who are as like-minded as you and me.

Sadly, 2 out of the 5 songs won’t be heard on the radio because of the language. The Queen song is probably the most radio friendly of the bunch, in that there is no bad language and it is written in a more traditional Christmas song, type formula. Although, it is a Queen song, after all. Santa Claus Is Comin To Town has been played on the radio, but only in the context of comedy and on at least one comedy radio show. Fairytale Of New York is just a great song and it has certainly grown on me since I had heard it in 1995.

Since I had become an adult I have developed my own opinions on when Christmas music (in general) should be played before December 25th. Basically, I feel that we should be hearing Christmas music throughout December and not in mid to late November or before then, as it is more than a bit much to take. I mean, I love Christmas music and the idea of Christmas in general, but being bombarded with Christmas songs everywhere I go doesn’t necessarily put me in the mood. Besides, it’s the same old Christmas songs every year anyway and thanks to Queen and other rock bands, we have enough original songs to keep Christmas music interesting and more bearable, when having to go shopping for Christmas gifts at the mall or when stopping in for a coffee at Starbucks or something. I say this knowing what Alan Cross has said earlier on, which isn’t all that surprising anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I have fond memories of Christmas’s past, thanks to hearing Christmas music. However, Christmas song after Christmas song and repeat? In malls and dining establishments, along with grocery stores, can get a little boring, even though it is supposed to put us in the mood (so we are told). Having said that, I will let it go because it’s just background music anyway. However, when I am looking to see what is playing and I find more than one all-Christmas stations in my area… … I try and steer clear as much as possible and stick to rock.

Rock radio has the right idea, in that Christmas music should be played from December 1st to Boxing Day and if new songs come in, go ahead and play them when they are fresh, to find out if listeners will like it. Then, start ramping up the Christmas music the previous weekend until December 25th, but only once in a music block along with the songs in regular rotation. Some rock radio stations go all Christmasy from Christmas Yves to the end of Christmas day, while playing the normal playlist and on December 26, everything is back to normal. As you can probably tell, I do not like when radio stations switch to an all Christmas format and it is usually stations which are adult contemporary and might play a Queen song or two, but on occasion. Thankfully, we will hear Thank God It’s Christmas on most rock radio stations these days, especially those which have a leaning toward classic rock.

On the other hand, when I hear Christmas music it brings back memories of childhood at my parents place, waiting to open the presents and hoping I get something good each year. However, too much of a good thing can be damaging to someone right?

Anyway, I hope we all have a great Christmas and we get lots of goodies. Let’s end this with a bonus from Monty Python and the other Christmas song from The Meaning of Life, without the visit from the Grim Reaper. https://youtu.be/EK5mPuAcbh0

ps I will probably do another post in a few days, on that Queen concert in 1975. You know?

Not Too Hot To Spot

Hi folks. As Queen fans, we all know that all 4 members write songs and some members have distinguishing features about their work. We also may have friends who may not be into Queen as yet and may become interested in hearing the music, along side what ever else they listen to. I have always wanted to tell any newbie (if they really want to know) how to tell a Freddie song, from a Brian song, or from a song by John. With Roger it isn’t as difficult because of how his songs roll. The main word here is “if” because not everyone looks at the liner notes and wants to find out who did what, who wrote what, who produced the album, etc. I have always been interested in that and even in the digital age, I can still find out through Wikipedia and it is usually correct, even though sometimes information may not always be and if a citation is needed, then you know that it could be questionable. I will get more into that, with help from other fans, who will be credited as guest bloggers in this post. So, if you are new to Queen, get ready to listen and learn, as you will soon distinguish style, vocals, etc that each member likes. Altho, there is a bit of overlap at times, but mostly each member has songs which you can tell one from the other.

Now, let’s remind ourselves that all 4 song writers write based on their instrument and in the case of Roger, he writes on guitar and can play well enough, as well as keyboards, bass and of course) drums. After all, he had to come up with drum parts which favour him, in order for his songs to work for him and the others. Right?

Freddie writes songs which typically have piano or any keyboards in them and even if the main focus is guitar, keyboards usually remain. There are exceptions with Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Great King Rat and Ogre Battle, which have no keyboards in them at all. I also believe that Stone Cold Crazy might even be a Freddie creation, as it was first a Wreckage song reworked by Queen. According to Wikipedia, nobody could remember who had come up with the lyrics so, it was credited to Freddie, Brian, John and Roger.

Brian writes for the guitar and because of Freddie, he writes mostly the hard rock numbers. However, he has written ballads for Freddie to sing and some have keyboards on them and some do not. White Queen (As It Began) has no keyboards on the studio version, but when they play it live, Freddie is on piano during the solo section and crescendo, to the last few bars when the song comes down and eventually ends.

Brian also sings his own songs on occasion and they are tunes written with other genres in mind. For example: folk, dixieland jazz and blues, among other styles he explores with songs which Freddie does not sing.

With John, the songs are lighter and more poppy. Sometimes, there is less of a reliant on backing vocals and just one time, he has written a hard rock track, with If You Can’t Beat Them on Jazz, which has a long guitar outro after the final chorus. If you want to count The Hitman from Innuendo, that’s fine, except that this hard rocker is primarily a Freddie creation, with help from Brian and John. Deacy is the member who likes heavy metal the least so, this is rare.

Roger writes with a minimalism, which is almost typical of punk and unlike punk and all of its sub-genres, his lyrics are about having fun and being carefree. That’s when he was writing on guitar and in later years, things had changed when writing on keyboards. The most recent example is These Are the Days of Our Lives, which is really simple in typical Roger fashion. Others will get into some of that below and more.

I will explain how I had learned who wrote what, as I had posted it on a Facebook group and don’t worry, I will credit all guest bloggers as they appear. I will add my own additional comments, as there is that overlap in how each member’s songs may intersect musically and stylistically with each other. I will include each comment in no particular order and so, read on and mentally construct your own idea from here, to the last of the comments.

Abi Kinsella commented: Lyrically (and vaguely in chronological order):

Freddie: We’re all gna get smited by evil fairies, I don’t really understand who Jesus is but he seems cool, I want to marry a nice young man, wait maybe I want to do loads of coke, actually maybe not maybe I just want a cup of tea and a hug.

Brian: death is imminent, arses are important, I sort of want to be fired into space, sometimes I’m American for no reason

Roger: ugh let me go have fun muuuum, whadyou mean I’ve never even BEEN to Cornwall i had a COOL CHILDHOOD sweats nervously, hey, y’all like robots because I sure do, burn the establishment but please leave my Rolls Royce alone

John: 🎶erectile dysfunction🎶 I’m not quite sure how I ended up here but it seems to be going okay, I hate when tall people called Brian won’t shut up but not like a SPECIFIC tall person called Brian ahem

Cathy Gallagher says John’s tend to be poppier, some with a disco beat. Brian tends to write deeper lyrics, and more emotional ones. If it’s about girls/cars, it’s probably Roger! Freddie wrote anything and everything, depending on his mood.

Victoria Gordon commented: Anything about dead animals or existential crises or infidelity or heavier handed social commentary is Brian.

Anything lighter, more pop-inspired, Motown tinged is John.

Anything about cars or women or rebellion is Roger.

Anything fantastical or vaudevillian or seductive or anything with cool word play in the lyrics is Freddie. (Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy counting up to nine in a 4/4 song and somehow it works; “I’ll pull you and I’ll pill you; I’ll Cruella DeVille you” in Let Me Entertain You.)

Sebas Tian commented: I’d say that, with some exceptions, John’s songs tend to be lighter and poppier, and some of them (again, there are exceptions) aren’t particularly reliant on backing vocals, unlike the other three. Speaking of the other three, a nice way of knowing who wrote the song is often (yet again, there are exceptions) via identifying who’s singing all or most of the harmonies: ‘Love of My Life’, ‘Good Company’, ‘Tenement Funster’… If they’re more music anoraks as I am, then perhaps you can mention that certain keys were favoured by certain members, which also reflected the instrument they’d used for composing. Roger, for instance, would often write on guitar, which is why ‘I’m in Love with My Car’ is in E minor, as is ‘Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll’, as is ‘Tenement Funster’, and then ‘Drowse’ is in D Major (middle-eight then goes to E)… but then he started writing on keyboards and suddenly ‘Ga Ga’ is in F Major, ‘Machines’ is (largely) in G minor, ‘Breakthru’ is in F Major, ‘Hijack My Heart’ is in C Dorian (sort of), ‘Ride the Wild Wind’ is in D minor… it’s like he realised there were flats as well!

Matt Booth commented: Guitar heavy, or stuff that sounds like Meatloaf would sell a kidney for, is Brian’s.

See? All of the guest bloggers and myself look at Queen differently and that’s okay, because of how much they genre bounce and bend, with every album and all 4 of them could write a series of songs, focusing on one particular genre, but they don’t. I have always focused on Queen as a hard rock band and that is where they all meet and from there, they all go off in any and all directions.

So, how had I learned who wrote what and how did I react to finding out that for example: John wrote You’re My Best Friend and not Freddie? Well, my mom had read out the song titles and writing credits from either the CD or cassette liner notes and to be honest, I was surprised. The reason is because of The Beatles and that all four of them had written songs by the time of their disbandment and for the most part, each member had sung their own songs throughout their discography. With Queen, it was obviously different because John doesn’t sing, while songs by Roger and Brian were either sung by them, or Freddie, from Queen to The Game. From Hot Space onward, it would be Freddie singing lead on every song. So I needed someone to read out the credits in order for me, to know that Brian had wrote a ballad like Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) and on the same album, he would also come up with rockers like Tie Your Mother Down and White Man, along with the Beatles-like Long Away. Freddie also has his share of songs on A Day At The Races too, which aren’t all the same and if I didn’t know, I probably would have thought that You and I was also written by Freddie, but it obviously isn’t.

So, now I know and understanding how they all write gives people like myself, an idea of who wrote what on the last 2 studio albums, while Freddie was alive. I never did buy into every song being credited to Queen, because I know that they are all different with each member, having their own type of song for Queen. However, there are the exceptions where Queen are credited and rightly so, as they had all contributed something. Was It All Worth It is a Freddie creation, with all four of them helping out. A part of me now believes that Seven Seas of Rhye should be credited to Freddie and Brian, as Brian had revealed in the Simon Lupton 2011 documentary Queen: Day’s of Our Lives that he had helped out on the song and then, Freddie took credit for the whole thing.

In closing, if newbies really want to know, they can either believe us or form their own idea of how each member’s songs differ from each other. Thanks to: Abi Kinsella, Matt Booth, Sebas Tian, Cathy Gallagher and Victoria Gordon for their comments on FB and I except all of them, while I have my own idea of what to listen for, from Freddie, Brian and John. No, I haven’t forgotten Roger as his songs are not too hard to spot.

The Day Some Music Was Murdered

Hi folks. Today is a sad day for me, when it comes to some of my favourite bands (other than Queen) and I will explain why so, read on. Today marks the anniversaries of two murders in rock and heavy metal and they have both affected me and members of Queen, in varying degrees.

On December 8, 1980 John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman, outside of John and Yoko’s apartment in New York City. This took place after the couple had finished a recording session for a song, which would appear on a Yoko Ono album years later. It is all there on Wikipedia if you would like more information about the events which had occurred, before and after the murder. However I will say that John had conducted his last interview that day, a few hours before Mark David Chapman murdered the 40 year old former Beatle.

on December 8th 2004, guitarist Dimebag daryl Lance Abbott was also murdered by a piece of shit named Nathan Gail. The difference being that this murder took place in full view of everybody, who was at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus Ohio. This murder took place while Daryl was on stage with his band Damageplan and his brother Vincent Paul Abbott on drums, as they both were on their respective instruments and Pantera. The other big difference with the story is that in this case the murderer was killed, after he had shot, killed and or wounded various members of the road crew or fans.

Not even 1 minute into the set, Dimebag was shot and killed, then the murderer had been stalking the stage, possibly looking for Vinny Paul and if anyone else tried to stop him, he fired shots to keep them at bay and if those bullets had killed, tough shit! The gunman had shot and killed other people, or took them hostage. In one case there was a hostage being taken and that is when the police was called and a policeman came in and fired one crucial shot and killed Nathan Gail, thus saving the lives of many people including Vinny Paul. If you want to know about what had happened, here is the Pantera Behind The Music episode and unfortunately, it doesn’t include the facts that Vinny Paul would form HELLYEAH in 2006 with members of Mudvayne, Nothingface and Damageplan. Vinny would also die in 2018, Alrosa Villa would be demolished in 2021 and the surviving members bassist Rex brown and vocalist Phil Anselmo have reunited as Pantera, with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante taking the place of the Abbott brothers on guitar and drums respectively. Anyway, here it is and if you cry, I understand and oh yeah, Queen does acknowledge both murders and I will get to that later. https://youtu.be/FeNpB2Rx3sU

I had heard about John Lennon’s murder when I was at school when one of the staff mentioned it to me. I was big into The Beatles at the time, but not like I would become in the late 80s. He had said something like “John was shot and he fell down” and I immediately thought that John was killed. I didn’t know yet that you could be shot and survive! Well, I was 7 and didn’t know anything about guns or weapons of any kind at that time. Here is a large chunk of what I had written on Facebook, in a group related to where I went to school, posted last year and updated here to reflect 2022. For the record, I went to W. Ross Macdonald School, whose most famous graduate is guitarist Jeff Healey, who played guitar on his lap and unfortunately, had passed away at the age of 41 in 2008 of sarcoma. If you haven’t heard of the school, this should give you an idea and no, I am not one of the notable alumni who have their own Wikipedia articles, but a friend of mine who was in my class for a few years is. Hint, he was born in 1975 so he is younger than me. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Ross_Macdonald_School

“For those of us who were alive 42 years ago today, we all know how significant the murder of John Lennon was, as he was probably the first musician to be assassinated, like a politician. I often wondered if he would’ve embraced today’s music and Technology. What would he have thought about digital VS. analogue recording? What about the music which had Spond from the punk and new wave era of the mid to late 70s, such as grunge and what we now call alternative music in all its forms? What would he think of the world of politics today and would he possibly have tried to run, or at least campaign for somebody? Would he have also considered trying autotune/pitch correction? Would he have taken it as a novelty or would he have used it as just another vocal affect on his voice?”

“I will always remember when I was informed that John Lennon was shot, that I was told “he fell down”, but nobody had said that he had died. I had assumed that back when I was 7. I found out the day after the shooting, after returning from the Military Police Christmas party in London and I had no idea, of who had shot John, or why this had happened, until years later. Hopefully, this guy never gets out and he dies in prison for what he did, for robbing the music world of an outspoken advocate for peace, who just happen to be the member of one of the biggest rock bands of all time. John Winston Lennon should be 82 years old today, but instead he is no longer with us and a pile of ashes.”

We had been robbed of a man who was a very good wordsmith and brought genres like musique concrete almost to the mainstream. If he was alive today I think he would be quite impressed with all the music out there, including grunge, industrial, Brit pop and even ban such as Radiohead. Of course, he would always go back to his childhood music such as: Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley, buddy holly and the other people he listen to before getting full-time into music. Of course, all he really wanted was for all of us to live in a world of peace and isn’t that what we all want?

In my teens, I had learned how to write songs through a radio program about John Lennon called The Lost Lennon Tapes, which played demos that he had recorded at home on tape playing piano or acoustic guitar. I had always written down words on paper and had no real way of writing music, except for music braille and frankly, I hated it then and I hate it now. I prefer to learn music by ear, rather than by charts. I would also hear takes of songs from the studio, which were unreleased. Imagine hearing “I’m The Greatest” by Ringo Starr, sung by John and that’s because he had written the song for Ringo. Even early versions of Real Love and the piano only home demo of Free As A Bird were played on the show. Yes, I also heard some Beatles songs written by John too, as well as some of the demos which would appear on the Deluxe and Super Deluxe versions of The Beatles White Album in 2018. These days we can find all of this stuff on Youtube, or on Beatles deluxe versions and the Anthology albums. That show gave me more of the drive to want to try to be a musician when I was younger, before life had other plans.

I had actually seen Dimebag Darrell back in June 2001, when Pantera and a number of other bands played at what was then known as Copps Coliseum, now known as First Ontario Center in Hamilton Ontario Canada. One thing I can talk about is that some asshole threw a beer on me during the first song of one of the opening bands sets. In case you’re wondering, I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt plus my shoes and socks at the time and yes, I did kind of smell like a brewery for a while. However, it was a great show and of course, the last time Pantera would set foot in Canada before both the September 11 attacks and their break up.

 When the album New Found Power from Damageplan was released in 2004, I bought it on CD the day it came out and I loved it instantly. A highlight for me is the guitar solo on the song Moment Of Truth, which should have been released as a single. Then December 8th happened and I had actually heard about it the next morning at home on the radio. At first nobody said if any one was killed but I learned soon after hearing about it that it was Daryl, who had been murdered. It also happened that I was doing my grocery shopping that day and as you can imagine, it was difficult to concentrate after hearing such tragic news.

Has heavy music changed since Dime was killed? Not much has changed except the increase in guitar solos from newer bands like: Slipknot and Disturbed, making way for other bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Five Finger Death Punch to also use guitar solos without shame. Even a band like Mud Vayne decided to start putting guitar solos on their albums to augment the sound. Here is Moment Of Truth and notice the little run that Dime does in the solo and how low he tunes his guitar. Part of me wishes that Brian would tune down for any new songs, but I can’t imagine him going this low. https://youtu.be/7zYwHEJ0XJ0

As a guitar player, I was and still am impressed with all the things Dimebag has done on Pantera albums and on New Found Power. I am also quite happy that Brian spoke up about the death of Daryl and I have a sneaking suspicion that Daryl was influence partly by Brian and his playing as well. However, he has never said that in interviews that I know of. If Daryl was alive today, I think that he would still be making music with his brother and still have the chops.

I am glad that Mark David Chapman hasn’t been allowed to be paroled and I hope it stays that way. He can say sorry for what he did all he wants but it won’t change the fact that he did what he did to John Lennon. As for Nathan Gail, he got what he deserved and I’m happy. As for the families, I am glad that everyone is doing what they are doing and I am on their side, with all the annual events and such. In the case of the Lennon estate, keep fighting to keep Mark David Chapman behind bars and when he dies I will be happy when that son of a bitch rots in hell. Shouldn’t he be on death row? After all, he had killed an icon and he knew what he was doing.

So, what about Queen? Well, they were obviously influenced by The Beatles and if you are a Beatles fan, you know that they had become a studio band after 1966 to the end of their time as a group. They had used a bunch of new studio techniques and their innovations would result in better technology, with more space to record music and sounds on tape. I may do a post on the studio later on, to further make the point of how Queen would further push the studio to the limits.

After finding out about John’s murder, Queen would play Imagine in concert with Freddie and later with Paul Rodgers. Here is an example of one of the versions of Imagine which was played by Queen with Freddie in 1980. https://youtu.be/g3Z7y_SCJh0

That wasn’t all, as on the Hot Space album, the song Life Is Real is a ttribute to John Lennon and the fact that it and Put Out The Fire were sequenced beside each other to open side 2, was no coincidence. Put Out The Fire is an anti-firearms song and the most traditional Queen song on Hot Space. Brian is a Beatles fan and probably the other 3 as well, but I believe that Brian and Roger are probably the biggest fans out of the 4. https://youtu.be/wN9lfb0rmpc

Life Is Real sounds more like a Lennon song from the Imagine era, as it was written by Freddie. https://youtu.be/wl20NGS3VF8

After Dimebag was murdered, Brian had written about the tragedy on his website. “PANTERA were, I think, the first band that I and my son Jimmy both got equally excited about. It was Jimmy who first got me to see them. They were a great band, and Dimebag was an innovative and passionate player.”
“Great musician. Terrible loss. My respects to him, to his family and friends. Also to those who were killed trying to save him and apprehend the gunman.” Here is the complete statement from Brian. https://blabbermouth.net/news/queen-guitar-legend-dimebag-was-an-innovative-and-passionate-player

Anyway, there is an account from a Pantera producer, about Brian coming back stage after a Pantera Show in 1994, just to say hi. https://youtu.be/7NH8OvpfBdM

Here is an example of why Dime was so loved by a lot of people and talked about, the day after he was killed. In fact, I will give you an example of a Black Sabbath cover Pantera had done in 2000, which has some guitar harmony parts and some really high notes, like we hear on 39 before the last verses and choruses. Come to think of it, I really should be referencing Son and Daughter which is equally as snarly and also has guitar harmonies which go way up past the sky. It also has a similar Black Sabbathy type of doomy quality to it and you can hear it more on the Queen On Air album, with both performances. I will save anymore Black Sabbath talk for another post. https://youtu.be/Igdooj-Olvs

Now, I’ll give you one of my favourite John Lennon songs from his solo years. I have quite a few that I like and I am choosing Working Class Hero, as it is simple and doesn’t require a lot of power to play it, despite the biting lyrics. https://youtu.be/D77dbv-xNfE

I won’t be able to get through this day without listening to Imagine by either John Lennon, or A Perfect Circle, or even one of the Queen versions on Youtube. Maybe even some Pantera or Damageplan.