Queen is a British rock band which formed in London, England in the early 1970s and is comprised of four members: Freddie Mercury on lead vocals, Brian May on lead guitar, Roger Taylor on drums, and John Deacon on bass guitar. Queen is known for having many hits that include “Another One Bites the Dust,” “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” and “Radio Gaga,” among many others. Each of its members has written some of its biggest hits which is a rarity in the world of rock where one songwriter primarily exists. Queen is a multi-platinum selling band with immense popularity around the world which continues today despite the loss of Freddie Mercury to AIDS in November 1991. To this day, Queen has a significant following and two of its founding members, May and Taylor, continue to tour with pop singer Adam Lambert to sold-out audiences around the world. Queen has a legacy that continues to influence new artists and serves as an inspiration due to its diverse portfolio of songs and albums.
Queen is arguably one of the most unique bands in the history of rock and roll because it did not signify a single sound; rather, Queen is many sounds and genres combined to create musical interpretations which remain unlike any other. Queen’s ability to harmonize its voices and to blend different types of sounds allowed them to stand out above the rest and to take their sound to new heights. Queen evolved from its early days when it was known as a hard rock band and explored many boundaries in the mid to late 1970s and into the 1980s, exploring disco, pop, and the use of different techniques and instruments such as synthesizers. The band members were not afraid to explore new directions with their music and sought to reinvent their sound with each new album.
Arguably Queen’s most famous song and one of the best songs of all time, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was written by Freddie Mercury and was released on the album “A Night at the Opera” in 1975. This song is several songs in one, from a rock ballad in the beginning which transitions into an operatic anthem and then into a heavy rock number and back into a rock ballad by the end. The song is representative of several genres at once and its significance remains a mystery even to the surviving band members. The lyrics and meaning of the song are “opaque on purpose” to keep the listener guessing and interpreting what he or she might believe is the true meaning of the song (Mcalpine, 2015). The song was heavily influenced by opera in its middle section and the sounds were achieved by using numerous overdubs during recording (McLeod, 2001). The song remains one of the most unique rock anthems ever written and continues to impact the world of music in 2018, 43 years after its release.
Queen and their song “Bohemian Rhapsody” are enigmas in the music world and have inspired countless artists after them. The song is arguably musical genius and allowed Freddie Mercury to express himself to his greatest potential. The song continues to attract new audiences who are inspired by its creativity and power as well as the sounds that were created. Queen’s music continues to be relevant many decades after its release because it represents the ideas and creativity of four artists and songwriters who had a unique vision and used their talents to forever change the music world and to create many memorable songs that will continue to be played for many generations to come.
- McLeod, K. (2001). Bohemian rhapsodies: operatic influences on rock music. Popular Music, 20(2), 189-203.
- Mcalpine, F. (2015). 10 things you may not know about Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ Retrieved from http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2015/10/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-queens-bohemian-rhapsody