Queen
1971
United Kingdom
Music group
Queen represented rock’s bombastic pinnacle. Melding glam-rock with hard-rock, the group’s ornate, multi-tracked recordings and in-your-face songs resulted to worldwide sales of more than 130 million records. Queen took flight in the Seventies, embodying the thrills and excesses of that decade. "We're the Cecil B. DeMille of rock and roll, always wanting to do things bigger and better," said vocalist Freddie Mercury. Exhibiting a keen intelligence and capacity for reinvention, Queen drew from contemporary music, visual media and pop culture, blowing it all up into a multimedia spectacle grounded in solid rock.

Beyond the flamboyant exterior, however, there was genuine power and daring in their music, which ranged from the neo-rockabilly swagger of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" to the driving disco-funk of "Another One Bites the Dust." Queen concocted a densely layered rock operetta, "Bohemian Rhapsody," that is among the most ornate productions in music history. They also served up crowd-pleasing chants like "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You," which have both become anthems in the world of sports.

The group formed in London in 1971. They came to music from university studies in such far-ranging disciplines as art, biology and astronomy. In keep with their regal vision, the nascent quartet foreswore the usual humbling rounds of pub and club gigs, working privately on a more theatrical, stage-ready presentation. Their first public concert took place in 1973 before an audience of invited guests at a London college. Eight years later, in March 1981, they would perform in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on consecutive nights to audiences numbering 131,000 and 120,000 - the largest paying crowds ever to hear a single band. In 1985, they played to a quarter of a million people at the Rock in Rio festival. That same year, they delivered an electrifying segment at the Live Aid benefit concert, seen by a TV audience of hundreds of millions.

Going against the grain of 1977’s punk uprising, News of the World (1977) contained Queen’s most beloved (and despised) chant-along songs: “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You.” Queen’s highest-charting album was 1980's The Game (#1 for five weeks), which also produced their biggest singles, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and “Another One Bites the Dust.” All the while, Queen mounted ever-more grandiose live shows. Queen’s performance at the 1985 Live Aid spectacular is remembered as one of the day’s highlights and gave the band momentum for what turned out to be their final year of concert performances. Meanwhile, Queen continued to push the envelope in the studio. As the flamboyant frontman Mercury stated when A Kind of Magic was released in 1986, “I hate doing the same thing again and again. I like to see what’s happening now in music, film and theater and incorporate all of those things.”

On 23rd November 1991 Freddie Mercury announced to the world that he had AIDS and the next day he died peacefully at his home, surrounded by family and friends. He remains the most high profile loss from the disease in the entertainment world and the news shocked fans throughout the world. As a tribute Bohemian Rhapsody /These Are The Days Of Our Lives was released as a double A-sided single to raise funds for the Terence Higgins Trust. It entered the UK chart at No. 1, where it stayed for five weeks, raising over £1,000,000 for the charity and Queen became the first band to have the same single top the uK charts twice. In December of that year Queen had 10 albums in the UK Top 100. In 1992 Freddie was awarded posthumously the BRIT's "Outstanding Contribution to British Music" and Days Of Our Lives won Best Single. On 20th April many of the world's top stars joined Brian, Roger and John on stage at Wembley for an emotional tribute to Freddie.

In 1995 the tracks that Queen had begun in 1991 were completed by Brian, Roger and John and the long-awaited MADE IN HEAVEN was released worldwide. It was the end of an era. Since then the phenomenon of Queen has remained, however, with continuing sales for their recorded output on CD and video. A ballet of their music by famous French choreographer Maurice Bejart was premiered at the National Theatre in Paris in 1997 and in May 2002 the hit musical We Will Rock You opened to sell-out audiences in London's West End and continues to play to packed houses and standing ovations every night. Queen’s first DVD Greatest Video Hits Vol.1 was released at the end of October 2002, and yet another piece of Queen product entered the UK charts at number 1. October 2002 also saw Queen receive their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles, joining The Beatles as only one of a handful of non-US bands to receive the much coveted honour. Last year, 2004 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Walk of Fame, and in the UK were voted by the public into the first UK Music Hall of Fame.

Queen’s musical has since opened in Australia, Spain, Las Vegas,USA, Russia, Germany and is scheduled to open in Japan this May.

Brian and Roger continue to be ambassadors for Nelson Mandela’s 46664 HIV/AIDS awareness campaign and this month, March, played a second benefit concert for 46664 in Fancourt, South Africa.

Brian and Roger take Queen back onto the touring circuit for the first time since 1986 this Spring, joined by former Free/Bad Company singer, songwriter and musicial Paul Rodgers playing concerts across the UK and throughout Europe. The tour covers over a dozen countries over a six week period, followed in July by 4 major outdoor concerts including London’s Hyde Park on July 8, a venue they last played in September 1976 when playing a free concert, they attracted a record audience of 150,000 to the Royal Park.
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