Another kind of Queen footage here...
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally
consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May
(guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar, guitars, vocals), and
Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen's earliest works were
influenced by progressive rock, but the band gradually ventured
into more conventional and radio-friendly works, incorporating
more diverse and innovative styles in their music.
Before joining Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing
together in a band named Smile with bassist Tim Staffell. Freddie
Mercury (then known as Farrokh/Freddie Bulsara) was a fan of
Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage
and recording techniques after Staffell's departure in 1970.
Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the
name of the band to "Queen", and adopted his familiar stage name.
John Deacon was recruited prior to recording their eponymous debut
album (1973). Queen enjoyed success in the UK with their debut and
its follow-up, Queen II (1974), but it was the release of Sheer
Heart Attack (1974) and A Night at the Opera (1975) that gained
the band international success. The latter featured "Bohemian
Rhapsody", which stayed at number one in the UK Singles Chart for
nine weeks; it charted at number one in several other territories,
and gave the band their first top ten hit on the US Billboard Hot
100. Their 1977 album, News of the World, contained two of rock's
most recognisable anthems, "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the
Champions". By the early 1980s, Queen were one of the biggest
stadium rock bands in the world, and their performance at 1985's
Live Aid is regarded as one of the greatest in rock history. In
1991, Mercury died of bronchopneumonia, a complication of AIDS,
and Deacon retired in 1997. Since then, May and Taylor have
infrequently performed together, including a collaboration with
Paul Rodgers under the name Queen + Paul Rodgers which ended in
The band has released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number
one singles, and 10 number one DVDs. Estimates of their album sales
generally range from 150 million to 300 million albums, making them
one of the world's best-selling music artists. They received a
Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry
in 1990, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
In January 1985, the band headlined two nights of the first Rock in
Rio festival at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and played in front of over
300,000 people each night. The Boston Globe described it as a
"mesmerising performance". A selection of highlights of both nights
was released on VHS with the title Queen: Live in Rio, and was later
broadcast on MTV in the US. In April and May 1985, Queen completed
the Works Tour with sold-out shows in Australia and Japan.
"Queen were absolutely the best band of the day... they just went
and smashed one hit after another... it was the perfect stage for
Freddie: the whole world"
--Bob Geldof, on Queen's performance at Live Aid.
At Live Aid, held at Wembley on 13 July 1985, in front of the
biggest-ever TV audience of 1.9 billion, Queen performed some of
their greatest hits, during which the sold-out stadium audience of
72,000 people clapped, sang, and swayed in unison. The show's
organiser, Bob Geldof, other musicians such as Elton John and Dave
Grohl, and various music journalists commented that Queen stole the
show. An industry poll in 2005 named it the greatest rock performance
of all time.
When interviewed for Mojo magazine the band said the most amazing
sight at Live Aid was to see the audience clapping to "Radio Ga Ga".
Brian May stated: "I'd never seen anything like that in my life and it
wasn't calculated either. We understood our audience and played to
but that was one of those weird accidents because of the (music)
I remember thinking 'oh great, they've picked it up' and then I
'this is not a Queen audience'. This is a general audience who've
bought tickets before they even knew we were on the bill. And they all
did it. How did they know? Nobody told them to do it."
The band, now revitalised by the response to Live Aid -- a "shot in the
arm" Roger Taylor called it, -- and the ensuing increase in record
ended 1985 by releasing the single "One Vision", which was the first
time since "Stone Cold Crazy" that all four bandmembers received a
writing credit for the one song. Also, a limited-edition boxed set
containing all Queen albums to date was released under the title of
The Complete Works. The package included previously unreleased
most notably Queen's non-album single of Christmas 1984, titled "Thank
God It's Christmas".
In early 1986, Queen recorded the album A Kind of Magic, containing
several reworkings of songs written for the fantasy action film
Highlander. The album was very successful, producing a string of hits,
including the title track, "A Kind of Magic". Also charting from the
album were "Friends Will Be Friends", "Who Wants to Live Forever?"
(featuring an orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen), and the de facto
theme from Highlander, "Princes of the Universe".
In summer of 1986, Queen went on their final tour with Freddie
A sold-out tour in support of A Kind of Magic, once again they hired
Spike Edney, leading to him being dubbed the unofficial fifth member.
The Magic Tour's highlight was at Wembley Stadium in London and
resulted in the live double album, Queen at Wembley, released on CD
as a live concert DVD, which has gone five times platinum in the US
four times platinum in the UK. Queen could not book Wembley for a
night, but they did play at Knebworth Park. The show sold out within
hours and over 120,000 fans packed the park for what was Queen's final
live performance with Mercury. During the tour, Queen performed a
concert at Slane Castle, Ireland, in front of an audience of 95,000,
which broke the venue's attendance record. The band also played behind
the Iron Curtain when they performed to a crowd of 80,000 in Budapest,
in what was one of the biggest rock concerts ever held in Eastern
More than one million people saw Queen on the tour--400,000 in the
Kingdom alone, a record at the time.
After working on various solo projects during 1988 (including
collaboration with Montserrat Caball�, Barcelona), the band released
Miracle in 1989. The album continued the direction of A Kind of Magic,
using a pop-rock sound mixed with a few heavy numbers. It spawned the
European hits "I Want It All", "Breakthru", "The Invisible Man",
"Scandal", and "The Miracle". The Miracle also began a change in
direction of Queen's songwriting philosophy. Since the band's
nearly all songs had been written by and credited to a single member,
with other members adding minimally. With The Miracle, the band's
songwriting became more collaborative, and they vowed to credit the
product only to Queen as a group.
After fans noticed Mercury's increasingly gaunt appearance in 1988,
rumours began to spread that Mercury was suffering from AIDS. Mercury
flatly denied this, insisting he was merely "exhausted" and too busy
provide interviews. The band decided to continue making albums,
with The Miracle in 1989 and continuing with Innuendo in 1991. Despite
his deteriorating health, the lead singer continued to contribute. For
last two albums made while Mercury was still alive, the band credited
songs to Queen, rather than specific members of the group, freeing
internal conflict and differences. In 1990, Mercury made his final
appearance when he joined the rest of Queen to collect the BRIT Award
Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Innuendo was released in
1991 with an eponymous number 1 UK hit and other charting singles
including, "The Show Must Go On". Mercury was increasingly ill and
barely walk when the band recorded "The Show Must Go On" in 1990.
of this, May had concerns about whether he was physically capable of
singing it. Recalling Mercury's successful performance May states; "he
in and killed it, completely lacerated that vocal". The band's second
greatest hits compilation, Greatest Hits II, followed in October 1991,
which is the eighth best-selling album of all time in the UK and has
16 million copies worldwide.
On 23 November 1991, in a prepared statement made on his deathbed,
confirmed that he had AIDS. Within 24 hours of the statement, he died
bronchial pneumonia, which was brought on as a complication of AIDS.
funeral service on 27 November in Kensal Green, West London was
and held in accordance with the Zoroastrian religious faith of his
"Bohemian Rhapsody" was re-released as a single shortly after
death, with "These Are the Days of Our Lives" as the double A-side.
music video for "These Are the Days of Our Lives" contain Mercury's
scenes in front of the camera. The single went to number one in the
remaining there for five weeks - the only recording to top the
chart twice and the only one to be number one in four different years
(1975, 1976, 1991, and 1992). Initial proceeds from the single -
approximately �1,000,000 - were donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Queen's popularity was stimulated in the United States when "Bohemian
Rhapsody" was featured in the 1992 comedy film Wayne's World. Its
helped the song reach number two on the Billboard Hot 100 for five
in 1992 (it remained in the Hot 100 for over 40 weeks), and won the
MTV Award at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. The compilation album
Queen also reached number four on the Billboard 200, and is certified
times platinum in the US. Wayne's World footage was used to make a new
video for "Bohemian Rhapsody", with which the band and management were
On 20 April 1992, The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was held at
Wembley Stadium to a 72,000-strong crowd. Performers, including Def
Robert Plant, Guns N' Roses, Elton John, David Bowie, George Michael,
Lennox, Seal, Extreme, and Metallica performed various Queen songs
with the three remaining Queen members. The concert is listed in the
Guinness Book of Records as "The largest rock star benefit concert",
was televised to over 1.2 billion viewers worldwide, and raised over
�20,000,000 for AIDS charities.