This first entry in my writing regarding music, television, and politics is about a rock group that began in the United Kingdom in 1971. Queen could not get a record deal until De lane Lea studios allowed them free studio time in exchange for demonstrating the use of equipment to would be clients. This was how they came to record their self-titled debut album. Not released until 1973 on EMI in Europe and Elektra in America. The competition was fierce. Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, and David Bowie were already in the mix by the time Queen had introduced themselves to the public. Many critics dismissed them as latecomers to a scene that had already come and gone. I strongly believe that nothing is guaranteed. This blog will discuss music, television, and politics through this lens. Adversity became the group’s call to arms for listeners of a distinctly more sophisticated type of theatrical rock n roll.
This week sees the release of the 20th Century Fox film biography of the late Queen singer Freddie Mercury who passed away in 1991 due to bronchial pneumonia brought on by HIV/AIDS virus. Freddie named the band, wrote many of their greatest hits, and created a stage persona that was over the top. To many people around the world he was the tabla rasa for sexual freedom and open ideas. Critics often derided his overt self importance as pretension. Queen fans secretly knew he was just being himself for a couple of hours on stage. The rest of his life was kept quite private. Up until his death he attempted to keep his illness out of the spotlight. Many people misunderstood him as a star.
The film about his life uses his most autobiographical song, “Bohemian Rhapsody “, as the focal point of his life’s story. For where would Queen have been without it’s worldwide success? The music really did set him free. In turn as a fan of the group I took the ride with him. I think for many gay fans Freddie was an example of someone who overcame adversity by connecting with so many people through music. He refused to allow Queen to be pigeonholed into any one genre of music. This became their legacy.
After their decline in popularity in America they went on tours of stadiums in South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. This was proof that Queen still had something to offer fans new and old alike.
Many people have mixed feelings towards their favorite music groups. Sometimes they do things we don’t agree with like creating music that does not fit neatly into a narrative, real or imagined, of their own design. Musicians like to create new sounds with each album. Queen were enabled to explore different musical directions all because the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” hit it big. The movie will celebrate Freddie Mercury’s life. Millions of fans are anxiously awaiting its release. I hope a new audience will be inspired by his legacy.