One of the most underrated popular rock bands is Queen. To most, their well known for “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Under Pressure” but their discography goes further than that. Brian May’s guitar skills and his signature Red Special guitar helped create very intricate and often times unparalleled sounds combined with John Deacon’s custom amplifier that made the band place a “no synthesizer ” label on their 70s albums. The amount of overdubs and multilayered effects May popularized on A Night at The Opera and Queen II will blow you away. When you listen to albums such as Queen II or Sheer Heart Attack or even The Works, brace yourself for a hijacking of your earbuds.
Queen didn’t have a sound, but instead had multiple sounds ranging from pop rock, heavy metal, blues, jazz, Caribbean, piano, folk, and gospel. There are literally tons of sounds that accompanied their music. Although they had many major hits, their most popular songs, in my opinion, came from the 70s era. 80s era Queen was still amazing with all of its arena and stadium sold-out sounding underpinnings. If you’re interested in watching one of the most electrifying live performances, check out their Live Aid performance which is simply breathtaking. In addition, check out their Live at Wimbledon Stadium DVD which is again…amazing.
However great their sound was, their lives were even greater. Especially considering that I was a senior in high school when I discovered Queen. Finding out their educational background made me feel closer to them as I prepared my own college journey. Each member was skilled in some way. Brain May earned a degree in physics, John Deacon earned a degree in engineering , Freddie Mercury was a graphic art major, and Roger Taylor was a biology major.
Moreover, each member (besides John Deacon) sang on a record. Each of them had great voices with various ranges. For instance, “Lap of the Gods” you can hear Roger Taylor’s falsetto. In “39” from their 4th album A Night at the Opera you can hear it very well done. May had a rapsy’ish tenor, but Freddie Mercury had a dynamic voice that spanned many octaves and delivered with force.
Not only were they talented vocalist and educated, they really wrote some amazing hits. These songs are very much embedded into popular culture that it’s impossible to bypass their influence. Each member, including John Deacon, was responsible for producing numerous hits such as “I Want to Break Free (Deacon)” , “Hammer to Fall (May)” , “Somebody to Love (Mercury)”, and “Another One Bites the Dust (Deacon)”, “Radio Gaga” (Taylor), “You’re My Bestfriend ” (Deacon), “We are the Champions” (Mercury), “We Will Rock You” (Mercury), “Don’t Stop Me Now” (Mercury), “Fat Bottomed Girls” (May), ” Bicycle Races (Mercury)” , and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love ” (Mercury).
Truly one of the greatest bands globally, but not so much in America. I’ve always been curious why America didn’t catch onto them. Perhaps it was the critic that impacted their music. The critics slammed Queen so much on their albums which most likely influenced their popularity in the States.
Often ranked as one of the best musical acts of the 1970s, Queen’s legacy has endured approaching 50 years. No matter the reviews, Queen should go down as one of the greatest bands in popular music not just the 70s.