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Queen band with Paul Rogers

Queen band photo 2008
L>R> Roger Taylor, Paul Rogers and Brian May

Queen Biography

This band has done a lot for Rock music history, they provided a unique sound which has set the base for many Classic-Rock songs.
Queen arose out of the ashes of an earlier short-lived band named Smile which included guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. In 1970 Smile decided to call it a day, as nothing seemed to be happening for them; that same year May and Taylor were joined by singer Freddie Mercury. In February 1971, bass player John Deacon was taken on as the fourth member of Queen. In London, ENGLAND, the band practiced tirelessly and played several small gigs at Imperial College, where they rehearsed for close friends. A year later, they signed a recording contract and publishing and management agreements with Trident and soon began work on their first album.

In 1973, Trident and EMI signed a contract for a recording deal for Queen and July of that year, saw the release of the band's eponymous debut album which reached the top 30 of the British chart. Towards the end of the year, the group were offered a big break, their first major tour as support band to Mott The Hoople.
"Queen II" arrived in the spring of 1974; during this time the band embarked on their first headlining tour of Britain where their sophomore outing hit the top 5 producing a top 10 hit in the single "Seven Seas Of Rhye". In April 1974, the quartet left for the U.S. on their first-ever American tour as guests to Mott The Hoople and "Queen II" peaked at #49 on The Pop Albums chart.
Work on their third album began without Brian May, who collapsed with hepatitis in the middle of the U.S. tour; recovering from the illness, May recorded his bits on "Sheer Heart Attack" in-between rushes to the bathroom. But eventually, the album was finished and finally released in November 1974. It was a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic, #2 in U.K. and #12 in U.S. and even a top 20 in Australia. "Killer Queen", the first best flourishing of Freddie Mercury's vaudevillian camp, equaled the peak position on the British Singles chart and also peaked at #12 on the Pop Singles list Stateside. Other highlights include the European top 20 hit "Now I'm Here" and the pummeling "Stone Cold Crazy", a frenzied piece of jagged Metal.

1975 was a phenomenal year for Queen, in January the band embarked on their very first U.S. headlining tour. Ticket sales exploded and demand was so high that they had to add more shows, doing two shows in one day at some venues, both shows being sold out. Their first Canadian gig was in Edmonton in April, where they were joined on stage by support act Kansas. Two weeks later Queen made their first-ever visit to Japan, when they arrived at the airport, there were over three thousand fans there to greet them, as "Sheer Heart Attack" was #1 in Japan at the time.

Queen was preparing to work on its fourth album when Freddie Mercury first introduced a song to his band mates from ideas written on pieces of paper: "Bohemian Rhapsody", now widely regarded as one of the most significant Rock songs in history. EMI, was hesitant to release it as a single because of its nearly six-minute length; the band refused to edit it. When the British D.J. Kenny Everett played an advance copy of the song on his radio program 14 times in two days, audience demand intensified. Eventually the unedited single was released. In November 1975, "Bohemian Rhapsody" topped the British Pop chart and stayed there for nine weeks, cementing the band's superstar status. The full-length "A Night At The Opera" came out the same month, going straight to #1 in U.K. rocketing up the U.S. Pop Albums chart and eventually peaking at #4. "Bohemian Rhapsody" was also a big smash for the group in the U.S. where it grabbed the ninth spot on the Pop Singles list. The lovely, shimmering "You're My Best Friend" followed, reaching #16 on the same chart and helped push the album's sales into the triple platinum range.

Prior to the December 1976 release of their next LP, "A Day At The Races", a sequel album to the previous "A Night At The Opera", Queen staged a huge free concert in London's Hyde Park. The crowds were estimated at between 150 and 200 thousand people, the largest audience Queen had played to up to that time and to date still the highest-ever attendance record for a concert in Hyde Park. "A Day At The Races" debuted at #1 on the British Albums chart and at #5 in U.S. highlighted by the monster hit single "Somebody To Love", which climbed into the top 3 in U.K. and rose to #13 on The American Top 40. The album album featured another mid-sized U.S. hit with the opening "Tie Your Mother Down" and the British top 20 hit, "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy".
Freddie Mercury and company released "News Of The World" in October 1977 charting up to #3 in U.S. and to #2 in England. The set was front-loaded with two of Queen's biggest anthems: the stomping, stadium-filling chant "We Will Rock You" and its triumphant companion, "We Are the Champions", which were originally released as a double A-side single becoming an instant smash and racing into the U.K. top 3. "We Are The Champions" also became the band's most successful single to date in the U.S. where it grabbed the #4 spot on the Pop Singles chart. "News Of The World" featured two more minor hits in "Spread Your Wings" and "It's Late".

November 1978 saw the release of Queen's seventh album: "Jazz", they recorded it in Montreux and France, the first time they had ever recorded outside Great Britain. The album debuted at #2 in U.K. and at #6 in U.S. spawning another powerful double-A single, "Fat Bottomed Girls" / "Bicycle Race" which held top 10 positions on several European charts and reached #24 on the American Top 40. Queen rented Wimbledon Stadium for a day in 1978 to shoot the video for this single and 65 naked girls were hired to stage a nude bicycle race. The Freddie Mercury penned "Don't Stop Me Now" was the second single to be lifted from the album and a top 10 hit in Britain.

The following year they released their first live album, a double-LP called "Live Killers" and while writing and recording the next studio album, Queen were asked by renowned movie director Dino de Laurentiis to provide the soundtrack for his upcoming sci-fi epic, "Flash Gordon". The band accepted and promptly began working on both albums simultaneously.
"The Game" arrived in June 1980, it was the band's first outing to feature extensive use of synthesizers. The album shot to #1 in Great Britain, U.S. and Canada, going platinum, four times platinum and 5 x platinum, respectively. The first single, the rockabilly-inflected "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", was also a worldwide smash reaching the top position in Canada, U.S. and Australia falling just one position short of #1 in their native England, where two subsequent singles, "Save Me" and "Play The Game" charted inside the top 20 with the latter placing just outside of the Americn Top 40. But "Another One Bites The Dust" became the band's biggest-ever, worldwide-selling single to date, reaching the top 10 in no less than 20 countries from Europe to Oceania and from North to South America; it became a huge crossover hit in the U.S. topping the charts in Rock, Dance and Black Singles. The album's final single, "Need Your Loving Tonight", reached the #44 slot on The U.S. Pop chart.
In December 1980, the soundtrack album for "Flash Gordon" was released and it climbed into the top 10 in U.K. and into the top 30 in U.S. and Australia. The majority of the music is instrumental, with dialogue from the movie in place of Freddie Mercury's singing; only two tracks contain lyrics, including the anthemic U.K. Top 10 hit "Flash's Theme" which just failed to reach the U.S. Top 40, peaking at #42.

In April 1981, Roger Taylor released his first solo album, titled "Fun In Space"; in October of the same year, Queen put out "Greatest Hits", a collection that gathered their biggest U.S. and U.K. hits from 1973 to 1981; the set deduted at #14 on the Billboard's Top 200 LPs & Tapes chart helped by the fact that the U.S. edition included a new song recorded in collaboration with David Bowie, "Under Pressure"; this was the band's first British #1 single since "Bohemian Rhapsody" and in the U.S. it rose to #7 on The Mainstream Rock chart.

The band's twelfth studio record, "Hot Space", was by far the most controversial album Queen ever released; the disc which consisted mainly of Dance, Disco and Funk-oriented songs, stalled at #4 in Britain and at #22 on the Pop Albums chart Stateside upon its May 1982 release. The first single, "Body Language", peaked at #11 on the U.S. Pop chart and at #19 on The Mainstream Rock Tracks; "Put Out The Fire" followed closely on its heels reaching #15 on The Rock airplay list and "Calling All Girls" inched into the top 40 on the same chart. In the U.K. "Hot Space" generated three top 40 singles: "Body Language", "Las Palabras De Amor" and "Back Chat".
In January 1983, Freddie Mercury began work on a solo album and Taylor returned to the studio for his second solo effort. That summer Queen commenced the recording sessions for their next album at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, the first time the band had recorded in America.

In February 1984, the release of "The Works" put the band back on track; although the album only peaked at #23 on the American Billboard 200 chart, it was a top 10 hit in just about every other area of the world. "Radio Ga Ga", the first single taken from the album, became a worldwide hit, climbing into the top 20 of The Billboard Hot 100, hitting #2 in U.K. and reaching #1 in nineteen different countries. The second single, the uplifting "I Want To Break Free", was another top 3 smash in Great Britain and reached the #45 position on The Billboard Hot 100. "The Works" spun off two more U.K. top 20 hits in the politically conscious rocker "Hammer To Fall", which dealt with the danger of nuclear weapons and the love song "It's A Hard Life", the latter of which inched into The Billboard Hot 100.

The following year marked another turning point for Queen, in fact 1985 was the year of "Rock In Rio", it was billed as the biggest Rock festival to be held anywhere in the world and Queen were headlining the event. Freddie Mercury's first solo album, "Mr. Bad Guy", was released in April whilst the band was on tour in Australia. On July 13, 1985, Mercury and company performed at the Live Aid concert at London's vast Wembley Stadium, Queen were just one of a multitude of top bands who all performed a short, 20-minute set, they were unanimously voted, by press and public alike, as the band that stole the show. The group then went on to record and release a new single, "One Vision", which hit the top 10 in U.K. and inched into the top 20 of the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks.
This Live Aid-inspired hit song was also included on the group's next album, "A Kind Of Magic", at once the most disappointing U.S. release and their biggest album in England in the band's arsenal. This full-length disc was issued in June 1986, it peaked at #1 in Great Britain where remained on the Pop Sales chart for 63 weeks and spawned several hit singles: the epic title-track quickly ascended into the top 3, the tuneful pop-rocker "Friends Will Be Friends" climbed into the top 20 and one of their most haunting ballads, "Who Wants To Live Forever" was another U.K. top 40, coming in at #24. In America "A Kind Of Magic" only reached the #46 position on The Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and the title-song also failed to dent the top 40 of The Billboard Hot 100.

After another break for solo projects, Queen reunited for what was to be one of their most inspired albums, "The Miracle"; it was released in May 1989 and quickly rocketed to become #1 on several European Pop sales charts. Five singles were lifted off of the album: "Breakthru", "The Invisible Man", "Scandal", the title-track and "I Want It All", all five managed to finish in the top 30 of the British Singles chart with the latter reaching the top 3; "I Want It All" also hit #3 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks propelling "The Miracle" to a #24 position on The Billboard 200 Albums list.
At the start of 1991, the band released the six-and-a-half-minute long epic "Innuendo" as a single; it was a huge success, giving Freddie Mercury and company their third U.K. #1 single and ensuring them the #1 slot throughout Europe. The album of the same name was released that February and crashed straight into the British Pop chart at #1, hitting the high spot again throughout Europe, top 10 in Australia and it even charted top 30 in the U.S. where the title-track peaked at #17 on The Mainstream Rock chart. Queen's heavier side was represented on this album by the Mainstream Rock radio top 3 smash "Headlong" while "I'm Going Slightly Mad", which hit #22 in U.K. and "I Can't Live With You", a further U.S. Mainstream Rock radio top 30 entrant, showed the band's pop sensibilities in full force. In October was released as a single the magnificent, powerful and sad "The Show Must Go On", the final song on Queen's last album with Mercury; the single quickly made it into the U.K Top 20 chart and later hit #2 on The Billboard Hot 100.

On November 23, 1991, Freddie Mercury announced to the world that he had AIDS. He sadly passed away the next day at his London home. The world was in shock. Freddie had kept his illness very private and only those closest to him had been aware of just how close to the end he really was.
As a tribute to Freddie Mercury and to raise funds for the Terence Higgins Trust to continue the fight against AIDS, as Mercury's last wishes requested, "Bohemian Rhapsody" / "These Are The Days Of Our Lives" was released as a double A-sided single. It entered the U.K. chart at #1, where it remained for five weeks, raising over one million pounds for the AIDS charity; "Bohemian Rhapsody", sixteen years after its original release, re-entered the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and rose to #2.
On April 20, 1992, many of the world's top stars, including Metallica, Extreme, Def Leppard, Guns N' Roses just to name a few, joined Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor on stage at Wembley Stadium to pay an emotional tribute to Freddie. The stadium was packed to capacity and it was televised live to over one billion people. Prior to Christmas 1992, a double video of the Freddie Tribute Concert was released, with all proceeds being donated to the Mercury Phoenix Trust and on April 20, 1993, was released "Five Live" in aid of the Trust, an EP credited to George Michael and Queen with Lisa Stansfield; they reached the top 10 in over thirty countries worldwide and the single "Somebody To Love", shot to #1 in the United Kingdom.

After four years in the making, November 1995 saw the worldwide release of "Made In Heaven", Queen's fifteenth studio album. Begun in April 1991, the album was the last work to be recorded by the band with Freddie Mercury, his fellow band members have got together one last time to make a Queen album, using recordings Mercury made during his last illness. The disc topped the charts in Western Europe, with its first single, "Heaven For Everyone", hitting the U.K. top 3, while in the U.S. it was on and off the charts within weeks and only reached #58 on The Billboard 200. "Made In Heaven"'s lyrics were imbued with life-and-death issues from the two singles "Too Much Love Will Kill You" and "Let Me Live" with the latter making it to #9 on the British Pop chart; the album contained three more singles including the worldwide top 10 smash "Heaven For Everyone", the U.K. top 10 hit "A Winter's Tale" and the European sizeable hit "You Don't Fool Me".
In the years to follow, a steady stream of boxed sets and greatest-hits collections would keep the band on the charts as Queen continued to garner strong airplay on all formats of radio stations.

Queen returned to the musical world, when Brian May and Roger Taylor announced a 2005 reunion tour, with former lead singer for Free and Bad Company, Paul Rodgers; John Deacon decided to stay retired and the band, now billed as Queen + Paul Rodgers, released the live double-CD set "Return Of The Champions" that September.

September 2008 saw Queen + Paul Rodgers unleash their first studio album, "The Cosmos Rocks"; it includes the hit single "C-lebrity".


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Queen pictures:

  • Queen band 1973 Queen band 1973
    from left: Roger Taylor, Freddie Mercury, Brian May & John Deacon (1973)
  • Queen band late 70s Queen band late 70s
    Queen in 1979