Queen – I Want To Break Free
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1970, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen’s earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, incorporating further diverse styles into 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 by his birth name of 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 in 1973. Queen enjoyed success in the UK with their debut and its follow-up, Queen II in 1974, but it was the release of Sheer Heart Attack later in 1974 and A Night at the Opera in 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, with “Another One Bites the Dust” their best selling single, 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 occasionally performed together, including a collaboration with Free and Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers under the name Queen + Paul Rodgers which ended in May 2009. Since 2011, May and Taylor have collaborated with vocalist Adam Lambert under the name of Queen + Adam Lambert. In late 2014, Queen will release a new album, Queen Forever, featuring vocals from the late Freddie Mercury.
The band have released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles, and 10 number one DVDs. Estimates of their record sales generally range from 150 million to 300 million records, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists. They received the Outstanding Contribution to British Music Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1990, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
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 to provide interviews. The band decided to continue making albums, starting with The Miracle in 1989 and continuing with Innuendo in 1991. Despite his deteriorating health, the lead singer continued to contribute. For the last two albums made while Mercury was still alive, the band credited all songs to Queen, rather than specific members of the group, freeing them of internal conflict and differences. In 1990, Queen ended their contract with Capitol and signed with Disney’s Hollywood Records, which has since remained the group’s music catalogue owner in the United States and Canada. That same year, Mercury made his final public appearance when he joined the rest of Queen to collect the BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Innuendo was released in early 1991 with an eponymous number 1 UK hit and other charting singles including, “The Show Must Go On”. Mercury was increasingly ill and could barely walk when the band recorded “The Show Must Go On” in 1990. Because of this, May had concerns about whether he was physically capable of singing it. Recalling Mercury’s successful performance May states; “he went 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 sold 16 million copies worldwide.
On 23 November 1991, in a prepared statement made on his deathbed, Mercury confirmed that he had AIDS. Within 24 hours of the statement, he died of bronchial pneumonia, which was brought on as a complication of AIDS. His funeral service on 27 November in Kensal Green, West London was private, and held in accordance with the Zoroastrian religious faith of his family.”Bohemian Rhapsody” was re-released as a single shortly after Mercury’s death, with “These Are the Days of Our Lives” as the double A-side. The music video for “These Are the Days of Our Lives” contain Mercury’s final scenes in front of the camera. The single went to number one in the UK, remaining there for five weeks – the only recording to top the Christmas 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 inclusion helped the song reach number two on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks in 1992 (it remained in the Hot 100 for over 40 weeks), and won the band an MTV Award at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. The compilation album Classic Queen also reached number four on the Billboard 200, and is certified three times platinum in the US. Wayne’s World footage was used to make a new music video for “Bohemian Rhapsody”, with which the band and management were delighted.
On 20 April 1992, The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was held at London’s Wembley Stadium to a 72,000-strong crowd. Performers, including Def Leppard, Robert Plant, Guns N’ Roses, Elton John, David Bowie, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Seal, Extreme, and Metallica performed various Queen songs along with the three remaining Queen members (and Spike Edney.) The concert is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as “The largest rock star benefit concert”, as it was televised to over 1.2 billion viewers worldwide, and raised over £20,000,000 for AIDS charities.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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