Thursday, June 1, 2017

Deep Cuts Part Two: Queen

I read an old post where I thought it might be fun to put together a supergroup of my least favorite musicians. I had Axl Rose fronting my band from hell. Readers chimed in with their suggestions for "worst at their job." The only candidate that caused me to shudder a bit was Freddie Mercury. I am aware of the many Queen haters out there, but I never attributed that to Mercury's vocal abilities. But then again, I know Guns N Roses fans love Axl Rose's voice.

Still, I think Queen is another band defined by their hits, and as Rodger S. commented in the Billy Joel post, "many of his songs have had the joy sucked out of them due to overplay." This could just as easily be applied to Queen.

It was a bit more difficult choosing ten deep cuts for Queen. This has nothing to do with my love for the band, but more to do with the material itself.  Part of my goal here is to get some detractors to see another side of the band responsible for "We Will Rock You" and "Another One Bites The Dust," but also keeping in mind that Queen's flamboyance and kitchen sink production might also add to the derision. It'd be like offering up sashimi to a person who thinks they don't like fish. Might be best to start off slow, something that may not taste like fish, if you know what I am saying.


Here are my ten choices, with the 4 video headstart. I've included songs with lead vocals by both guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. I expect nothing from this post, but after yesterday's insulting tongue-lashing on Facebook, I'm ready for anything today.


Funny How Love Is
Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
Hammer To Fall
I'm In Love With My Car
In The Lap Of The Gods...Revisited
It's Late
Long Away
The March Of The Black Queen
Now I'm Here


Shriner said...

No arguments here. There are very few Queen tracks I turn off when they show up somewhere (even the big hits). except maybe "Body Language".

I would add "Save Me" off the top of my head.

And I love -- LOVE -- "Radio GaGa"

And Queen's set at Live Aid still stands out over 30 years later.

(Queen did not have any albums in my "other 100", but "A Night At The Opera" is in my top 100...)

(Shriner sits back and waits to see if Queen takes as many shots as Billy Joel did...)

Sal Nunziato said...

"Save Me" was on my list, but swapped it for "I'm In Love With My Car," to give a spot to Roger.

buzzbabyjesus said...

A friend gave me "Sheer Heart Attack" for high school graduation. I was hooked.

Brian May built his guitar, and it wasn't a kit. The original whammy bar was made from a knitting needle and bike parts. He is a riffmeister supreme. Every thing he plays sounds great. One listen to "Now I'm Here" says it all.

Robert Plant's vocals are my least favorite quadrant of Led Zeppelin. I never liked the guy in Uriah Heap, or Rob Halford, Bon Scott, Brian Johnson, Vince Neal, Foghat, Axl Rose, or castrati screamers in general, so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise I find Freddie Mercury the most difficult part of Queen to like. (Careful what you wish for: Look what happened when he was replaced by classic rock singer Paul Rodgers. Ouch!)

And like LZ, everyone in Queen is top drawer. They play music really well together.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" is their "Good Vibrations" no matter how overplayed.
"A Night At The Opera" is their Sgt Pepper.
Classic and groundbreaking.

A few years ago I revisited Queen. I was out in the car with my then 11 year old daughter who was just discovering the Beatles. I had a mix similar to yours (excellent,BTW) in the car, so I played it. During "In The Lap Of The Gods....Revisited" song she said, "Dad, can you please never play this again?". I was disapointed, but have honored her request.

Rodger Stroup said...

I bought Queen's debut and enjoyed it. "Keep Yourself Alive," "Liar," and "Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll" were my favorites, if memory serves. I was in a band at the time, a trio (I can't write power trio with a straight face!), so Queen wasn't going to be a band we covered.

I enjoyed the hits, and since the radio was the only place I heard them, the radio didn't suck the joy out of those songs. At least not as much.

Fast forward to the Other 100. I picked up Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, and A Day at the Races, and discovered that I wasted a lot of time not getting these sooner.

I've got Beatle fever right now, so I will return to Queen soon.

Bill said...

[sushi aside: I didn't like fish growing up. Actually, hated it. I was visiting my brother in San Francisco when I was in college and he said that I would like sushi if I just gave it a try. He gave me a big piece of tuna sashimi and I nearly threw up. It was another ten years before I tried sushi again.]

Anonymous said...

Coincidence: While YouTubing yesterday, I somehow happened upon a vid, circa early-90s, full of musicians going on about their appreciation for Queen & Mercury. Not being a fan, but liking to hear what others like about stuff I don't, I watched. It didn't change my mind, and I'm as aware as anybody else about how folks can ramp up their statements when they're being recorded, but I liked seeing it. I was touched by the tributes to Prince when he died, not being a fan but very much enjoying hearing how much he impacted others in his field. Anyway, Queen was too hyperdramatic for me, vocally & musically, but of the 6 songs I have by them, 3 are hits and the other 3 are off 'Night At The Opera', which my brother had back in the 70s. One of the 'Night' songs is the hit 'You're My Best Friend', a great pop song. The other two I like from 'Night' are the two included in Sal's playlist. Yes, 'Car' is hyperdramatic, but sometimes stuff works for me and sometimes it don't. Go figger.
C in California

Michael Giltz said...

Now we have to debate whether Queen is worthy? And people don't like the hits? That's like not enjoying ABBA Gold. If you don't like their over the top hits, how about the even more over the top minor hits like "Who Wants To Live Forever" from the movie Highlander? About the only hit I didn't like was "Radio Gaga" -- a song I really really hated -- UNTIL Live AID. (Thanks Shriner for high-fiving it.) It remains a mystery why they were on in the afternoon but it was like someone turned on a switch in London as the crowd became one and snapped to attention and even did the damn Radio Gaga hand gestures. What a live act. Plus he was super gay and called himself Queen and somehow was STILL in the closet. I mean Jim Steinman, sure, that we can debate but I thought Queen was a safe harbor of "yeah they're great" by now.

softshoebanana said...

"Funny How Love Is" is surely Queens most underappreciated song, absolute gem from beginning to end.
If memory serves me correctly, i recall from the deep and distant past that this song was a very humorous strand running through a Christopher Brookmyre novel "A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away".
Queens first 5 albums were and still are great pity about all the crap they unleashed after.

snakeboy said...

Thank you for making me less of a snob with this and the Billy Joel selections.
Please continue.

cmealha said...

Glad you included 'Funny How Love Is'. One of their best

Jeff in Denton TX said...

Loved the past couple of posts! My personal favorite Queen deep track is "You and I" from A Day at the Races, which is also my favorite Queen album.

On the early 90's Classic Queen compilation--released largely to capitalize on the "Bohemian Rhapsody" revival and Disney/Hollywood Records' acquisition of the band's back catalog rights--the final two tracks, "Who Wants to Live Forever" and "The Show Must Go On" were paired back-to-back. It seemed like a fitting tribute to Freddie. Neither was a major US hit, but both are terrific songs.

I envision an ELO episode of this series coming soon.

Shriner said...

Yeah, but the only ELO album you need is "A New World Record".

(Shriner ducks and hides...)

Christine said...

Thank you for posting this. You already know about my love affair with Queen, so I need not say more.

itsok2beright said...

I know I'm late to this party. I have to stop letting work get in the way of life.

This is a difficult to discussion to read through for me. I can't find any reason why people would detract from Freddie and Queen. Mostly, I see people who've never dug into their music and took a serious listen. I wouldn't say they are speaking from ignorance, rather unfamiliarity. Sal, once your exposure of the deep cuts are appreciated (which aren't deep to most Queen fanatics, like myself), I hope that your followers begin to appreciate the talent, the show and the music of Queen. Growing up, I remember seeing them at least a dozen times.

There is a movie out there, Queen Rock Montreal, which gives a great feel of those shows. Though, by that time of their career (1981), Freddie was getting a little over the top. I would recommend to your followers to give it a look. Though, see the whole show, not just the songs they've heard of.