Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Positively, Guilt-Free Wednesdays: 10 Reasons Why Queen Doesn't Suck

With "Bohemian Rhapsody," the biopic about Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor, collectively known as Queen about to open, I thought I'd take an opportunity to say a few quick words on why I love this band, regardless of how good or bad this movie might be.

The haters are out there, full force on social media, trashing the band, expressing zero interest in the film, and basically citing "Bohemian Rhapsody"-the song-- as either what they love or what they hate.

Some comments:
"I can't stand the band, but you have to admit, Bohemian Rhapsody is great fun."

"If I hear Bohemian Rhapsody one more time, I'll take a hostage."

"I am so sick of Bohemian Rhapsody."

Queen has other songs.

I mentioned last week how I never tire of "Bohemian Rhapsody," even if I don't reach for "A Night At The Opera" as much as I used to, and that is because I love the art of making records. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is not only a great record, it's a marvel, an achievement in record-making that equals or surpasses just about any record out there for sheer originality and balls and execution.

But, Queen has other songs. And they've made a whole lot of great records.

Like many artists, their hits don't quite represent the band. David Bowie's two biggest, I believe, were "Fame" and "Let's Dance."

Cheap Trick: "The Flame."

If you're of a certain age, "Meet The Parents" might be your favorite Robert DeNiro film.

Queen has others songs, from straight forward hard rock, to British dance hall, to campy glam, to acoustic pop and back again. All four members are masterful at their instruments and the voices of Freddie, Brian and Roger, when harmonizing, created a unique instrument of their own, that to this day, gets referred to as "Queen Vocals" when utilized on many artists recordings. What was put down in the studio was near impossible to recreate on stage, so if you happened to see the band live at any point, I don't blame you if you were not impressed. I've enjoyed myself at every Queen show I've been to, but I will also be the first to admit, they didn't always cut it live.

Queen's debut right through 1977's "News Of The World" are as essential to me as "The Who Sell Out," The Beatles catalogue, "Ziggy Stardust" and "Blonde On Blonde."

Queen has other songs besides the 10 biggest hits.

Here are 10 that are right up there with some of my favorite music of all time and none of them are "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Will Rock You" or "Another One Bites The Dust."


Anonymous said...

Great, great post. Please allow me to start with this: I saw the trailer of the film and I don't think the guy in Mercury's shoes, will deliver. Borat would have been the best for this and not only because of the mustache but because of his gravitas. I think I will pass.
But Queen is right there where you just said. An Asian, non macho guy with such a tremendous talent, among the Rock Gods, is quite a thing.
Hot Space is such a joy, at least the first part. I remember being a kid and listening to this in the AM radio in my home country.
This band has so many amazing tunes but one will never stopped amazing me is The Fairy Feller's master stroke. Pure genius.
What a great band.

RobS said...

Sal, you know I love Queen. The movie takes a lot of liberties with the timing of things like "Fat Bottomed Girls" being played on their first tour and various other things that would annoy a hard core fan. As another writer said, you cannot do justice to Freddie Mercury's life in a PG movie when he didn't lead a PG life. All of that being said, the soundtrack is worth the price of admission. Many unreleased live tracks, even a reformation of the original Smile. Your song choices are excellent, but I would have added March of the Black Queen or Fairy Feller's Master Stroke to present ultimate in overdubs.

Sal Nunziato said...

The March Of The Black Queen is my single favorite Queen tune. But my thinking was this, if I was to attempt showing off a different side of the band to readers who have already been turned off by the subject, March seemed like throwing them in the deep end.

Anonymous said...

Sal, have you ever posted a Weekend Mix of Queen that I missed along the way? Back in the day, after enjoying their debut, I bought Queen II, was turned off and never listened to anything after that. Admittedly, I need to hear more.


cmealha said...

“Funny How Love Is” is the greatest Phil Spector song that he had nothing to do with. Never tire of it. May be my favorite Queen song

Sal Nunziato said...

I don't think I posted a Weekend Mix on Queen. I don't think I could handle the backlash. In other news, Queen 2 is my favorite Queen album, so if that turned you off, I'm not sure my mix would be of any help. But I'd be happy to create one.

Anonymous said...

Sal, don't do one just for me but I'd love to hear one. Digging the videos you posted.


Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Great topic, great list. Me? I would add Show Must Go on, but it's a minor quibble. Late Queen at their finest.

Now I'm Here is *such* a great song. Those transitions from the palm-muted 8th notes to the single-strummed power-chords to the first verse satisfies every time. Then to the Chuck Berry solo and Little Queenie outro. My little mind was blown in '74.


Anonymous said...

Confession: I almost got the free weekly I wrote for thrown off WEA's promo list by unfavorably reviewing News of the World. I only liked the token Roger Taylor song and thought the rest overdone. WEA's Midwest head called up my poor editor and gave her an earful - "It's #1 in the charts!" Then she had to tell him I was also reviewing the Jackson Browne concert. Good times.

itsok2beright said...

In anticipation of this movie (bi-oh-pic), i've been cycling through all of their albums chronologically. Just unbelievable the breadth of this band.

I am still in awe of Queen II. I don't know the anonymous poster above, but if his first listen to Queen II turned him off, maybe he needs to listen to it again.

Your selection is great, THANKS!. 'It's Late' is my absolute favorite Queen song. This is one of the few songs that I will reply immediately after it comes on. I just have to listen to it twice in a row.

A weekend mix would be great, but how do you narrow it down. Even lesser known songs like 'Sail Away Sweet Sister' on The Game, need honorable mention. Brian May can actually sing.

Sal Nunziato said...

Okay, I've made a mix. Sequencing it now. 20 songs, and only 4 are bonafide hits, and of those 4, two are unique versions.

Shriner said...

Queen is/was one of those bands I never got beyond the hits for a long, long time. Loved the hits, but all I ever needed was the Greatest Hits album and "A Day At The Races".

But, a few years back, I gave the catalog a spin (like I did with ABBA) and realized how great the non-hit material is (for the most part). I still don't get the rabid enthusiasm over "Queen II", though.


Anonymous said...

May I say I totally recognized that Queen is really, really good but it's just not my kind of music.

Hope the movie is good as I love good R&R movies.

Captain Al

softshoebanana said...

I'm with all the way until the final 3. I've said it before and i'll say it again " Funny How Love Is" is one of Queens best songs.
First 5 albums are essential, the odd single after that but by 1976/77 imo they were spent as an album band.

Dr Wu said...

Excellent selections and great comments. I would include ‘Jazz’ in their stretch of classic albums - kitchen sink mentality similar to ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ for me. As much as I enjoy ‘The Game’, I rarely listen to it anymore. In retrospect, it seems to be the beginning of their more blatant pursuit to remain Pop and current. I saw Queen on their last American tour (‘Hot Space’) and was supremely disappointed; the arena in San Francisco was maybe half full and the band seemed to be letdown by the showing. Remember two things from that concert: (1) they were no longer the powerhouse they had been a few years earlier when I saw them in Los Angeles for the ‘News of the World’ tour and (2) the procession of cross dressers parading to the front of the stage before the show - Marilyn Monroe, Diana Ross, Nuns... Awesome! Lol!!!
I think if I were to introduce friends to Queen I would share the ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ and ‘A Day at the Races’ albums as I find them to be two of their most solid, consistent records with a couple classic, yet maybe lesser known hits - and both with superior Roger Taylor tunes.
And as for the second Queen album: Brilliant, spectacular, and totally influential! Especially Freddie’s ‘Black’ side.
Thanks Sal for continuing to carry the torch!