are an English rock band formed by Freddie Mercury, Brian May and
Roger Taylor in London, England around 1970 from the remains of
Smile, with John Deacon completing the lineup the following year.
Britain's most consistently successful band of the past three
decades, the band became popular during the mid-to-late 1970s and to
this day retains an extremely large international fan base.
formerly overlooked by critics, especially those in the United
States, Queen has more recently been acclaimed as pioneers of arena
rock, glam rock, hard rock, heavy metal, and progressive rock. In
the Music Of The Millenium poll conducted by Channel 4 in
1999, Queen was voted the second greatest band in music history.
have also been cited as a strong influence on many later artists and
in 2001 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
Cleveland, Ohio. In 2003 Queen became the first and only band to be
inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2004 the band was
inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, and in 2006 was the first
inductee in to the VH1 Rock Honors. Queen has also been inducted
into the Rock Walk of Fame (at
on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard), and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
had a total of eighteen #1 albums, seventeen #1 singles, and eight
#1 DVDs worldwide.
(born 1951) bass, rhythm guitar and synthesizer: Deacon was the
bass player with the group. He auditioned as bass player after the
band went through three other unsuitable bass players (Mike Grose,
Barry Mitchell, and Doug Bogie). The only member never to sing
vocals on a Queen album, he was the last member to join the band
in 1971. He wrote the fewest songs of any individual member, but
composed some of the band's biggest worldwide hits such as
"Another One Bites The Dust", "You're My Best Friend", and "I Want
To Break Free." Deacon retired and chose not to participate in the
[[Queen + Paul Rodgers]] tour.
CBE (born 1947) guitar, piano, synthesizer and vocals: May is the
lead guitarist of the group. While often providing harmonizing and
backing vocals, he occasionally played piano. May occasionally
sang lead vocals on a number of tracks such as "'39", "Sleeping On
The Sidewalk", "Good Company", and "Sail Away Sweet Sister" As a
boy, he and his father built the Red Special, a guitar he
continues to use to this day.
(1946–1991) vocals, piano, synthesizer and sometimes guitar: Among
the general public, Mercury is perhaps best known as the lead
vocalist and front man of the group, with such roles placing a
shadow over his skill as a pianist and songwriter. He wrote the
majority of the songs found on Queen's Greatest Hits. As a
singer, he had a distinctive voice and a tenor vocal range.
(born 1949) drums, percussion, synthesizer and vocals:
is the drummer of Queen. Like May, he provided backing vocals; in
the 70s, he sang lead vocals on songs such as "I'm In Love With My
Car", "Fight From The Inside", and "Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll."
In addition to drums,
would often take on guitar and bass duties on his own songs.
for most of their songs, Deacon played bass, May played guitar,
Mercury played piano, and Taylor played drums. But, like their
heroes The Beatles, Queen members explored different kinds of
instrumental functions throughout their careers.
played guitar in addition to bass, taking over rhythm parts in many
albums, as well as several acoustic performances. Much of the guitar
work on Hot Space is the work of Deacon. Reportedly he could
keep basic drum patterns and, even if he never mastered his keyboard
abilities, he would occasionally play synthesizers on his own
compositions and often composed at the piano, playing an electric
one on his top ten hit "You're My Best Friend". He can also be seen
playing the grand piano in the video to "Spread Your Wings",
although he didn't play it on the studio version. He played
double-bass on two occasions; reportedly Brian May had told him to
play it on "'39" as a joke, but some days later Deacon appeared at
the studio with the instrument and he had already figured out how to
played piano and ukulele in addition to guitar. He played rhythm
instruments less than the other Queen members, but occasionally he
did some bass or drum parts in his solo albums, and within the band
he composed some parts for those instruments, as in "Sweet Lady" or
"Teo Torriatte". Due to the uniqueness of his guitar, the Red
Special, which he built himself, May was often able to create
strange and unusual sound effects. For example, he was able to
imitate an orchestra in the song "Procession", the opening track of
Queen II; in "Get Down, Make Love", he was able to create
sound effects with his guitar that were so unusual that many thought
a synthesizer was being used. In "Good Company" he used his guitar
to mimic a trombone, a piccolo and several other instruments for the
song's Dixieland jazz band feel. He added some special instruments
here and there, but most of them were via studio tricks; for
instance, to nail the harp parts of "Love Of My Life", he played
each chord separately in a different take, then the producer merged
them to form the entire part. In addition to these instruments, he
played a toy koto in "The Prophet's Song".
was a pianist with the ability to cover many different styles. For
the most part, he played grand pianos, but throughout the years he
occasionally played electric piano and also upright jangle, as in
the song "Seaside Rendezvous" and the #2 hit "Killer Queen" . He was
an experienced synth player and programmer as well: the orchestral
interludes of "Was It All Worth It" were completely composed,
arranged and played by him on a Korg M1 keyboard, as well as the
string sections of "Bijou".
often self-deprecating about his guitar skills (when performing
live, he often introduced "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by
stating "This shitty guitar only knows three chords", such as in the
Live at Wembley '86 concert, or by saying "Ten years ago I
knew about three chords on the guitar. Now, in 1982, I know three
chords on the guitar.", as done in the Live at the Bowl
concert); however, he would write on guitar frequently, especially
in the early days. In fact, he wrote the riff from "Ogre Battle" and
the rock section in "Bohemian Rhapsody" on guitar. In an interview,
Brian May stated that "when Freddie used to pick up a guitar he'd
have a great frenetic energy. It was kind of like a very nervy
animal playing the guitar. He was a very impatient person and was
very impatient with his own technique. He didn't have a great
technical ability on the guitar but had it in his head. And you
could feel this stuff bursting to get out. His right hand would move
incredibly fast. He wrote a lot of good stuff for the guitar. A lot
of it was stuff which I would not have thought of, because it would
be in weird keys. He had this penchant for playing in E flat and A
flat and F."
if he could play bass or drums to any extent, but it's been
confirmed that he came up with very elaborate parts for them on
various songs; he composed the bass line of Taylor's "A Kind Of
Magic", and programmed many rhythm parts in his first solo album,
Mr. Bad Guy.
is the drummer for Queen, and possesses a sound which involves
several trademarks including an involuntary opening of the hi-hat on
every back beat for a rhythm emphasis. He has played a great deal of
percussion along with his standard drum kit, the most famous piece
being the timpani during the operatic section of "Bohemian
Rhapsody", also doing the timpani solos during live shows. In
addition to his drum work, he routinely played the guitars and bass
on his own songs, and, during the 1980s, he formed a parallel band
known as The Cross in which he was the singer and rhythm guitarist.
Taylor was supposedly not the best keyboardist, and thus many of his
piano-based musical ideas are considered uniquely different. He was
also quite good when it came to percussion synthesizers which he
used during live shows.
logo, known as the Queen Crest, was designed by Mercury. One of the
most recognizable symbols in rock and roll, the logo includes the
zodiac signs of all four members: two lions for Leo (Deacon and
Taylor), a crab for Cancer (May), and two fairies for Virgo
(Mercury). The lions are holding a large letter Q, with the crab on
top of it while on fire, and the fairies below on either side. The
whole logo is topped by a phoenix.
and Roger Taylor were playing in a semi-professional band called
Smile with Tim Staffell. Mercury was Staffell's roommate at Ealing
Arts College and followed Smile's music closely; Mercury was a
singer in other bands, such as Ibex in 1969 and Sour Milk Sea in
1970. Still, he was very eager to share his ideas so Smile could
develop. Staffell left Smile to join another band, Humpy Bong,
because he felt the style of music Smile played was a flash in the
pan. Smile split up but Mercury persuaded May and Taylor to
continue, changing the band's name from Smile to Queen in the
performances were truly ground-breaking, employing massive lighting
rigs, pyrotechnics, and other special effects to make their shows
into engaging theatrical events. Mercury immersed himself in the
crowd's adulation and thrived off their excitement, a trait for
which many, including Kurt Cobain (in his suicide note), have
conjunction with Electronic Arts, Queen released the computer game
Queen: The Eye in 1998, to commercial and critical failure. The
music itself - Queen tracks from its vast catalogue, in many cases
remixed into new instrumental versions - was by and large well
received, but the game experience was hampered by poor game play.
Adding to the problem was an extremely long development time,
resulting in graphic elements that already seemed outdated by the
time of release.
supervision of Brian May and Roger Taylor, numerous restoration
projects have been underway involving Queen's lengthy audio and
video catalogue. DVD releases of their famous 1986 Wembley concert
(titled Live At Wembley Stadium) and 1982 Milton Keynes
concert (Queen On Fire: Live At The Bowl), and two Greatest
Video Hits (Volumes 1 and 2, spanning the '70s and '80s) have seen
the band's music remixed into 5.1 and DTS Surround Sound. So far,
two of Queen's most acclaimed albums, A Night At The Opera
and The Game, have been fully remixed into DTS Surround on
DVD-Audio albums. Known for their densely layered arrangements and
backing, this medium seems tailor-made for Queen's music. Brian May
has said he would like to see the entire Queen catalogue reproduced
in this format, as it is closer to what the band envisaged for their
work years ago. A new 5.1 mix of A Night At The Opera,
including the first surround versions of The Prophet's Song
and God Save The Queen, was created in 2005 for the 30th
anniversary of the album's original release (CD+DVD set).
contributed music directly to the movies Flash Gordon and
Highlander (the original film directed by Russell Mulcahy).
other films have prominently featured their songs, including Iron
Eagle, National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon, Wayne's World,
Small Soldiers, Super Size Me, A Knight's Tale,
The Girl Next Door, Revenge of the Nerds, and Shaun
of the Dead. A cover of "Somebody to Love" by Anne Hathaway was
recorded for the 2004 film Ella Enchanted. In 2001, a version
of "The Show Must Go On" was performed by Jim Broadbent and Nicole
Kidman in the movie musical Moulin Rouge!. "Bohemian
Rhapsody" was re-released after appearing in Wayne's World,
and subsequently made number 2 on the US billboard chart.
the tradition (since Season 5) of naming each season's episodes
after songs from a famous '70s era rock band (Led Zeppelin for the
fifth season, The Who for the sixth and The
Rolling Stones for the
seventh), the eighth and final season of That '70s Show
consisted of episodes named after Queen songs. "Bohemian Rhapsody"
served as the season premiere.
In 2002, a
musical or "rock theatrical" based on the songs of Queen, entitled
We Will Rock You, opened at the Dominion Theatre on London's
West End. The musical was written by British comedian and author Ben
Elton in collaboration with Brian May and Roger Taylor. It has since
been staged in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain; Melbourne, Sydney,
Perth, and Brisbane, Australia; Cologne, Germany; Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia; and Las Vegas, Nevada. The original London production was
scheduled to close on
at the Dominion Theatre. Due to public demand, however, the show has
now been extended indefinitely. We Will Rock You has become the
longest running musical ever to run at this prime London theatre,
overtaking the previous record holder, the Grease musical.
of the musical coincided with Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee.
As part of the Jubilee celebrations Brian May performed a guitar
solo of God Save the Queen, as featured on Queen's A Night at the
Opera, from the roof of Buckingham Palace. The recording of this
performance was used as video for the same song on the 30th
Anniversary DVD edition of A Night at the Opera.
created "Queen at the Ballet", a tribute to Freddie Mercury, which
uses Queen's music as a soundtrack for the show’s dancers, interpret
the stories behind tracks such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga and
As of 2005,
according to The Guinness Book of World Records, Queen albums
had spent more time on the UK album charts than those of any other
The Beatles (1,293 Weeks)
Elvis Presley (1,280 Weeks)
U2 (1,150 Weeks)
Dire Straits (1,136 weeks)
Simon and Garfunkel (1,114 weeks)
Madonna (1,032 weeks)
David Bowie (1,005 weeks)
Elton John (989 weeks)
Michael Jackson (966 weeks)
2005, with the release of its live album with Paul Rodgers, Queen
moved into third place on the list of acts with the most aggregate
time spent on the British record charts; this does not make
allowances for the fact that the charts were a smaller list in the
Elvis Presley (2,074 weeks)
Cliff Richard (1,982)
The Beatles (1,749)
Elton John (1,626)
total sales figures estimates vary greatly. In 2001 it was stated
its sales topped 100 million records worldwide; however, according
to an official press release two years later, Queen has "accounted
for record sales in excess of 150 million across the world". The
following year, the figure of "over 190 million albums" was claimed
at its UK Music Hall of Fame induction. Several sites also claim a
worldwide figure of over 300 million records. According to the RIAA
Queen's total U.S. album sales are reported to be 35.5 million as
2004 (at today probably over 40 million.
2006, BBC Radio 2 Music Club and the Official UK Charts Company
celebrated the 50th anniversary of the UK Album Chart by running a
survey to find the 100 favourite No. 1 albums -- Queen's A Night at
the Opera ranked 9th.
on other musicians
remembered for its never-before-seen theatrics, showmanship, expert
musicianship (both live and in studio) camp and bombast so much that
critics have since classified the band as a major player in the
evolution of rock music. Queen is noted in particular for its
musical eclecticism and ground-breaking live shows.
recorded in many different genres, recording in genres as varied as
psychedelic rock (in songs like "The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke"
and "Jesus"), hard rock ("Hammer to Fall" and "I Want It All"), funk
and disco ("Another One Bites the Dust" and "Staying Power"),
country-flavored stomp ("Fat Bottomed Girls"), gospel-esque ballads
("Somebody to Love"), heavy metal ("Stone Cold Crazy" and "Brighton
Rock"), progressive rock, ("The March of the Black Queen" and The
Prophet's Song"), punk rock ("Sheer Heart Attack"), even ragtime
("Bring Back That Leroy Brown" and "Seaside Rendezvous") and pop
("You're My Best Friend").
its music, the collection of bands influenced by Queen is quite
diverse. Bands that cite Queen as an influence include, Judas
Priest, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Mötley Crüe, Steve Vai,
George Michael, Metallica, The Flaming Lips, The Melvins,
Roses, Dr. Dre, Chris Cornell, Blind Guardian, Nirvana, Ween, Trent
Reznor, Extreme, Dream Theater, Jeff Buckley, Green Day, Jellyfish,
The Smashing Pumpkins, Robbie Williams, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ben
Folds Five, Foo Fighters, Joan Osborne, Davey Havok, Social
Distortion, Muse, Keane, The Darkness, Franz Ferdinand, Katie Melua,Say Anything, Pharrell Williams, Nickelback, and Jetliner
also been cited as major influences on the "neo classical metal"
genre, by Swedish- American guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen.
Jackson was a friend of the band in the early 1980s and cited Hot
Space as the driving influence behind the making of his album
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