- "Fat Bottomed Girls" was big when I was college, oddly mainly among the sorority girls.
- They were pretty huge here. "We Are the Champions" came out when I was in high school. It was my sophomore class theme song ('79). Amazing the longevity and meaning that song has taken on, especially in the sports world.
FM is the best rock front man ever. His voice, his musical ability, and his theatricality and showmanship was head and shoulders above his contemporaries. I really don't know if people at the time thought of him as gay. His look was glam rock before he adopted the clone look. I recall years later in grad school another student, a gay guy my very same age, laughed when he said he didn't realize Mercury was gay. saying that even with the band's name, he couldn't figure it out. He grew up in rural Georgia, so that might have had an effect.
I think people figured it out by the time "I Want to Break Free" came out.
Check out their Live Aid performances on Youtube. They absolutely blew everyone else off the stage. Last summer after Deval Patrick brought down the house at the Democratic Convention, someone on TV commented (paraphrasing) "Whoever follows him (it was Martin O'Malley) at the podium is going to know what it was like to play after Queen at Live Aid." The performance was that good and that memorable.
- I remember Bohemian Rhapsody. It came out in 1975. There are whole websites debating whether or not Freddie Mercury knew he was going to die because of the lyrics.
- He's also Persian. !! He was married to a woman they were just friends . I just saw an article about her recently . OP "I want it all" os a another great Queen song . "Save me" can make me cry every time .
- One story I heard is that they lost a lot of American radio stations after their (great) drag video appeared for I Want to Break Free because Americans like their rockers manly where as the Brits appreciate a bit of camp (and of course got the Coronation Street send up).
- Probably true R6. I remember Prince getting booed off the stage when he opened for the Stone in LA. When Prince came out in half-drag, they pelted him with bottles until he left the stage. But he came back and sang "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad."
- They were banned by MTV for years when "I Want to Break Free" came out. I don't know if stations banned them on the basis of the video.
I don't think it was the drag sequence that was offensive as much as the following dream sequence. The it was the perception that the song promoted a "hedonistic" lifestyle where anything goes. There's a shot of sexually ambiguous performers feasting on a pile and grapes and, seemingly, each other. (2:12 at linked video)
- Queen was huge in Chicago in the late 70's/early 80's. And we didn't think he was gay at all.
- @ R3. I just watched the Live Aid performance. WOW!
- [quote]They were banned by MTV for years when "I Want to Break Free" came out.
Oops. Want to correct myself here. The song was banned. Queen wasn't.
- Elton John and then Boy George were teased for being gay. Still they were so talented, as well as over the top, that fans rationalized that "it was just the way of the very creative music industry." I'll put the fab Freddie Mercury in the same category. He was always "out there" and so original.
- When I first heard Killer Queen (I was like, 12) I knew he was gay.
I saw the Night At The Opera tour (I was 13), he was flamboyant, but not particularly gay on stage. He was an amazing performer.
It was around 1980 when he started sporting that Christopher Street-clone mustache that cinched it. I was in High School then.
- [quote]He's also Persian.
His parents was Parsi, an ethnic group in India that originated in Persia.
[quote]He was married to a woman they were just friends.
He never married Mary Austin, though he considered her his "one true friend." He did leave his house to her in his will.
- I love Queen and miss Freddie and the band very, very much. To me, the ultimate Queen performance is Live at Wembley Stadium, both audio and video.
If I remember correctly, I think "Another One Bites the Dust" was a big crossover hit with urban, particularly black urban, audiences. I was in a DC teenager at the time and remember that particular song getting a tremendous amount of airplay on the urban radio stations.
- [quote]I was in a DC teenager at the time
I hope you were also a teenager at the time, pervie.
- He was ok, but for the love of God why didn't someone who cared help him get his teeth fixed. he could have been halfway attractive, but not with those Megan Draper bucks shreeking out of his face.
- [quote]" I was in a DC teenager at the time..."[/quote]
Corretion - I WAS a DC teenager at the time...(my goodness, what a typo)
- Queen were huge in the states, for well over a decade. "killer queen" got radio play of course, but "bohemian rhapsody" and "you're my best friend" cemented their star status. then came the mammoth "we will rock you/we are the champions" single, and they were SUPERSTARS. i remember their albums coming out as events. "the game" was an enormous hit, and "another one bites the dust" was indeed played on the r&b stations, a huge crossover. that album was one of those albums that i remember EVERYBODY had a copy of. then "under pressure" came out with that first greatest hits. big hit. "hot space," while a personal favorite, was not well-received (although was a big influence on michael jackson while he was recording "thriller")- but then the "radio gaga" album came out and they had hits again. i remember them on vh1 but not the radio post-1987 or so, but you still heard their music at parties and blaring from car speakers on saturday nights. wow, this was a long post.
and yes, he had one of the best voices in the business.
- [quote]why didn't someone who cared help him get his teeth fixed
He know. But was afraid it surgery and changing the bone structure of his mouth would damage or change his voice.
- Queen was HUGE in the US in the late 70s/early 80s. They were one of the most famous bands of their era. By the mid-80s top 40 radio stopped playing their new music, for whatever reasons.
- and OP, i salute you for looking up info on "oldies" acts. i didn't think younger people did that much, judging by how little my 20-something co-workers know about music pre-1990. i'm not being condescending here, btw. i remember being a kid hunting for david bowie records after hearing "ashes to ashes" in 1981, and what a WONDERFUL journey turned out to be. there is so much good music out there. get into queen!
- [quote]He did leave his house to her in his will.
From what I understand, he left her pretty much everything.
R17, I've read that Freddie was self conscious about his teeth but worried that fixing them would somehow adversely affect his voice & vocal projection.
- [quote]I was in a DC teenager at the time
Are there any teenagers in DC worth being in?
- OP, everyone I knew was aware Freddie Mercury was gay but I don't recall it was a big deal at the time.
As for his teeth, he might have been more attractive if he had surgery to remove the extra teeth and straighten the remaining ones. His voice might have sounded entirely different so I'm glad he left it alone. A voice like Mercury's trumps straight teeth.
It was before Chiclets for teeth became a fad, so it wasn't as big a deal as it would be now.
- r6 it's true that video basically ended them in the US on radio/mtv. US radio is very conservative and they didn't gey the joke of it and thought it went too far, Even though it wasn't Freddie coming out they treated it as such and they went on to have a dozen more hits around the world except for the US and they never played here again because of it. They are big here but much bigger everywhere else.
The thing that put them back on the map in the US was actually Wayne's World when they sing BR in the car.
The US radio has yet to embrace any out gay male singer after they come out even to this day. Elton, George M, Bowie until he stopped being bi, Mika, Rufus, Scissor Sisters he list goes on.
If you want all the answers this is a GREAT documentary. I recommend anyone interesting in Freddie or the band watch, It's got interviews with all the players. It's long but worth it.
- I was young but distinctly remember "AOBTDust" as being massive. It was on the radio every five minutes forever.
Freddy and Michael Jackson were friends. They recorded together but the duets haven't been officially released. Michael was jealous of the bassline in "Dust" and told Freddie he wanted a killer baseline of his own...which he got when he wrote "Billie Jean."
- Queen was pretty big here in the U.S. Freddy Mercury has a lot of talent with powerful vocals over a four octave range. He displayed a highly theatrical style that often evoked a great deal of participation from the crowd. Although he had a flamboyant stage personality, Mercury was shy when not performing, particularly around people he did not know well and granted very few interviews. As far as sexual orientation, Mercury was an acknowledged bisexual. His last long-term relationship started in 1985 with a hairdresser named Jim Hutton. Unfortunately, in 1991 Mercury died of bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS, only one day after publicly acknowledging that he had AIDS. His boyfriend Hutton, who was tested HIV-positive in 1990, lived with Mercury for the last six years of his life, nursed him during his illness, and was present at his bedside when he died. Hutton claimed that Mercury died wearing a wedding band that Hutton had given him.
- Did he come out as bisexual?
- "Another One Bites The Dust" was a standard at straight weddings. "We Are The Champions" always played at Los Angeles Dodger games and other sporting events. Like The Village People, I don't think fans really cared that much about their sexuality; just loved the music. LOL at some of their lyrics, and the real meanings behind some of these songs, considering where they were heard.
- Queen cover bands play regularly in Vegas, and are still very popular.
- Even more staggering is that the group only made one appearance on US television and still managed to sell like crazy.
- Just watched the live aid peformance.
Holy crap. Clearly, Freddie favored boxers over briefs!
That was a "shlongtastic" performance! (I had no idea!)
- Why has no one done a Bio Pic about his life? It could be a tour d'force performance for some lucky actor!
Sasha Baron Cohen?
- Yeah, R35, I would rush to a theater to see that.
- There's a myth that's developed and needs to be corrected. Queen were never EVER huge during Freddy's lifetime in the media. Yes they could pack the stadiums but, apart from the initial reception of Bohemian Rhapsody, they were always ALWAYS outliers. They were considered by mainstream media to be too camp and not to have the rock cred of the Stones, Black Sabbath, Kiss, etc who far eclipsed them in media coverage. It's only since his death that their lasting greatness has slowly come to the fore.
- where were his extra teeth? did he have an extra row?
- Melody will always win out over screaming and shouting. Or rap. Which is why most rap will soon be forgotten.
- As well it should [R37] And is now, very much, well deserved "greatness"!
(It took me 20 years to discover Queen!)
- [quote]They were considered by mainstream media to be too camp and not to have the rock cred of the Stones, Black Sabbath, Kiss, etc
KISS was always lampooned by the critics as a joke band.
- Their R&B-influenced "Hot Space" took the steam out of the juggernaut after the monster hit "The Game." It was rejected by much of their rock fanbase and didn't draw the R&B audience that propelled AOBTD to the top of the charts. They recovered a bit with "The Works" but didn't fully recover their popularity until "Bohemian Rhapsody" was used in "Wayne's World."
- Bisexual? Really?
That sounds like a hedge.
- R14, "Parsi" means Persian...Freddy called himself Th Persian popinjay
- [quote]There's a myth that's developed and needs to be corrected. Queen were never EVER huge during Freddy's lifetime in the media.
- Maybe it was a hedge, but he did claim to be bisexual.
I assumed "You're My Best Friend" was written about Mary, but apparently bassist John Deacon wrote it about his wife.
- Funny thing is I didn't even know he was family till I read his wiki page :/
- I seriously doubt he was in the mafia, r47.
- I was in 7th grade when those two songs came out OP. They were HUGE hits in the US. Everyone I knew knew every word to those songs.
- I love R3's note that 'Queen at Live Aid' is now the benchmark for 'impossible to follow.' For what it's worth, I recall there was some survey that acknowledged that set as the greatest in rock history.
Another layer is that Queen were in bad odour with the hip, thinking press: during and after punk and new wave they'd looked irrelevant, a state worsened by their playing South Africa. All was forgiven after the genius of Live Aid. On top of everything else, it was one of the greatest ever comebacks.
Queen's Greatest Hits rightly remains one of the top selling compilations ever. It renders the dreadful juke-box musical that exploits it easily forgettable.
Oh, and I did read a while ago that S Baron Cohen was in talks to play Mercury. Can't think of better casting.
- Cohen as Mercury!
Dude. I'm fuckin' psychic!
Now, I gotta go pick my lotto numbers.
- Sasha Baron Cohen as Freddie Mercury is just more of the same. Hetero in the role of a gay man. Gay actors are not getting leading hetero roles or even leading gay roles. It's about the perpetuation of a system where heterosexuals are more valued and can do whatever role they chose. Another thing is gay people do not value the oppression/ discrimination gay people face in their effort to appeal to heterosexuals. That's why time after time heteros, the group that has oppressed gay people, can get gay roles yet there is no discussion of the irony instead it's about how brave heteros are.
- Always makes me cry...
- R52, who would be your perfect casting for a Mercury biopic?
- [quote]KISS was always lampooned by the critics as a joke band.
Lambaste KISS all you want, but they upped the ante on stage shows.
I saw Queen 1975, and the stage EXPLODED (pyro, etc) at the heavy break at the end of Bohemian Rhapsody. It was spectacular.
But, having seen KISS just months before - it was very clear who influenced who.
- I can appreciate Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions and Another One Bites the Dust for being great songs from a technical/vocal perspective, but honestly if I never heard any of them again for the rest of my life it would be just fine. After the millionth time of hearing each of those three songs, it's just like 'ok, enough already.'
- The OP says he is 28 as though that excuses him from knowing nothing about Queen, one of the best groups ever - just like all the other guys in their 20s I know and worked with who know nothing about anything from before their time and are not bothered about it.
My Queen story is I was introduced to Freddie at London gay superclub Heaven back in 1985 - maybe the year the OP was born - and I did not even know who he was, being bombed on acid at the time. So I just said "hi Freddie" and carried on dancing with my best pal.
We had become friends with Jim Hutton, a hot guy on the scene, whom we saw around the clubs we used to go to, and as I was Irish too Jim and I were pally and he often stayed over and slept in my bed with me - quite innocently, we were not interested in each other that way - as he often stayed out too late and fell asleep on the night bus home. Next thing we heard was that he had taken up with Freddie and we saw no more of him, until that night at Heaven when he rushed up to introduce this guy to us, who looked just like another clone.
That summer I too met my main relationship and left London for 10 years to live on the coast in Brighton with a disk jockey 14 years younger than me. He died in 1996, Jim died too since. At least Queen left a good legacy of music and videos, but like The Doors without Jim Morrison they had no main frontman to continue. Freddie though covered up his being gay and having Aids until the day before he died ...
- Yes r53, that video and that line always get me too, it was so obviously Freddie's sign-off ....
- I remember Queen II being extremely popular back in the 70s among the "stoner/freak" crowd in high school. I was 16 or 17 in 1977, which was long after it was released, but still, I remember getting really high and listening to Side Black through my headphones (at the suggestion of friends) and thinking that these guys were GODS of rock poetry. We all suspected Freddie was gay at the time, but then again, when your band is named Queen...
To this day, I can recite many lyrics to any song on that album, Sheer Heart Attack, A Day At The Races and A Night At The Opera by heart, even though I haven't listened to them in 20 years...
- [quote]Freddie though covered up his being gay and having Aids until the day before he died...
I recall the months before that tragic day. Queen accepted some award (Brits?) and Freddie was blue-shirted, slimmer, and un-prominent. Then there was the video for a late single that used animation and old Fred footage to blend with the song. He was though himself, heartbreakingly brave and frail, in 'Days Of Our Lives.' So, there were enough unwelcome signs around amid the silence about his health.
The brutal tabloids were I think by their standards restrained. This was at a time when they felt untouchable in their ugly power. They would occasionally print a picture of Freddie, underweight, 'visiting his doctor', and pretty much leave it at that.
- [r57] You're being a little too hard on guys in their 20's. You have to remember the internet didn't exist 12 to 15 years ago. Before the internet, who was going to shell out the bucks for a CD for a group you dont' know anything about? You couldn't screen a cd. I bought a lot of shit music back then!
Thanks to the internet I've been able to discover all this great music, I would have otherwise never discovered. FOR FREE! Access has made it possible. Those 20-somethings will get there.
- [quote] the internet didn't exist 12 to 15 years ago
- R57, what were your impressions of Freddie? Did he seem nice, charismatic or just ordinary?
R29, Freddie was not bi. He had a few girlfriends when he was younger (including Mary Austin), but for most of his adult life he was only into men.
- [quote]Lambaste KISS all you want, but they upped the ante on stage shows.
R55, I enjoy quite a few KISS songs myself, but the point I was making was that R37 implied that KISS enjoyed more credibility and respect respect than Queen back in the day, and that's just not the case.
- Thanks for sharing your story r57
- Was the song Killer Queen about a man or a woman?
- [quote]So my question is: How big was "Queen" here in the states and was it well-known that Mercury was gay?
Never underestimate the American public's ability to ignore the obvious.
- Freddie said Killer Queen was about high class call girl but one guy from band's record company in the early years (can't remember his name right now) said the song was about him.
- Freddie's voice could give you goosebumps.
'Why is this world so full of hate
People dying everywhere
And we destroy what we create
People fighting for their human rights
But we just go on saying c'est la vie...'
- R25, maybe not if you prefer the hayseed and toothless.
- Don't know if it's been mentioned, but the Jazz album is great all the way through. My favorite.
- R61, I knew a lot about bands and musicians from preceding eras back when there were only 4 TV stations and not many more radio stations. Reading helps.
- I think Queen is bigger now than when Freddie was alive. So many of their songs have become iconic.
- Freddy was British. He already had the best set of teeth in the country.
- I'm not American but I am long time Queen fan so I'll share what I know about their success in US.
They were on the height of their popularity in US in the late 70s, early 80s, when The Game was released. Another one bites the dust from that album was number 1 in America.
In the 70s they were very rock, but they are a band that was always changing styles and trying new sounds. The Game was also a change but it was well received and had wide audiences. After its success they tried to go in similar direction, but Hot Space was not well received and some critics say that American audience didn't like all the changes in the band's sound. In the 80s they were more pop than rock so that's one of the reasons they lost popularity in US.
They also decided to not tour America after 1982 and Jim Beach (manager) said that Freddie didn't want to tour America until they have a successful Album there. The successful album never came (partially because they stop touring US) so America forgot about them.
The band blamed their failure in America on MTV banning I Want To Break Free and Americans not accepting Freddie's clone look.
Brian and Roger also claim the responsibility is with Paul Prenter who was Freddie's lover and assistant responsible for American PR. According to them he was rude and dismissive to journalist and that harmed them. Prenter really was a prick. He sold his story about Freddie to British tabloids.
So those are some of the reasons why they weren't successful in America after early 80s. It was probably combination of all those things plus probably something else.
Also: it's Freddie, not Freddy. He was gay, not bi. Yes, he was with Mary and had a couple of girlfriends but he was gay.
If I remember anything else I'll share.
- r76, not to disagree with you, but I thought he identified himself as bi?
- (R17) Freddie Mercury quote - "I don't like the way my teeth protrude. I'm going to have them done, but I just haven't had the time. Apart from that... I'm perfect."
There was another quote where he said he could lead a "bucktooth liberation".
- r77 he never spoke about his sexual orientation publicly but in all the (serious) books I read it was always said he was gay. He had a relationship with Mary Austin in the early 70s and during that time realized he was gay. She was very supportive and they remained close until his death. In fact, he always said she is his closest friend and the only person he can trust.
He also had a strange relationship with Barbara Valentin (German actress) in the 80s, but according to Freddie's friend and personal assistant Peter (Phoebie) Freestone that relationship was never sexual.
Of course, I can't claim Freddie's sexuality was this or that because he was the only one who really knew. But after all these years and all the interviews and books it was pretty clear to me he was gay.
- From an interview with Mary:
[quote]As Freddie became an international celebrity, Mary often thought that she might one day lose him to another woman - but never to a male lover. That all changed one day when Freddie told her he had something important to say, something that would change their whole relationship for ever. 'He said, "I think I'm bisexual." I told him, "I think you're gay." And nothing else was said. We just hugged.'
[quote]'I thought, "He's been very brave." Being a bit naive it had taken me a while to realise the truth. Afterwards he felt good about having told me. He said. "I realised I had a choice. The choice was not to tell you, but I think you are entitled to your own life." And I thought, "Yes, as much as you are entitled to yours."
- I lived between the US and UK during the 80s, and the difference is that Queen was big in the US, eventually going into decline. But in the UK, they were, and are, the biggest rock band of all time, bigger than Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, even Led Zeppelin. So it was more or less the difference between one of several in the US and alone at the top in the UK and Commonwealth countries.
- I saw in a documentary where Brian said he asked out Mary first and had a big crush then Freddie swooped in.
Another interesting part was about when they started veering away from rock and that it was was greatly influenced by freddie going to gay cubs and wanting that sound. Brian and Roger were not happy about it. Eventually Freddie put out a solo more dance album and it flopped as did Brian and Roger's solo efforts. It seems their magic was found in the chemistry of the whole band and the Live Aid concert got them back together for their comeback. They all wrote and had hits but not on their own.
- I agree r82.
And here is Freddie with Mary Austin and Barbara Valentin.
- [quote]just like all the other guys in their 20s I know and worked with who know nothing about anything from before their time and are not bothered about it.
Ain't that the truth. Just the other day a hot 29 year old that I work with gave me the deer-in-the-headlights look at the mention of Peter Frampton.
"Who?" he asked.
I was appalled ... and speechless.
- R83, that photo is heartbreaking.
- r84, in all fairness, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Area rock was the death of the industry.
- Barbara Valentin comes across as Freddie's faghag more than anything else. Look at them magumbos.
- R86 - It has nothing to do with whether he should like Peter Frampton or not, or Arena Rock in general (hate to say it, but Queen was Arena Rock, too). But, as R57 pointed out, there is an arrogance in not knowing things outside of one's own immediate time and bubble.
- Well, everyone knows who Glenn Miller was but it takes a bit of effort (or interest) to learn about Woody Herman.
Peter Frampton? He's no Woody Herman.
- This thread brings back so many memories. I remember the day he died. It was one more death on top of so many, but for me it was the straw that broke the camel's back.
I remember being on my knees sobbing. It felt like all the grief of the gay world, all the losses of so many young, talented, beautiful men were contained in my tears that day.
- Peter Frampton was a one-hit wonder nearly 40 years ago. Why would a 20-something know who the fuck he was?
- Hugs, R90.
- Frampton put out one of the top-selling live albums of all time. I believe it is still no. 4 in the US list
- R91 is obviously a self-absorbed 20-something.
Frampton's popularity might have been short lived and his fall might have been hard, but he was hardly a one-hit wonder.
- Thanks, R92. Sniff.
- Queen was big and probably most people suspected he was gay. Most people simply didn't talk about it.
- From what I hear from my straight, hard rock friends it was only when they saw the 'I Want To Break Free' video that the penny finally dropped - and for many uptight americans his gayness was a dealbreaker.
Before that everyone thought he was just a larger-than-life rock star. Another outrageous performer, like Mick Jagger.
Or The Village People.
- Any thread that begins "I was at the gym today and ..." means its a typical gym bunny OP who will soon reveal how clueless he is.
Its rather like seeing those stupid folk on tv quiz shows thinking they will win big money but are so stupid and not even bothered about their stupidity being shown, as they dont care that they don't know anything.
- [quote]From what I hear from my straight, hard rock friends it was only when they saw the 'I Want To Break Free' video that the penny finally dropped - and for many uptight americans his gayness was a dealbreaker.
Ironically, from what Freddie had recounted about the video, he was the last person who wanted to dress in drag. The other three members "ran into their frocks," as he was quoted as saying. The video is a parody of "Coronation Street," a British soap, conceived by Roger or his girlfriend at the time.
- And Roger was a very pretty girl.
- Actually he was a pretty girl even without makeup.
- Gene says that coming out, as a hard rocker, is just bad business.
- You can't hide the hook!
- r27, I watched the documentary on Queen that you provided the link for...and I want to thank you for that link. I'd never seen so much of that footage, having grown up in the U.S., and it gave me a sense of closure I haven't felt from his death until now. It was magnificent!
- r91, are you that ignorant? Peter Frampton was first in Humble Pie. Listen to "Performance Rockin' the Fillmore" and get back to us.
- Bumping this thread to see if anyone knows about the Freddie Mercury Biopic? Is it on hold? Any updates?
- For R107, Ben Whishaw is front runner.
- Queen was huge in the 70's and 80's. Power pop, and what is weird about the band is that they do not matter in the long run. What I mean is that Queen is not The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or The Clash, and Freddie Mercury is not Dylan, Bowie, or Bono. The truly amazing thing about them is that they endure because of their irrelevance, much like the disco of the 70's and the metal of the 80's.
And yes, Queen's performance at Live Aid is astonishing.
- I remember wearing my Queen "News of the World" concert T-shirt to school in 7th Grade and being harassed and taunted by the rednecks and also the black boys in school for wearing it. They kept saying shit like, "You fucking faggot. That band is a bunch of queers. I guess you're queer like them, huh?" Regardless, I proudly wore that shirt at least once every 10 days, just to piss 'em off.
- I didn't think he was gay because I was so fucking in love with him when I was a teen. Roger too. As I got older and it became more apparent (starting with his new look when The Game came out, and man did I hate Another One Bites the Dust) it made sense and wasn't a big deal. Still loved him and cried my eyes out when he died.
Love how you never EVER read anything negative about Freddie Mercury.
- This is funny. In the fall of 1980, I had two album covers on my bedroom wall. One was Queen's "The Game" and the other was Judas Priest's "Unleashed In The East (Live In Japan)." I guess as a 15 year old boy I had pretty damn good gaydar. LOL.
- I loved growing up in the '70s. So many great musical acts: Led Zeppelin, Queen, Rush, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Pink Floyd, Heart, Styx, Boston, Kansas, E.L.O., Kiss, Judas Priest, Ramones, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Uriah Heep, Grand Funk, and so many more. Needless to say, I was not the stereotypical gay boy into disco and cocktail lounge singers.
- I disagree R109. I think they matter tremendously. You sound like a typical uniformed idiot and the only knowledge about the band you have is hearing snippets of "We will Rock you" at some event.
Queen II was INCREDIBLE and influenced many bands after that. Have you even heard of "Night at the Opera" or "Sheer Heart Attack"?
Freddie Mercury is one of the most influential musicians and artists of the last 100 year.
- Never underestimate "Bohemiam Rhapsody" and it's video. It was the future...
- Yeah, I agree r114. r109 does sound like he only listened to Greatest Hits.
Queen II is my favorite too. They lost their direction in the 80s but Innuendo was a fitting end. I look at Made In Heaven differently. It was finished after Freddie died so I consider Innuendo the real last album.
BTW they are (Brian and Roger) finishing a couple of old tracks with Freddie's voice + those Michael Jackson songs.
- I'm glad they dumped SBC from the movie. He's unproven as an actual actor, and Freddie makes for a challenging role. SBC just does caricature and stereotypes (including gay stereotypes).
Ben Whishaw is a great actor. I hope it turns out well for the sake of Ben's career and the sake of the movie. There will be some people who will complain that Ben isn't some sort of person of colour, but I'm glad to see a gay major lead role going to an out gay actor. Freddie was such a unique combination of things that it's about impossible to get a perfect fit anyway. He was a gay man born in colonial Africa Zanzibar to Indian born persian descent parents and raised in an Indian boarding school before fleeing revolution to London. Plus he had an amazing distinctive singing voice, soulful delivery and peerless stage charisma. That's such a peculiar intersection of elements and influences, and such a lot of groups who are under represented in the media. You're not going to find candidates for casting who tick more than a fraction of all those boxes.
- He wasn't gay. He was bisexual.
- Stop it, lady. Just stop it. Freddie Mercury was a gay homosexual. End of story.
- He wasn't, though.
- [quote] In fact, he always said she is his closest friend and the only person he can trust.
I think part of Mary's special status came from the fact that he could be certain their relationship wasn't founded on his money or fame. She not only loved him before he had money, she actually was the one with decent job who paid most of the bills for both of them they started out as a couple. He was such a generous person that once he became rich and famous he could attract users and became less confident about his post-success relationships with people. I would say he was definitely genuinely widely adored by people who knew him and especially by the people he gathered close, but I can see why he would have uncertainty especially after experiencing some betrayals.
She'd also always believed in his talent and had been unexpectedly supportive of his sexuality.
She's stayed discreet after his death too, and she's still safe guarding the secret he entrusted her with of his body's final resting place.
- So there is also going to be a movie biography of Elton John? That seems like a bit of a weird coincidence, two british (or kind of british, Freddie had british citizenship and had his career in britain) music mega star gay icons who started around the same era getting first time movie bios now.
Since Elton is executive producer on his bio pic, I guess he had a hand in choosing vastly more attractive than him Tom Hardy for the role of Elton.
- I grew up in Portugal and later moved to France and QUEEN were huge. I remember when Freddie Mercury died. I remember that beautiful man on the front page of every newspaper. That's when I really became aware of AIDS - I was 13, 14 at the time and Portugal was still a pretty conservative country (it's changed now, and proved much more open than others).
Bohemian Rhapsody was, and still is, legendary. Lots of other songs. Kind of Magic. Want to break free of course. His version of Great Pretender played a lot on the radio and people loved to sing it.
No matter how homophobic society was when I was growing up in Portugal, Queen were massive and there was no discussion.
They're still huge even today, and I've yet to come accross someone who isn't a fan one way or another.
Another one bites the dust was a regular feature in dance clubs (I was not even 20 then) back in 1998.
- [quote] He know. But was afraid it surgery
- He was afraid of dental surgery, r124, although he knew his teeth looked odd and he was selfconscious about them. He wasn't willing to take the risk of changing his voice through having surgery to remove the extra teeth and reduce his overbite. He never had his throat nodules operated on for the same reason.
- OP didn't spend his youth in the USA. What gave it away: "the states."
- Americans don't use that phrase? I hadn't recognized that, but now that I think about I guess they seem to stick to "America" or "the US".
- Was he a Parsi? (a descendent of Zoroasters who fled from Iran to India avoid religious persecution)
- I've heard Americans use "the States", maybe because being out of the country you more often hear people talk about where they come from. I hadn't noticed it as an odd usage, but the linked site explains it better. According to the linked article it IS a more common usage among Americans.
- People who travel abroad a lot tend to say they are from "the states" when speaking of where their home is. Many people in the military refer to the U.S. as "the states" too. .. People who've been nowhere tend to call it America. Or "Murka"..
- [quote] Was he a Parsi?
Yes, he was parsi.
- Mercury is cited by a lot of female artists (oddly) as an influence. Lady gaga took her name from Radio Gaga. Katy Perry loves him too.
- Queen was big in the 70s and early 80s, and had a brief revival with BR being in Wayne's World.
- [quote] Mercury is cited by a lot of female artists (oddly) as an influence.
He's been cited as an aspirational figure artistically by a wide variety of male pop and rock stars. Everyone from Robbie Williams (who nicked Freddie's style of microphone) to Harry Connick Jr. With guys the comparison is more direct than it is with women, though, so I think they tend to find it ultimately more frustrating. Dave Grohl said despite his early optimism he eventually had to come to terms with the painful fact he would just never be able to sing at all like Freddie.
Kurt Cobain's suicide note said he envied the energy and joy Freddie took from performing for crowds which Kurt was unable to find in himself.
- People in the UK say America, not "the states." They hate America and Americans. Just watch Top Gear for 12 seconds and you'll get the gist of America-hate.
Lots of people who go to the US and kiss American ass get back home and diss America on UK TV, knowing that Americans won't see them.
- Americans stereotype and ridicule other nations and cultures all the time, r135.
Americans do so much chest pounding about American exceptionalism in the world media that of course people in other countries are going do some scoffing. That's what comes from being a top world power with a big loud ego. Some day China or some other nation will be a much bigger power than the US and Americans can join the rest of us in rolling our eyes at them.
And American celebrities suck up to foreign people on the publicity train too. International markets are being relied on more than ever before for Hollywood profits.
- My favourite song is Innuendo. A masterpiece!!!
- On this day in 1991 Freddie died.
Also Brian tweeted this today: "Amazingly memorable Queen meeting with (our Producer) Graham King today on Freddie Film. We are ON ! Expect announcement next week ! Bri"
- Ben Whishaw's audition for the producers must have went well then. There was an article a few days ago about it. It says the rumour is that they are looking at Dexter Fletcher as a director, which is interesting. Long time british actor who has just started getting into movie directing. That's a completely different direction that the big time Hollywood directors Sacha Baron Cohen was reportedly trying to bag when he thought the movie was going be a vehicle for him.
- Thank God there is a lot of high quality video of Queen performances. I have an old VHS tape of them and can't watch it without crying. What a loss, Freddy owned that stage.
- I have a difficult time watching the last music videos where he is so gaunt and they had to cover him in make up or go black and white to make his skin tone look more normal. It was really brave of him to do those and a testament to his gritty commitment and professionalism, but it's hard to see him like that.
It sounds like the movie is going to end in the Live Aid period. I can see how that would set up a big triumphant, exciting finish. I don't know how the hell they could re-enact Live Aid (Maybe use footage of the real crowds and film doctor in the actors playing Queen? I wonder if they'll cast actors to play others acts from the event and bob geldof?), but a big thrilling pay off like that would be very much in the spirit of Queen and ending there would respect Freddie's feeling during his sickness that he didn't want to be an object of public pity.
- I've read on some other threads that Brian May could be holding up the project because he is VERY particular which might be pissing some people off. I think Brian has a right to be particular. After all, I think he's done a great job in preserving Freddie's memory and the image of the band.
Brian involves Freddie's family and has had Freddie's mother at many events and concerts.
- Brian is a control freak. That has been clear whenever some new Queen product is about to come out. He even said that himself on many occasions, although the word he used was perfectionist. He admitted that other band members were often annoyed with him for that reason. I guess there is even more at stake with this film. There are many people involved and he's not the one making all the decisions. And the film is about his life too, so he wants to be careful.
- Queen were a band of perfectionists. Freddie loosened up some over the years, while Brian if anything became more extreme. The members balanced each other, though, so it was for the best really. Freddie would have short periods of intense focused creativity then get bored and want to wander off while Brian stayed behind for hours working on details.
The band as a whole were also very self protective of the unit, assertive and possessive of their product. They own their own music, unlike a lot of less savvy acts in the business. The entire band insisted on attending marketing meetings where they would instruct the other attendees on what the album art would be and how it would be marketed. They started Queen Films for self-production of their own videos to avoid losing profits, power and control there, and they came up with their own videos concepts that directors were expected to just stick to realizing.
- And Brian is all that to the nth degree.
Anyway, I always thought that a film about Freddie (or Queen) would be a bad idea. I'm not sure how I feel about all this now. I just want to see 70s concerts released and that "new" album they've been talking about.
- Brian has said that they need it to be all right because they will only likely get one crack at having a film. Also, the band's control is front loaded - they have script approval, director approval, etc but once the movie is in process it won't be in their hands anymore so it would be important from their standpoint to have the right things in place at the start to bring about the movie they hope for. They have about 300 million in album sales and Freddie is remembered as a legend, so they don't have too much to gain from a movie and something to risk in terms of potential damage to their dead friend's legacy.
The delays look legimate to me, though, not like time wasting. Originally Queen weren't particularly interested in making a movie from the sounds of it. Michael Cunningham wrote a Freddie Mercury script in 2007 that Queen deservedly rejected - it was bad and also really innaccurate. Sacha Baron Cohen was really eager for a Freddie film as a vehicle for himself and kept trying to convince Queen and then worked at bringing prestige movie makers for the project. Eventually it was decided the SBC/Queen pairing wouldn't work, which meant deciding if there should still be a film, formulating new plans and casting a really difficult to cast central role.
Brian said there will be an announcement any day now about the film since everything is finally in place.
- [quote] Anyway, I always thought that a film about Freddie (or Queen) would be a bad idea.
I'm not sure about it either. Partly I would feel better if Freddie himself were able to provide input and join in the arguments about how the film should be - Queen was a sum of all its parts.
There are a lot of dramatic and fun stories from the band's history, though, and the members had strong personalities that were all different from each other and weird for an enormous rock band. If they do a half way decent job of realizing the real life characters I think they could have a decent film simply by re-enacting various moments like this one:
- Maybe Roger should write autobiography. Imagine all the crazy stories. But not Brian. He would go on and on about badgers and stars and stereo photography.
- True, Brian likes telling touching tales and talking about his nerdy hobbies and animal rights.
Roger likes to joke and have fun more. He and Freddie were the party boys of the group.
- I live in the Midwest and very few people around here knew he was gay.
- It's been confirmed that tortured waif extraordinaire Ben Whishaw will be playing Freddie.
I adore queen and Ben Whishaw can be nice to look at but only when he's pretending to suffer in some way. Really can't see him pulling off someone as 'strong' as Freddie. Between him and SBC I'd've gone for the latter. Really worried that they're going to turn this into some sort of sob story.
- We can rely on Ben being a likeable Freddie. Sacha doing another gay minstrel act reflecting Sacha's mean spirited humour probably wouldn't be likeable, which would be wrong for the part (Freddie was widely liked despite how difficult and eccentric he could be), not what people want (Freddie is really loved, and people who love him don't want to see him being portrayed as some asshole), and not great for the gay community.
Ben's Richard II won people over to the character despite his flaws, and viewers liked his ambitious, slutty, tricky gay Cloud Atlas character who could have been a lot less appealing in another performer's hands.
- I don't think that bit matters too much. Like you said, Freddie was widely liked and I doubt that even SBC could change that.
Both of those characters were tortured waifs and I wouldn't call either if them likeable. Richard was sympathetic but I thought the cloud atlas guy was a bit of a twat . His strongest character, another Freddie, in the hour was hugely irritating.
- [quote] R91] is obviously a self-absorbed 20-something.
I'm not R91, but I am 58 years old and a rock music lover and even when he was popular I thought Peter Frampton was a lightweight who mostly appealed to girls and D student males.
- People tend to believe what they see without much question. A lot of people who don't know much about Freddie would think he was a mean spirited asshole if that's how Sacha portrayed him. And people who do know something about him would be put off the movie by that kind of portrayal.
On paper the Cloud Atlas character had plenty of personality flaws. From what I've seen most straight and gay viewers liked him as Ben performed him, though, and became more emotionally invested in his romance with James D'arcy than with anything else in the movie.
I think Ben's portrayal of Freddie in The Hour was about as likeable as that role could be while staying true to script and the character.
- Whishaw and the movie makers will face a tough task becoming the most awesome Freddie Mercury fiction project while this Epic Battle exists.
- Circus magazine always outed him. They used to out David Lee Roth too. Often it was done in a way that made fun of them for being closeted, because everyone knew they were gay.
- People knew Freddie was LGBT. It didn't take that long into his career until the only question in the public mind was gay or bisexual. Glam was in in Britain while he was glamming it up in the early years, but he wasn't closeting himself particularly. He gave quotes to interviewers like "I'm gay as a daffodil" and never claimed to be straight. He went on stage wearing a t-shirt advertising the London gay bar his bf at the time bounced in.
David Lee Roth, on the other hand, a lot of people still don't know about. All those hair band guys looked a lot like him and Roth played up his lust for women so much in videos, on stage, and off stage.
- Rollingstone posted a good interview with Brian May that addresses all the movie rumours and news.
[italic] As far as the Freddie biopic, why did Sacha Baron Cohen drop out?
There was a story put out by Sacha's publicist -- I think that's where it came from -- that Sacha had walked out in disgust because we didn't want to make a film with the kind of script we approved. But none of that was true. We parted amicably. We're still in touch and we're still good friends. We just came to the conclusions that it wasn't going to work with Sacha in the leading role. He's brilliant. But we felt that having Sacha in there would be so distracting because he's such a powerful persona and the characters he makes tend to stand out in a way that wouldn't be suitable for the film. Freddie has to be, in this movie, completely believable. You have to not question for an instant that you're watching Freddie, and that couldn't have happened with Sacha.
When did you realize all that?
It didn't occur to us straight away. We were excited by the project because Sacha is such an originator and such an entertainer and he came to us with a lot of great thoughts and great ideas and a lot of enthusiasm. No, it dawned on us slowly as we started to look at what he had done in Hugo. I don't know if you saw it ... and in Les Miserables and in The Dictator. The more we looked at it, we thought, "No, this isn't going to work," and I think that anyone who sees those films will probably have the same feelings. We really were enjoying working with him, but you just have to come to a realistic decision in the end.
There was a report that Sacha wanted the film to be more R-rated and you wanted a more family-friendly movie.
Well, that was all crap. That was all made up by some publicist somewhere. That's not the case. Anyone who knows us knows that we're not people who duck real issues and we've never ducked being outrageous if it was the right thing at the right time.
Now you have a new star, Ben Whishaw.
Roger mentioned Ben in an interview a few months ago. I think he got carried away. But that's fine. He wasn't the only person we were talking to. But he's a great actor and he's exactly the right kind've material, because he's not that well known a face yet but he's of international stature. The script depicts Freddie in a very lifelike way, but in the context of Queen, which was a kind've family. So it's about what happens in families, in a sense, and I think people will find it very touching.
How difficult was it to dig into Freddie's personal life?
It's a question of how much is comfortable and how much can you deal with discomfort. Because it's our personal lives too. How much were you going to say about all the people that were still alive? There's a whole nest of worms to be negotiated in this kind've movie. [/italic]
- Saw Ben Whishaw in 'Mojo' last week in the west end - and the guy can sing! - really good voice.Can see him being great as Mercury as he has the acting chops to pull it off. Mojo very good btw if anyone's thinking of seeing it - very black humour, and great cast.
- Was his accent good in Mojo? I don't think I've seen Ben trying an accent before. I guess there are many people who won't have heard Freddie talk before since he avoided the media a lot, but he had quite a distinctive sounding and individual speaking voice.
- They were pretty popular at the time and I still consider their music as iconic and great. Many of their songs are classics. Back then everybody assumed Freddy was gay/bisexual. He had a relationship with Barbara Valentin an Austrian actress, who worked regularly with Rainer Werner Fassbender, a well known German gay Filmmaker.
- R5 Mercury wasn't Persian he was Indian. The Parsees were originally from Iran but since their arrival in India well over a thousand years ago there has been considerable mixing with the Indian population. I had a friend who was married to a Parsee, he was quite the asshole.
- R135 We get Top Gear(yes the British version) , BBC World,Graham Norton, not to mention stuff that's posted on You Tube etc so on here in the US.So trust me we know when those "fuckers" are talking shit about us!;)
- I agree (161) He actually had quite a refined way of speaking if memory serves. They all had cockney accents in Mojo (and every other word was 'fuck') and they were all good .Ben plays a nasty,vindictive psycho - the opposite of fey Richard 11. I just think BW is a very good actor and he'll do plenty of research to nail this.
- so how'd they come up with the name Queen? It's hard to figure out how str8 guys in the 80s would love a band with a name like that.
- Is OP serious? He's trolling us, no?
- The name was Freddie's idea r166. Brian and Roger (John joined them about a year after they formed the band. Brian and Roger were in another band - Smile and Freddie was a friend of their singer. When that guy left Smile, three of them decided to form another band - Queen.) weren't sure about the name at the beginning but Freddie convinced them. The Grand Dance and The Rich Kids were also potential band names, but Freddie wanted Queen. He claimed it sounded very regal.
How could straight guys love a band with that name and image? No idea! But in the 70s they were very much a hard rock band so maybe that's why. Their popularity in America started to decline in the early 80s when they changed their sound, became more pop and started to experiment with dance music. Also, Freddie changed image around that time as well. He adopted the clone look and I think I read somewhere that the audience was throwing razor blades at him when he first appeared with mustache. I'm not sure where that happened. In US or maybe South America?
- r166 the name was Freddie's idea and he talked Brian and Roger into it. John the bassist joined the group later.
A name like Queen was a risk and not everyone could make it work, but Freddie was apparently a very persuasive force of nature and the band names Brian and Roger came up with were crap. Their original band with a different singer was called Smile. Once that singer left their friend Freddie gave them some pep talks and put himself forward as the new singer.
Freddie told interviewers that he'd had the name in the back of his mind for a while - it was regal, leant itself to lots of visuals, and, yes, he was aware the gay connotations. Glam was one of the things going on in England at the time, but it was still cool of the rest of the band as straight guys to go along with this and many other of Freddie's adventurous ideas. People have said that when the band came to America they would have random people like waitresses at cafes asking "so you're all fags?". In Britain it was less of a big deal and they certainly managed to secure a big committed following of young stereotypical rock fan guys like these ones who raved about them and wore their t-shirts.
- Hey r169, we answered pretty much the same thing at the same time.
- [quote] Their popularity in America started to decline in the early 80s when they changed their sound, became more pop and started to experiment with dance music.
Freddie pushed for them to go into disco sounding music at the worst time. Disco had become really uncool. There was a lot of tension in the band around that.
[quote] He adopted the clone look and I think I read somewhere that the audience was throwing razor blades at him when he first appeared with mustache.
Ironically the clone look made him look more hetero and macho than his glam look had. It didn't go over with many of his female admirers, though, who sent the Queen offices black nail polish for him and threw razors on stage.
The I Want to Break Free drag video is what made Americans look at Freddie as more gay than they had before and get uncomfortable. He did "sexy drag" when for Americans the acceptable straight thing to do was ugly goofy drag if guys had to do drag at all. MTV banned the video.
- [quote]Freddie pushed for them to go into disco sounding music at the worst time. Disco had become really uncool. There was a lot of tension in the band around that.
Yeah, I know, but looking at it now, Hot Space is much better album than all other 80s albums. At least in my opinion. It sounds like they had a vision. It didn't work out, but at least it sounds like an album, not a collection of songs that could become hits, like The Works for example.
- This is 'sexy drag'?
- Well, Hot Space sounds cohesive and like it is all coming from one place. Primarily because it was all pretty much coming from Freddie and the other creative voices in the band were largely silenced. That could be good or bad musically depending on your perspective, but it was a bad sign for the group dynamics of the band at that time. It was a good thing for the unit that Freddie experimented with solo projects on the side after that and that he ended up eventually getting rid of management/entourage guy who had kind of bizarrely been trying to struggle with the band over ownership of him. I wish he'd had time for further solo work. I'd love to see what sort of musicals he might have written for the stage.
Personally I've always liked the eclecticism of Queen and the chemistry of the four guys together, so consistency of style and tone in albums isn't something I really look to them for.
- No, r173, this is:
- Or this:
- I remember Fred always saying that the name "Queen" was chosen for it's regal connotations.
It baffles me when I hear people mention albums like "Queen II", it's the one album of theirs that I've never heard on radio, even back in my 70s heyday growing up in the SFBA. Sainted KSAN, the hipper-than-hip FM station that ruled the roost back then, never played that record.
If you've any claim to being a serious rock fan, you own Queen's first three albums. They were a masterful group, and at their heaviest, could shatter any misgivings you'd have about the "feyness" of their image. "Father To Son" from QII is a masterpiece, the instrumental break is the most thunderous chunk of metal you'll ever hear.
- [quote] This is 'sexy drag'?
Compared to the more acceptable style of drag Americans expected from guys? Yeah, it was. He was wearing a tight very short slitted skirt, big tits in a tight shirt, flattering make up and black nylons with suspenders and he flirted with the camera. The mustache just made it more alarming for these people. He looked into it and ready to fuck instead of looking like a mess. Freddie always did sexual and half naked while the rest of the band did dorky so this wasn't a switch for them, but in this particular context it spooked American sensibilities of the time especially among the people who decided what videos and music gets played.
- r177 I don't live in America and have no idea what was on the radio in the 70s, but maybe March Of The Black Queen would have been a bit weird for mainstream audience. Or Ogre Battle, or The Fairy Feller's Masterstroke, or anything from that album. Ok, Seven Seas of Rhye was a single, but it was the only one.
Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack are my favorites in general, although my favorite at the moment is News of the World.
- Please help me. I do not understand why Freddie Mercury is lauded for his voice/vocal ability. I just watched a British biography of FM and everyone was going on and on about his voice. His voice is shrill and not particularly huge to me. What am I missing?
I think George Michael's vocal on his cover of "Somebody To Love" is richer and more full-bodied than FM's on the original. Can anyone describe what is special about FM as a singer?
- It's possible he's just not your cup of tea, r180. Freddie had a four octave range and a lot of vocal power available to him. He had a distinctive recognizable voice. He had no formal training in singing. He sang with tremendous passion and emotion. He really performed a song, and this was at a time when it was cool for guys to just stand there ignoring the audience. Unlike most performers today he sang live constantly. His voice wasn't always in the best shape during shows because of the constant singing, the throat nodules he had and the fact he smoked and drank a lot. It was better when it was rested.
George Michael had a pretty voice on STL but he didn't have the soul or edge that Freddie could bring to the song. He also can't work a stage or a crowd like Freddie did, and he doesn't have Freddie's flexibility in terms of being able to be entirely convincing doing a wide range of song types. After the tribute performance George said he'd been terrified because STL is the most difficult and demanding song he'd ever tried to sing. Most of the other artists at the tribute came up pretty painfully short on the Queen songs they attempted even though they had altered them to make them more manageable.
Freddie's voice is a bit rough in spots here, but try watching him doing STL live.
- Its great to read so much about Freddie. I think BW would be a great choice to play him. Go to Amazon to find some great bios on Freddie. Im reading currently Queen Unseen by Peter "Ratty" Hince one of Queen's Roadies in the 80s. He knew them since the early 70s. Lots of great stories. And as someone said, no one has ever said anything bad about Freddie. He truly is one of the most loved personalities in show business. I just wish people here knew him better and knew his voice better also. All we ever see or hear are the same few songs.
- Queen were massive in the U.S. - their first two albums did well, but it was "Sheer Heart Attack" and its first single "Killer Queen" that kicked them into orbit. Their next six albums were multi-million selling platinum successes ("A Night at the Opera", "A Day at the Races", "News of the World", "Jazz", "Live Killers", "The Game").
1981's "Greatest Hits" (the Elektra Records U.S. version) was also a huge smash (featuring the massive single "Under Pressure" with David Bowie).
1982's "Hot Space" began their steep decline in the States. The album stalled at Gold status and produced only one Top 20 hit (the dance-oriented "Body Language"). The "Hot Space" tour was their last U.S. Tour.
1984's "The Works" also went Gold and had several hit singles, but it was nowhere near as successful as their '70s/early '80s work. The next couple of albums ("A Kind of Magic" and "The Miracle" did not even reach Gold certification in the U.S. - "A Kind of Magic" did reach the Gold plateau a few years ago, but it took decades).
Their final album before Freddie's death, 1991's "Innuendo" was a strong album and actually went Gold in the U.S. and looked to be a comeback album for them. People knew Freddie was sick (it was obvious in their music videos).
As for the question "Did people know Freddie was gay?" Yes. I remember wearing a Queen T-shirt to school (in the deep South) in the '70s and having bullies calling me derogatory names for wearing it. They called me a fag and a queer for wearing "that gay group's" shirt.
- [quote] And as someone said, no one has ever said anything bad about Freddie.
Well, some people have mentioned some incidents of bad behaviour, but he had some crazy charm because even those people liked him anyway. Hell, his first long term bf who started dating under false pretences, he eventually cheated on while touring and he broke up with for another guy went and published an affectionate tribute book about what an interesting and great person he was. That's some trick. If you want another book with fun and interesting stories by people who actually knew him, then that book his ex David Minns did (Freddie Mercury: This Is The Real Life) is definitely worth a look.
- I remember seeing a really good documentary on Queen a while back. I thought it was on VH1. Maybe it was "Legends."
Anyway, they described quite frankly Freddie's gay life, if I remember right.
I think that they described Freddie and Mary as remaining best friends, someone he loved, even if not sexually.
They described Freddie experimenting in the German gay clubs, I think. I don't remember them labeling him, though, or saying that he labeled himself as bi or gay. But it sure sounded like he pretty much lived life as a gay man.
I'm surprised to hear that MTV banned the video, [italic]I want to Break Free[/italic]. I know I saw the video back then. And I'm sure that I saw it on either MTV or VH1. But maybe that was before they banned it. Or maybe I did see it on another channel.
I can see why the homophobes would see Freddie dressed up as a house wife in the video as a threateningly "gay thing." But that's pretty silly, I think. I always thought that it had no, little, or less to do with him "gaying it up" and more to do with him portraying a housewife who wants to "break free" from the drudgery of being a housewife. You know...an allusion to the cult of domesticity, or whatever. Or maybe she just wants to get away from those drudgery house keeping chores.
Anyway, yes, they were big enough, at least for a time. And maybe on and off.
I don't know if it differs regionally, or if it's changed since then, but when I was a kid it was normal of spectators at sporting events to stomp out we will rock you on the bleachers. So, an obvious influence on the popular culture.
And, any [italic]Highlander[/italic] fans out there? They made a great soundtrack for that film. That must have gotten at least some interest, from some those Highlander geeks. I know I loved it.
- R185, The songs from "Highlander" were awesome. I spent the better part of 1986 cranking "Princes of the Universe", "Who Wants To Live Forever", "One Year Of Love", etc. Many people had written Queen off by that time, but I still loved them passionately.
I played that "A Kind of Magic" CD all the time. It was the closest we had to a soundtrack album to "Highlander", since an official soundtrack was never released.
"Highlander" was an awesome movie. Queen did two excellent movie soundtracks, "Flash Gordon" and "Highlander." In my opinion, they should have scored and performed songs in every movie released in the '80s. LOL.
- I remember that music video for Princes Of The Universe got tons of airplay on MTV and especially on USA Network's Night Flight back in early '86. That was such a bad-ass video. It was a pretty big hit on rock radio too. I fucking loved that jam.
Highlander came out in early '86 when I was 16. I thought it was the greatest movie I had ever seen up to that point. I still like the film quite a bit. Christopher Lambert was one hot fucking dude. I love when he and Freddie battle it out in the music video. Freddie & Queen made me proud to be gay.
- My favorite musical piece of all time is what was known as "Side Black" (Freddie's side) of the album "Queen II" (1974). Beginning with "Ogre Battle" and continuing with "The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke", "Nevermore", "March of the Black Queen", "Funny How Love Is" and finishing with "Seven Seas of Rhye."
I first bought "Queen II" in 1974 when I was 12. I still think it is one of the most brilliant albums I have ever heard.
- I was a kid in the '90s and my two favorite groups were Queen and AC/DC. It's funny. At the time, I thought both groups were '90s acts. I found out a few years ago that both had huge hits - some were my favorite songs by the groups - that were from the '70s and '80s. Both of those groups made timeless music that sounds fresh all these years later.
- r186 the homophobes weren't as big of a problem as radio and if you look at the history of gay musicians it shouldn't be a surprise. Even today you can't name any openly gay man who was embraced by radio.
It's ok to be gay just don't show it or say it out loud . It has been happening time after time for as long as gay musicians have started coming out in a public way.
Bowie and Elton both had trouble in the US after saying they were bi and jumped back into the closet. Bowie says today that it really only hurt him in the US. When Elton Boy George George Michael came out they never had radio play of new music after that. The guys who were out from the start like Sam Sparo, Rufus, Scissor Sisters never got the play they deserved.
Adam Lambert got the farthest with a top ten hit but after his AMA performance that was a battle to get as many stations refused to play him and they haven't really played anything since. Frank Ocean for all the accolades didn't get played much.
Radio is owed by right wingers and there will have to be something so big they have to play it to get over this glass ceiling.
So the fact that they Queen was seen to have crossed the line of showing gay even though it wasn't was the end along with some other reasons. Queen had another good decade of hits around the world everywhere but in the US which is really too bad.
I really don't blame any musicians for staying closeted while starting their career for this reason. I'd rather have them succeed then come out than to never succeed on a big scale at all.
- The Scissor Sisters became huge sensations and critical darlings in the UK with their first album, and enjoyed substantial success in other markets like Australia. In America they are little played and little known. Success is possible for an act that is out right out of the gate, but it's unlikely to be American success in no small part due to the bigotry of those determining what gets played in the US.
- Yeah, The US is the most important market for being able to launch an international star and the UK is second. The rest of Europe and Australia look to both the UK and the US. The UK seems to embrace flamboyance much more easily in men that may or may not be gay than the US too.
As far as sales revenue goes Japan is second but not influential in breaking WW acts. Although The Asian markets can bring in big endorsements along with concert revenue though.
1. USA - $4.48 billion (-0.5%)
2. Japan - $4.42 billion (+4%)
3. UK - $1.33 billion (-6.1%)
4. Germany - $1.29 billion (-4.6%)
5. France - $907 million (-2.9%)
6. Australia - $507 million (-6.8%)
7. Canada - $453 million (+5.8%)
8. Brazil - $257 million,(+8.9%)
9. Italy - $217 million (-1.8%)
10. Netherlands - $216 million (-4.7%)
- At least the UK is available as a possible launching pad for out gay acts and other kinds of people who face limitations in America. It's not just groups like the Scissor Sisters who've done well going there. Middle aged actresses like Kim Cattrell and Gillian Anderson went there to get good parts when they aged out decent roles in Hollywood. Jimi Hendrix was playing the chitlin circuit in America but when he went to England he crossed over to white audiences right away, became a big hit and got a record deal.
Is the problem in America just the gate keepers on the media or is it the audiences too? It's not just a difference of out gay presence in mainstream music. All the US comedian night time talk show hosts like Lettermen and Leno seem to be straight. England has out flamboyant Graham Norton and Alan Carr. Stephen Fry hosts QI and Simon Amstell was host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Out entertainers haven't even have to be models of traditional values or anything. Popular English radio DJ/TV comedian Kenny Everett came out in the 80s as being gay and in a menage a trois with two guys. George Michael continues to have a decent career in the UK and Europe after coming out out and in the last interview I saw with him he was open and unrepentant about his intention to keep fucking guys in public toilets and smoking crack.
It's not a North American thing. A lot of Canada's biggest and most popular stars have been out gays and lesbians like KD Lang, Ashley MacIsaac, Rufus Wainwright, Scott Thompson, Tommy Sexton, and more recently out Rick Mercer.
- Queen just announced that they will tour North America with Adam Lambert starting in NYC in June!
- I think the first date is in Chicago. If you can tolerate Adam Lambert, go for it. You probably won't have many opportunities to see Brian and Roger.
- Don't think you can beat Freddie's vocals on "love of my life" or "is this the world we created". Simply stunning
- I changed my mind. I wouldn't go see them even if they were playing near me. I just can't stand anyone else singing those songs. Even though very different, both Adam Lambert and Paul Rodgers were horrible. George Michael singing Somebody to love at the Tribute concert and Tom Chaplin from Keane were the only ones I could stand.
Roger and Brian aren't the best live singers, but the parts of the shows with Rodgers and Lambert when they were singing were the best for me.
And what is this "we are the champions ooooh, we are the champions ooooh...." at 02:50 in this clip.
- Brian, Roger and Tom Chaplin - It's a hard life
- I can't speak to his contemporary recognigition, I wasn't even born until 1983 (although that Wembley concert is still my favorite concert ever, hands down) but Queen was pretty darn big over here. Ever people who only listen to top 40 pop music today at least know who Queen were, most bands don't have that kind of name-longetivity.
- r197, those weren't the greatest choices for adam and vocals with queen. On the whole I think if you ask anyone who saw them that he wins over the sceptical Queen fans.
This video is a before and after interviews of fans at the London shows a couple years ago. You can see it isn't an Adam crowd and they are largely won over. Some weirdos in there but interesting to watch how the old timers react.
- I predict that they overestimated their popularity. With an American Idol loser singing Freddy Mercury karaoke, it isn't going to fly.
- I don't know r200. I've been a Queen fan for over 25 years and I suffered through a lot of bullshit like Pepsi commercial, Robbie Williams (although I like Robbie singing his own stuff), Five, re-releasing GH a billion times, refusal to release 70s concerts, unfulfilled promises..., but I just can't take it anymore. I begrudgingly watched all Paul Rodgers and Adam Lambert shows available and I really don't like any of it. I'm now ignoring most of the things they're doing. I just listen to their albums and watch old shows and I'm happy. None of this Queen +++ for me. If they decide to release Rainbow, Earls Court and similar shows, I'm there. I'll leave Adam Lambert to others. Nothing against him. It just doesn't work for me.
r201 it's Freddie, not Freddy.
- Thank you to [R27] for posting that fantastic documentary. I underestimated the importance of Queen. They were never a favorite but I did like them. Watching the loss of a comet like Freddie reminds me of so many other losses. Documentaries like this and "Gay Sex in The 70's" bring into relief the shocking amount of talent and humanity that we have lost to HIV. The sheer magnitude of art and value and love that this disease has swept away in its path is staggering. I am reminded of it again and again. I force myself to read the books and watch the films that document this horrific phenomenon.
And I see around me the people who continue to dive headlong into meth and barebacking and not have a care in the world. The dominoes continue to fall. So many people have learned nothing. And the losses mount. It is utterly heartbreaking how little we have learned from our history.
Everyone should watch the last 20 minutes of this documentary and see if it really still makes sense to shuck the condoms and snort the drugs. The magnitude of our long list of dead is mindboggling. As is the line of people so willing to join them. I wish everyone would value themselves and the their lives enough to stop this fucking death march.
- As a child I was lucky enough to have parents that liked decent music and liked going to gigs. They took me to the wembley 86 gig and I remember just being in awe at the man.
I just can't get my head around the fact that they have Adam Lambert as the front man now, it's just not right. If you want something as close to Freddie as you can get vocally wise, get your bloke from Muse. They just seem to parody of themselves with Adam which is a bit sad really.
- Wow! Thanks for the link R198, that was the closest I've ever heard anyone get to Freddie! Stunning
- They shoulda got Tom Chaplin to tour with them instead of that Lambert guy.
- My parents did not know when they got me the 8 track, but I figured it out.
- No one who would go see Queen live in the US knows who Tom Chaplin is.
- That's a shame r208. He's a really good singer. I always liked Keane.
For those who want more info about latest Queen+, here's an interview with Brian, Roger and Adam Lambert.
- Tom Chaplin has a great tone and sounded great with queen on that song but he doesn't have to stage presence needed.
Also, the biggest problem in finding a frontman for queen is not just the huge range of the songs but totally different styles of singing. Rock, pop, funky, almost operatic ballads. That is something Lambert can do, switch genres, Better in some than others but overall i think it's about as good a fit as you could find right now.
Brian said this tour came about specifically because promoters started calling with interest in this particular pairing after seeing them at the iheart festival. So it was always going to be Adam or nothing.
- Tom Chaplin has a gorgeous voice while Adam Lambert has a sharp unpleasant tone to his voice. He might be able to hit high notes but why would we want to listen to that mess?
- I loved that Brian and Roger sang a few songs each on the earlier albums. Shame they stopped that in the eighties. I get why, but still.
Here's live version of I'm in love with my car:
- And here's Roger and I'm in love with my car in 2008
- The only Freddie`s rival as the greatest r`n`r voice is Robert Plant and his only rival as the greatest r`n`r frontman is Mick Jagger.
- Please, I've never heard anyone hit as many bum notes as Robert Plant and Mick Jagger.
- As big as they were back in the day I really feel he was so talented that his fame has grown over time rather than diminish like so many of that period. He was ahead of his time
- That's called becoming a legend, 216.
- 8th March 1974 Queen released Queen II, so happy 40th birthday Queen II!!
The March of the Black Queen
- Another problem with with Freddie biopic. More creative differences. The Director Dexter Fletcher left. I wonder was the problem really with the director and the producer, or the real problem was Brian's control issues.
- It looks like I'm the only one in this thread, but I hope more people will join. Another article about biopic. This one does mention Brian and Roger as potential source of problem.
From the link: "Word has been that the surviving members of the band Queen are the main agitator for these reported creative differences, as they may not want certain aspects of the late singer’s life put to film."
- Like what R220? That he was a sleazy, whorish cum dumpster? We already know.