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Lyrics From Queen’s First Album Manifested in The Band’s History!

Published May 19, 2019 by Maryanne

Queen album coverQueen’s Debut Album

While many people jumped on the Queen band wagon after seeing the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I was a fan since 1975, just after their album “A Night At The Opera” came out. I loved the music so much, I went backwards and got their prior albums, “Queen” and “Sheer Heart Attack.” Note that it took me some time before I found “Queen II” because back then you couldn’t order from Amazon. You physically had to go to a record store. Each week, I’d got to Korvettes and actively seek Queen II.  I was thrilled when I found it and FINALLY had the complete set of Queen albums. To this day, almost 45 years later, I favor Queen’s first five albums.

In the late 1990s I was writing for several NYC news publications, mainly The Westsider and The Chelsea Clinton News (which covered the Chelsea and Clinton areas of NYC).

When I reviewed the play, “Mercury: Life of a Rock God” it dawned on me … lyrics in the song “Great King Rat,” written by Freddie Mercury were a foreshadowing of what was to come with Freddie’s failing health, and eventually death. I had to write that in my article because it was something a true Queen fan couldn’t overlook.

Check out Freddie Mercury’s lyric in “Great King Rat” …

“Great King Rat died today
Born on the twenty first of May
Died syphilis forty four on his birthday.” 

Both syphilis and AIDS are transmitted by unprotected sex. And Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45, one year older than his Great King Rat character. It truly is a bizarre coincidence. And a sad one. But Freddie Mercury wouldn’t want to be remembered with pity. Far from a “rat” — he truly is the Great King (make that the Great Queen!) Let’s remember him that way!

After the success of the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” it dawned on me how sustainable Queen has been in their career. I think back to the 1970s when I was a kid and recall how hard it was to find a Queen record or a poster. Now there’s Queen memorabilia everywhere. I recently got a Freddie Mercury Bobblehead doll. Just Goggle “Queen” and you will not come up empty handed at all. Collector’s rejoice! Thanks to the overwhelming success of Queen, if you want something, you got it.

While it was Freddie Mercury who said, “I’m not gonna be a star, I’m gonna be a legend,” it was actually Roger Taylor who predicted the band’s success with his lyric in “Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll” …

Everybody in this bum sucking world
Gonna know just who you are

It’s pretty safe to say that Queen is now a household name. But back in 1973, when Queen’s first album debuted, who would have known? In the song “Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll” Taylor could have been talking about any band or any rock star, but it was his band Queen that manifested the magic of the song and made it way over the top!

Freaky, right? Keep reading …

“The Night Comes Down” also on Queen’s debut was written by Brian May in 1970 shortly after Queen formed, following his break-up with Smile. Brian May admitted to being a Beatles fan, and there seems to be a nod to The Beatles and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” in the song with the following lyric:

When I was young it came to me; And I could see the sun breaking; Lucy was high and so was I…

In the past year, due to all the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody” there was a Lucy who was high, right along with Brian May. That would be Lucy Boynton who played Mary Austin in the film. How crazy is that? What are the chances of an actress playing Mary Austin having the same first name as someone written in a song by Brian May 50 years ago?!

Lucy-Boynton-and-Brian-May-Fox-party-e1551134444579

Lucy Boynton and Brian May riding high on the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody”

There is one more crazy Queen coincidence that I can’t take credit for, but other Queen fans will appreciate if they have all the albums. I saw this in a letter in Circus magazine after “A Night at the Opera” came out. I am so sorry I can not remember the letter writer’s name, but this is something incredible he figured out. If you count all the Queen songs, in order, from the first Queen album to “A Night at the Opera” you will discover that Brian May’s song “39” is the 39th song recorded.

You can not make this stuff up!

Queen fans, comment below … Are there any more coincidences you’ve noticed Queen’s career that manifested from their lyrics?

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (which both mention how she was inspired by Freddie Mercury): 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Almost Queen, Duke Island Park, Bridgewater, NJ

Published June 29, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_5127Joseph Russo as Freddie Mercury

SAM_5126

My husband and I saw this amazing band so many times and they are absolutely amazing. “Almost Queen” is an appropriate name, as they truly nail every song — and I should know, I’ve been a diehard Queen fan since I was 12 years old — back in 1976!

Sadly, this show was one of the shorter sets. I’m such a Queen fan, I could listen to them perform all night. It’s always great to hear songs from my teenage years that I loved so much and listened to every song, in order that they recorded on all the albums, memorized all the lyrics, all the music, and who wrote which song.

Some of the songs tonight included: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” “Love of My Life,” “’39,” “Somebody to Love,” “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy,” “Radio GaGa,” “Fat Bottom Girls,” “Bicycle Race,” and “I’m in Love with My Car.”

This was a great “warm-up” for next month, when I see the real Queen again at the IZOD. I saw the original Queen with Freddie Mercury in 1982, Queen with Paul Rodgers in 2005 and now I’ll be seeing them with Adam Lambert.

If you never get to see the real Queen, I guarantee Almost Queen is a super replica. Joseph Russo never breaks out of character as Freddie, though doesn’t try to BE Freddie, but rather keeping his legend alive.

Randy Gregg is awesome as John Deacon and he’s great with the crowd. As a side note, he plays with another favorite 1970s band of mine — Angel (who I hope to see someday!)

John Cappadonna is fabulous as Roger Taylor. He even has a gong behind the drums! Very authentic!

Steve Leonard is phenomenal as Brian May, a guitar genius.

After the show, I got to have my picture taken with Joseph Russo and John Cappadonna. Thanks guys!

SAM_5125John Cappadonna, Me and Joseph Russo

SAM_5106Me and my husband enjoying the show

One Night of Queen at Count Basie Theater, Red Bank, NJ

Published April 11, 2013 by Maryanne

Gary Mullen - One Night of QueenGary Mullen as Freddie Mercury (photo swiped from One Night of Queen website)

I am a true, diehard Queen fan. The first five albums, I know better than the back of my hand. I can tell you every song, in order, who wrote the songs, who sang lead vocal and what special instruments were used in addition to the basic guitar, drums, bass and vocals.

Whenever I go to see a Queen tribute band, I don’t expect much, because #1, there was and is only ONE Freddie Mercury; #2, even if the band was awful (and none ever were), it’s still great to hear all those old songs performed live.

I only saw Queen once in 1982. Then I saw them again in 2005, with Paul Rodgers. Then I saw Almost Queen, an amazing tribute band, many times.

Last night I saw One Night of Queen, featuring Gary Mullen and The Works: http://www.garymullenandtheworks.com/

Now, Elvis fans categorize Elvis into two categories: Young Elvis (the Sun record years) and Las Vegas Elvis or Fat Elvis.

Queen fans similarly categorize Queen: Glam Rock Freddie (the first five albums) and Gay Freddie (when he cut his hair and grew a mustache). I’ve yet to see a Freddie impersonator do Glam Rock Freddie, which as a Queen fan I am totally craving! Maybe someday, somewhere, I hope to see that.

Gary Mullen made a spectacular Gay Freddie. For the entire evening he did not break character and his banter in between songs was hysterical, in true Freddie fashion, prancing about,  teasing the crowd, acting naughty and even encouraging audience members to pat him on the ass — which they did (both female and male fans). He had Freddie’s moves down to a science. I think some fans actually believed Mullen was Mercury, even though he looked more like Freddie’s lover, Jim Hutton, who wrote the book, “Mercury and Me,” which isn’t a bad thing.  He made the show so much fun, so lively …. a real hoot and Freddie would be pleased.

Mullen sounds a lot like Freddie and has a lot of passion in his vocals. Unfortunately the other members of the band lack the vocal chops, so the evening was filled with songs by Freddie Mercury and Brian May (which Freddie often sang), omitting songs by Queen drummer, Roger Taylor, like the hit “I’m in Love with My Car” and older songs like “Ogre Battle” where Taylor would scream outrageously.

What lacked in vocals was made up in musicianship. The audience was treated to amazing bass lines from Billy Moffat (who actually played like my favorite bassist of all time, Japan’s Mick Karn); extremely impressive David Brockett duplicating Brian May’s unique guitar sound; a stellar drum solo from Jonathan Evans; and Malcolm Gentles holding it all together on keys. (Mullen did not play keys or piano as Freddie did, but came out with guitar during “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”)

When One Night of Queen started to play “Bohemian Rhapsody” I said to my husband, “Let’s see how they pull this one off.”

They pulled it off just like Queen did — by lowering the lights and playing tapes of the operatic vocals. Queen’s, not theirs. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

The most astonishing part of the evening was Brockett performing “Love of My Life” on guitar, which was originally done on harp. Gorgeously done!

My one  issue — not just with this band, but many bands both tributes and originals —  is always when live artists don’t play entire songs. I’d rather hear less songs but fuller songs. I want the whole enchilada! It’s the most annoying thing to hear your favorite song sliced to pieces (like they do on American Idol) or missing lyrics. It’s like having a skip in your favorite vinyl record or tuning in to your favorite song on the radio when it’s half over. So I was disappointed with a few songs that weren’t done in entirety, like “Brighton Rock.”

But I definitely had a fabulous time at this show.

The song list included:

“Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Fat Bottom Girls,” “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy,” “Killer Queen,” “Somebody to Love,” “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” “Keep Yourself Alive,” “Under Pressure,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and so much more. They played two long sets with a break in between, when Mullen encouraged the crowd to go to the bar!

I’d definitely go see One Night of Queen again, a fun trip down memory lane for this major Queen fan! I wanted to buy a “Fat Bottom Girl” t-shirt, but while it may have seemed like a good idea when you;re under the influence of a New Castle Brown on tap and high on Queen euphoria, I highly doubt in my regular state of mind I’d have the guts to wear it. HA!

SAM_0529Dennis and I enjoying the show!