Search
  • Juliet Barker

Anthems by Queen



I grew up with the anthems of Queen ringing in my head. I could be a terrible winner by singing "We Are The Champions, No Time For Losers" at the top of my voice after a successful game of Draughts or I would idle over the lyrics to "Somebody To Love" during my 20's to lament my single status. In my view, nobody has come close to emulating Freddie Mercury's charisma on stage and I think that would be a 'fool's errand'. We don't want an artist to copy his stage presence, his successor would need to forge their own path to greatness and make us stop and marvel about them as a new glorious phenomenon.



Queen signed to EMI in 1972 with Brian May on guitar, Roger Taylor on drums, John Deacon on bass and Freddie Mercury on vocals. Brian has an honours degree in Physics, Roger has a Biology degree and John was a Science graduate. Freddie (birth name Farrokh Bomi Bulsara) moved from Bombay, India to Feltham in Middlesex and despite being bullied at school, he left with an A'level in Art and O'levels in Art, History and Geography. Freddie met Brian and Roger through their mutual friend Tim Staffell and when Tim left the band, Freddie took over on vocals, changed the bands name to Queen and recruited John Deacon.




Brian and John are described as shy and retiring and as Roger was behind the drum kit, Freddie was assigned the job of the group's front-man. Reports talk about him as unashamedly extrovert and over the top. In the 70's and 80's he wore outrageous jumpsuits slashed to the navel or designer dresses with make-up and nail polish. It was the era of Glam Rock and Freddie fitted in well. During concerts, he would filled the whole stage; using his microphone as a prop and playing the guitar or the piano. He encouraged the crowd to follow his lead as he sang the scales; starting with Daaay-Oh! and becoming increasingly complicated(usually ending in crowd failure). Live Aid in 1985 reminded us all of Queen's magnificence and Elton John reportedly said that Freddie stole the show with his ability to capture a crowd.


Queen's most successful album is "A Night At The Opera" and it includes their unstoppable hit "Bohemian Rhapsody". However, my favourites include "I Want It All", "Bicycle Race" and "You're My Best Friend". Queen had a stage show dedicated to their talents. "We Will Rock You" was written by Queen and Ben Elton. The band, being Roger Taylor and Brian May, continue to tour using great front men. George Michael was included among them. But there was something about Freddie that embodied the expression 'devil may care' and made me think "Yeah, I'm loud and proud of it". No time to be a shrinking violet - life's too short.





Freddie died on 24 November 1991 of Broncho-Pneumonia brought on by Aids. Don't forget his unique, dynamic and often operatic genius.