Queen: The rock legends
Formed in 1971, Queen (Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon) signed their first recording contract with EMI in late 1972. In July 1973, Queen released their first single ‘Keep Yourself Alive’, followed closely by their debut album, Queen. 1974 saw the release of the band’s second album, Queen II, containing their first hit single ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’ which charted in the UK at number 10. This was followed by a second hit single (their first US hit), ‘Killer Queen’, taken from the Sheer Heart Attack album, followed later in the year by a major UK tour.
1975 saw the release of the epic single ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, taken from A Night at the Opera. At 5′ 55″ it should have been too long for successful radio play, but even so it went to No. 1 in the UK chart and stayed there for an unprecedented nine consecutive weeks, becoming one of the greatest singles of all time. In 1977, Queen issued the single ‘We Are The Champions’ coupled with ‘We Will Rock You’. Both songs would soon become among the band’s most popular and best loved of their career – and long after. ‘The Champions/Rock You’ pairing is one of the most famous and most played in the world. The single was followed by the release of Queen’s sixth album, News of the World, from which they come, in October 1977. From then on, the band released album after album, and toured all over Europe, Japan, the U.S. and South America. At the end of 1981 the band teamed up with David Bowie for the single that was to become one of their biggest worldwide hits, and one of the most covered and sampled of all Queen songs, ‘Under Pressure’. 1984 saw the single ‘Radio Ga Ga’ from The Works become a worldwide hit, reaching No. 1 in 19 countries.
1986 saw the 12th album, A Kind Of Magic, effectively the soundtrack to the Russell Mulcahy film, ‘Highlander’. The album returned the band to No.1 on the charts in many territories. Queen toured Europe throughout the year, culminating with two legendary concerts at Wembley Stadium, and their biggest ever in the UK, an open air show at Knebworth Park, in August. Unbeknown at the time, this was to be Queen’s last ever concert with Freddie Mercury.
In 1991, Queen’s last true studio album with Freddie, Innuendo, was released in February. Both the title track single and the album entered the charts at No.1 on their first week of release in the UK. The last track released as a single, ‘The Show Must Go On’ came in November 1991, just weeks before Freddie Mercury would lose his struggle with HIV AIDS.
On 23rd November 1991 Freddie Mercury announced to the world that he had AIDS and the next day he died peacefully at his home. He remains the most high profile loss from the disease in the entertainment world and the news shocked fans throughout the world. As a tribute ‘Bohemian Rhapsody /These Are The Days Of Our Lives’ was released as a double A-sided single to raise funds for the Terence Higgins Trust. It entered the UK chart at No. 1, where it stayed for five weeks, raising over Â£1,000,000 for the charity, and Queen became the first band to have the same single top the UK charts twice. In December of that year Queen had 10 albums in the UK Top 100. In 1992 Freddie was awarded posthumously the BRIT’s “Outstanding Contribution to British Music” and ‘Days Of Our Lives’ won Best Single. In April, many of the world’s top stars joined Brian, Roger and John on stage at Wembley for an emotional tribute to Freddie.
In 1995 the unreleased tracks Queen had begun in 1991 with Freddie were completed by Brian, Roger and John and the long-awaited Made in Heaven was released worldwide, to huge acclaim and success. It was the last Queen album ever to feature Freddie, and it was the end of an era.
In May 2002 the hit musical We Will Rock You opened to sell-out audiences in London’s West End. The show has seen local productions staged throughout the world, including Spain, Australia, Germany, Russia, Italy, Japan, South Asia, Las Vegas, Canada and across Europe. To date more than 12 million people have seen the show.
In October 2002, Queen received their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, joining The Beatles as one of only a handful of non-US bands to receive this much coveted honor. In 2004 Queen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Walk of Fame, and was also voted by the UK public into the first UK Music Hall of Fame. From 2005 to 2008, Brian and Roger took Queen onto the touring circuit again, for the first time since 1986, joined by former Free/Bad Company singer, songwriter and musical Paul Rodgers, playing concerts across the UK, Europe, North and South America and Japan. For more information about Queen, please visit www.queenonline.com.