Freddie Mercury's Musical Stepchildren, Darlings
Today marks 19 years that the world has been without Queen front man Freddie Mercury, who was taken from us on November 24, 1991. He died of AIDS complications, a disease he kept hidden from the world until just a day or so before his death.
He was the first major, epic rock star to be killed by the disease, and his loss helped create a greater awareness for those suffering with it. In the wake of his death, there was an outpouring of charity to help fight AIDS. Sadly we had to lose Mercury to bring more attention to the epidemic to help others.
Mercury is in the Top 5 pantheon of rock front men. He had swagger, appeal to both sexes, the voice, charisma, and an inherent talent and need to entertain you. Everyone, from Axl Rose to Lady Gaga is in his debt. Seriously, "November Rain" and "Speechless" are total Queen rips.
We can only imagine what kind of sassy old man he would have been like. Maybe he would have been the bitchiest American Idol judge ever, or the star of the best reality show ever. Can you imagine him decimating Adam Lambert for copping his hustle, darling?
Craig's Hlist remembers growing up with nearly the whole Queen catalog on vinyl in the house. We had everything except the later period stuff and the first two LP's in the family vinyl collection. Our favorite by far, was and still is, News of the World, with the robot imagery on the sleeve and the songs, my god.
It opens with "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions," for chrissakes. It also features "Shear Heart Attack," the most punk-rock song the band ever recorded, and their filthiest song ever, "Get Down, Make Love," which was later covered by Nine Inch Nails.
Tons of bands come around each year that try to bite off the Queen and Mercury legacy, but few knock it out of the park. A few months we saw the Houston Symphony Orchestra take on the music of Queen with fantastic results, re-sparking our Queen love.
Most '80s glam-rock bands were copying Mercury and Queen almost rote. Def Leppard, Poison and most certainly Guns 'N Roses were doing it. In the mid-'00s, a lot of the more fey screamo bands like the Used and My Chemical Romance had wicked Queen fixations. Pantera's Phil Anselmo has said his two favorite front men and idols were Mercury and Judas Priest's Rob Halford, if you can imagine that.
Sure they may make some solid, vampy tracks, but no one will ever replicate the magic of Farrokh Bulsara, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor together, or the image of Mercury sweeping onto a stage to testify to his fans. These are bands and artists that still do Queen's legacy right.
Nine Inch Nails
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.