Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971. It was originally consisting of Freddie Mercury (known as Farrokh Bulsara at the 70´s and at the first years of 80´s) (lead vocals, piano and guitar) (1970-1991), Brian May (guitar, keyboards and vocals)(1970), John Deacon (bass guitar)(1971-1997), and Roger Taylor (drums, percussion and vocals)(1970). Queen's earliest works were heavily influenced by progressive rock; in the middle 1970s, the band ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, bringing them greater commercial success. It also became something of a trademark to incorporate more diverse and innovative styles in their music, exploring the likes of vaudeville, gospel music, electronic music and funk.
Brian May and Roger Taylor had been playing together in a band named Smile. Farrokh Bulsara was a fan of Smile, and encouraged them to experiment with more elaborate stage and recording techniques. Mercury himself joined the band shortly thereafter, changed the name of the band to 'Queen' and adopted his familiar stage name (Freddie Mercury).
"I thought up the name Queen. It's just a name, but it's very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid. It's a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one facet of it." (Freddie Mercury)
In 1973, after a series of delays, Queen released their eponymous debut album, an effort influenced by the heavy metal and progressive rock of the day. The album was received well by critics; Gordon Fletcher of Rolling Stone said "their debut album is superb", and Chicago's Daily Herald called it an "above average debut".
"I don't care what the journalists say, we achieved our own identity after Queen II." (Freddie Mercury)
The band drew artistic influence from many other British rock acts at the time such as Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie and Led Zeppellin. Queen composed music that drew inspiration from many different genres of music, often with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. Among the genres they have been associated with are: progressive rock, hard rock, glam rock, heavy metal, pop-rock, dance/disco, blues-rock and psychedelic rock. Queen also wrote songs that were inspired by genres that are not typically associated with rock, such as ragtime, opera, gospel, vaudeville and folk. It was for these music-experiments wiht several kind music that the band has been recognised as having made significant contributions to such genres as hard rock and heavy metal, amongst others. Hence the band has been cited as an influence by many other musicians. Moreover, like their music, the bands and artists that have claimed to be influenced by Queen are diverse and span different generations, countries and genres.
"A concert is not a live rendition of our album. It's a theatrica! event." (Freddie Mercury)
"I always knew I was a star And now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me." (Freddie Mercury)
A great number of their songs were considered number one in the hit lists music not only in UK but also in several countries around the world. Queen worked with many well-known music artists like David Bowie or Monserrat Caballe not only on stage but also outside them. Queen had Peter Grant as manager (as Led Zeppelin too). Grant wanted them to sign with Led Zeppelin´s own production company, Swan Song Records. The band found the contract unacceptable and instead, contacted Elton John´s manager (John Reid), who accepted the position.
"And, we have no such thing as a budget anymore. Our manager freaks when we show him the bill. We're lavish to the bone, but all our money goes back into the product" (Freddie Mercury)
Since the band's beginning, nearly all songs had been written by and credited to a single member, with other members adding minimally. With The Miracle the band's songwriting became more collaborative, and they vowed to credit the final product only to Queen as a group. The band has released a total of 18 number one albums and 10 number one DVDs. They have sold over 150 million albums, with some estimates in excess of 300 million albums, making them one of the world´s best-selling music artists. They have been honoured with seven Ivor Novello award and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
"I won't be a rock star. I will be a legend." (Freddie Mercury)
When fans noticed Mercury's increasingly gaunt appearance in 1988, rumours began to spread that Mercury was suffering from AIDS. After cury flatly denied this, insisting he was merely "exhausted" and too busy to provide interviews. The band decided to continue making albums, starting with "The Miracle " in 1989 and continuing with Innuendo in 1991. Despite his, indeed, deteriorating health, the lead singer continued to contribute. In 1991 Mercury died of bronchopneumonia within 24 hours Mercury confirmed that he had AIDS.
"There was all that time when we knew Freddie was on the way out, we kept our heads down." (Brian May)
In 1997 Queen performed "The Show Must Go On " with Elton John and the Berjart Ballet marking the last performance and public appearance of John Deacon, who chose to retire.
To J.L.A.F. ;)