Record-Breaking Queen Will Live Forever

February 12, 2014
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“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality” 

Arguably one of the most recognizable lyrical introductions to a rock song, ever,  Freddie Mercury’s vocal layering serves as the gentle prelude to the behemoth of rock that is ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – possibly one of the greatest rock songs of our time and the first track on Queen’s ‘Greatest Hit’s compilation of 1981.

But if you live in the UK, you undoubtedly already know this because one in four UK households already own this album.

Little wonder, then, that these beloved legends of the rock world have made UK history this week when Queen’s ‘Greatest Hits’ became the first album to surpass the 6 million sales mark (and counting) out-selling ABBA’s 1992 greatest hits collection ‘Gold’ by some 900,000.

 Freddie would have been proud.

Speaking to the Official Charts Company, Queen’s guitarist Dr. Brian May said the feat was “Incredible” adding “Great news, amazing news from the Official Charts Company, I just want to say thanks to everyone who has supported us through the years, we hope to continue to serve you.”

Band mate Roger Taylor added: “Wonderful. Who would have thought it? And all due to the great British public. Thank you. A great honour!”

Ever-humble, the surviving members of the band remind us that at times, confidence was not always high, which may seem unbelievable in hindsight, but let us not forget these men were (and are) musicians who strove for perfection.  However, such high standards lead to the inevitability of doubt, even when it’s unfounded.

Mercury was the consummate performer but he was also a notorious workaholic (as well as being a pitch-perfect vocalist, pianist and guitarist). May will forever be the astrophysicist who takes guitar-playing into the stratosphere.  To complete the perfect quartet: Roger Taylor on drums and  and John Deacon on bass.

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And yet, to simply label each by the instrument they were most famous for would be to mis-represent the enormous contribution they made to the hits because Queen are the only group in which every band member has composed more than one number one track, many of which of featured on the Greatest Hits album.  Yes, Freddie was undeniably the showman, his exuberance was electrifying to watch, his passion as raw through your home speakers as it ever was on stage. You couldn’t take your eyes off him, his voice was unmistakable.  In theory, he should have stolen the limelight, but Queen was the sum of all its parts  – this wasn’t Freddie and a band, this was a whole.   When you think of Bohemian Rhapsody, you remember Freddie’s opening multiple chorals, but you also remember the huge guitar solo and hard rock section, the complete balladry in all its glory. All components of the song are equally magnificent.

In celebration of Queen’s epic achievement, I’m listening to the Greatest Hits album (‘Save Me’ is my favourite) and whilst the world may have been cruelly robbed of the wonderful Freddie Mercury in 1991, 6 million sales proves the band and the music, will live forever.

-Lucy Jenkins.

@LUCYJENKlNS

 

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