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Queen will rock you

Submitted by Elizabeth Armstrong on September 13, 2011 – 12:32 pmNo Comment

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The Forum looks back at an oldie but goodie, in honor of frontman Freddie Mercury, who would have turned 65 on Sept. 5.

Freddie Mercury’s talent brought the band much success, but not only that, he changed rock music and his death devastated the world. He is viewed as one of the most talented singers, and front men in the history of rock music. One of his most famous songs was “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was featured on Queen’s 1975 album, “A Night at the Opera.”  At the time, “A Night at the Opera” was the most expensive albums ever made, due to its being recorded at six different studios.

The album’s strength lies in its variety, each song having its own personality. “Bohemian Rhapsody” fuses different genres including: rock, opera, and heavy metal.  It was the first song composed by Mercury that featured a Brian May guitar solo. Some people think the song is a statement about Mercury’s sexual orientation. However, when asked by his radio DJ friend, Kenny Everett, Mercury said it was just rhyming and nonsense. The first track on “Opera”  is “Death On Two Legs (Dedicated to…).” This song opens with Mercury’s intense piano playing that leads into May’s dissonant guitar riffs accompanied by an ugly screaming guitar riff that gets intensively louder. This song was created for Queen’s former manager who the band felt didn’t fulfill his duties.

Mercury’s next track on the album is, “Seaside Rendezvous.” The piano sounds like something that could be heard in a music hall in the 1930’s. This song can be recognized by the bridge, which Mercury and drummer, Roger Taylor used their own voices to imitate woodwind and brass instruments, with the acception of a kazoo. The song also features a short tap dance part, which was done by Mercury and Taylor banging on a desk with thimbles on their fingers. Mercury took a different turn on “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon.” He sang vocals through a tin can to get a megaphone sound. May’s guitar solo was recorded on a vocal track. This song has a vintage style to it, with Mercury using a more crooning style vocal instead of using vibrato. Bass player John Deacon plays an upright bass, which was not done on any other Queen song, except in the “Who Wants To Live Forever” music video.

Although Mercury sang angry lyrics towards his former manager, he also had a soft side. “Love of My Life” is the last song on the album, which Mercury wrote himself. This song was written for his girlfriend at the time. It can be seen as a classical piece for this album because of the classical solo on piano that is in the song. May plays a harp at the beginning of the song, chord by chord. He put all the single sounds together to get the phenomenal melody. The next thing that makes this album remarkable is, there were no synthesizers used on the album, which Queen was proud of. A perfect example of this is the song, “Good Company, where May wrote and sang lead vocals.. He wanted a Dixie land jazz sound. Instead of getting a brass section together he used his own guitar, known as “Red Special,” to create the sounds and added a banjo ukulele. May also stated years after the album was recorded that if this album had not been such a success, Queen would have been disbanded.

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