Queen - News Of The World

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1977, summer, riding in my mom's station wagon. We Will Rock You came on the radio. I told my mom, “I want to this album.” Somehow, in spite of the cover art, she let me buy it. I suspect if she had heard Get Down, Make Love I would not have kept it.

I was fourteen and had not discovered punk, ska or new wave. Even if I had, I doubt my fourteen year old ears were ready for it (although I did have a cherished copy of The Police's Outlandos d'Amour). I never considered Queen some kind of act of rebellion, but there was something about cranking it up when the parents weren't home.

From it's rousing “stomp stomp clap” opening on We Are The Champions to Freddie's finisher My Melancholy Blues, it was unlike any other pop album I had ever heard. Sure, I was peripherally aware of Bohemian Rhapsody, but News Of The World had so many different styles of music on it that actually surprised me.

I was fourteen and didn't know I wasn't supposed to like Queen (or Rush or Billy Joel or The Eagles) so I had no preconceived notions about Queen or their music. I hadn't been exposed to rock criticism yet, so I wasn't concerned about what was trendy and hip.

I have written about this before, but music can open you up to other, deeper music. While I would never consider Queen to be a prog rock band, their varied music influences led me directly to Pink Floyd, King Crimson and early Genesis.

Even when I was a music snob in my late teens, I still loved Queen (and Rush and Billy Joel, though I had kind of cooled on The Eagles). I never stopped liking them. When Freddie died, I was truly sad, because rock had lost one of it's greatest voices. For me, Queen was over, even though they occasionally toured with other singers. Queen will never be complete without Freddie Mercury.

I was fourteen and all I really knew was I had an album with a cool cover, some songs that my mom wouldn't approve of and something that moved me somewhere in my musical soul. In the end that's all that really counts.


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