There Isn’t a Single Person Who Doesn’t Like QueenVitriola Music Shambles by Michael Legge
If you think you don’t like Queen, it turns out you’re wrong and you actually do. Here’s why.
There isn’t a single person who doesn’t like Queen.
I’ve met people who THINK they don’t like Queen, but they’re confused, misinformed and wrong. There are people who say they hate Queen because “Bohemian Rhapsody is boring” but they like electro pop, exactly like Queen did for a lot of the 80’s. There are people who mistakenly claim to hate Queen because “It’s all a bit too light and camp” despite Queen II being a very heavy progressive rock classic and the song Stone Cold Crazy pretty much invented Thrash Metal. There are even uneducated wank plankton bores with limited edition vinyl beards and corduroy teeth that say they hate Queen because “they’re just a bit too middle of the road” despite the fact they recorded an entire album that mixed Kraftwerk, Wagner and Brian Blessed laughing at his own death.
As Gandhi once said, “Anyone who says they hate Queen deserves a long, hard playlist and a swift, concise kicking”.
Of course, Queen will never be popular. They’re too popular. But there’s so much more to them than most give them credit for. They are bold, outrageous, delicate and really, really weird. They’re made up of four very different individuals: The camp one, the muso, the rocker, the quiet one, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon.
All four of them have separately written huge hit singles for the band. Songs that make drunk football fans cry and sing, songs that make wedding reception dancefloors become messy, defiant and glorious and songs that make hoovering impossible without giving a wink to an imaginary camera. They’re somewhere between the most highly rated rock band in UK music history and the most underappreciated experimental outfit of all time. Bohemian Rhapsody, a new film named after one of Queen’s songs from the 1970’s I believe, opens this week and before you go see it because even though you hate Queen, you’ve heard that Rami Malek is good in it, I just want you to be honest: Stand up, say your name and admit that you’re a Queen fan.
I can’t remember not being a Queen fan. Even though I definitely remember a time before seeing them perform Killer Queen on Top of The Pops, the first time I’d ever heard of them (I was 5), I still can’t quite remember or even imagine them not being around. I immediately loved them. Why wouldn’t I? I was 5 and they were hilarious. Freddie Mercury, making his TOTP debut as a rock frontman, dressed as a deluded Mrs Robinson determined to seduce the bingo caller. At age 11, I was in California with my family visiting relatives. My uncle told me that my 6-years-older-than-me cousin Patti had a box of old t-shirts in the basement that she was going to throw out and offered me a chance to grab some first. I came back upstairs with just one t-shirt. It was black and had the word Queen written on it in silver letters. I immediately wore it. My family looked awkward. “No, son”, my mum said. “You can’t wear that. That’s for girls”. I was immediately confused. Mum explained that the reason the top had such a low collar that was exposing most of my chest was because… well, because of girls’ chest bits… you know? I didn’t know. Mum was wrong. The reason it exposed so much of my chest was because Freddie always wore a leotard and now I have one too. Stupid mum! I wore it for a month.
That same week, my cousin Danny saw me in my new leotard and laughed. He more than made it up to me by driving me in a real American pick-up truck all the way up a hill to almost see Queen play live in a stadium in Oakland. I could hear noise and I could see lights but knowing Queen were RIGHT THERE was exciting enough to make me drool. Thank goodness I was wearing a leotard.
A few years later, I bought my first Queen album. They had just released The Works featuring the huge hits Radio Ga Ga and I Want To Break Free. It was £5.99 and I didn’t have enough money but, luckily, Woolworths sold back catalogue Queen albums cheap on the Fame label. I bought Queen II, the one with the iconic diamond quartet photo. I hated it. It wasn’t like Radio Ga Ga at all. But I played it to death because I wasn’t throwing that £2.49 away. I played it until I loved every bit of its pretentious, prog rock beauty. Every song on this album is utterly fantastic. Maybe I wasn’t a Radio Ga Ga-era Queen fan after all? Maybe I liked the prog stuff. Not long after that I started loving Marillion and Genesis (bear with me, I know where I’m going with this) but it was the Queen back catalogue I really wanted, and I bought more every chance I got.
I bought Sheer Heart Attack, arguably the band’s greatest record, and was soon listening to T-Rex and my sister’s Bowie albums. Their album News of The World got me into the Ramones because a friend said one of the songs sounded like them (I mean, it vaguely does) and therefore listened to the Sex Pistols. Queen got me into punk! Their absolutely superb Flash Gordon soundtrack, an album full of weird darkness, electronic coldness and shrieking joy, got me into listening to Kraftwerk and John Carpenter. I even quite like Quentin Tarantino soundtrack albums because, hey, they’re a bit like that Queen one! I got into Sparks, Iron Maiden, The Smiths, Metallica, Depeche Mode, The Cure… all my teen bands because of Queen. I love all that music. Of course, I do. I’m a Queen fan.
And here’s why you must admit, you’re a Queen fan too. For a brief time, I decided Queen were rubbish. I’d just got into Beastie Boys, Anthrax and Madonna (there’s a line-up!) and when I was offered a ticket to finally see Queen in concert, I said no. They never toured again.
GOD DAMN IT!!! What will stop if you don’t finally admit you’re a Queen fan too? Well, I won’t let that happen to you. You ARE a Queen fan. Here’s a playlist of songs you may well not know. I’ve put it together with you in mind. I know you’ll love some of them. So, slip into your leotard and give a listen to the poppiest, rockiest, most experimental, electronic, prog rock, operatic, music hall, metal, disco, two-hand-claps-in-the-air band of all time.
Listen to the playlist on Spotify right here.
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Michael Legge is a stand up comedian and writer who has performed all around the world. He is a previous winner of a Chortle Award for best blog and is a team captain on the popular podcast ‘Do the Right Thing’. His 2017 live show Jerk was recently released accompanied by the EP Jerk:The Musical. Michael can often be found both on The Cosmic Shambles Network and Vitriola yelling about music with Robin Ince. He is @michaellegge on Twitter.