Queen's "Greatest Hits" biggest selling album in UK history

Yee-Ming

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Interesting. My understanding was that because of the issue of song-writing royalties, in the early days they tried to be "fair" and each member would get, say, two songs on an 8-song album, and because of that each member would tend to be rather possessive of the song during recording, often rejecting ideas from the others as to how to arrange or re-write the song. The most notorious example quoted was the Bohemian Rhapsody single, which earned extra millions for Freddie, the songwriter -- but also earned the same extra millions for Roger Taylor, who had written the B-side (whose name escapes me, which also shows how arbitrary the whole thing can be).

By 1986 they were tired of that, and presumably had all made a fair bit of money already, so henceforth all songs were credited to "Queen", regardless of who first brought the main idea in, and collaboration was more extensive thereafter. But I guess for each song, one individual first came up with the main melody and lyrics.
 

Aaron Silverman

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Saturn isn't as big as Jupiter, but it's still pretty freakin' huge.


(Actually, if we're talking simply technical musical prowess, I'd rank Freddie and Brian ahead of Roger and Pete, but in terms of rock songwriting genius Pete wins the prize hands-down.)
 

Aaron Silverman

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Just curious. . .John Deacon is certainly a fine player, but in what way do you consider him to be "one of the most significant bass players in the world?"

(Entwhistle, on the other hand. . .)
 

Rob_D

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I don't think of John Deacon when I think of 'big time' bass players. That's reserved for the likes of John Entwhistle, John Paul Jones or Jack Bruce, IMO.

I find it interesting, and surprising, that Queen is so much bigger in the UK than Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones. Might it have something to do with the roots and subject matter of their music (i.e. '39 or Brighton Rock) compared with the Stones and Zeppelin who focused on and took American Blues and made it their own???
 

Dave Mack

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Ok, one, I am biased as Queen is my favorite band, I have met Brian and am friends with a girl who did backups on his tour.This thread shouldn't degenerate into a praise/bash Queen thread but here's an inteteresting thing to note. How many world class rock and roll singers fell on their face at the Queen freddie Mercury tribute concert? Many. Many actually had the keys lowered for the songs because as Robert Plant said on one of the documentaries, "people just can't do a Freddie..." Plant also absolutely butchered "Innuendo" and refused to have it allowed to be used on the Concert VHS or DVD that was released. Roger Daltrey cracked his head off on "I want it all"...
Seal stated in an interview that the song he wanted to do was "Who Wants To Live Forever" because it was his favorite Queen song and then he TRIED to sing it and thought, "Oh Great, this will be the end of my career..."
My old guitar player (who has a Master's from Columbia University in Music, plays about 6 different instruments incredibly well, some at classical concert level including lute, thiorbo, guitar, harp...) when observing that Brian May was suddenly having to play his repertiore note for note in several new keys to accomodate the singers who "couldn't do a Freddie" with just a couple of days practice was astonished. All you have to do is listen to Brian playing "Brighton Rock" live on the Live Killers album where he plays with 2 delays in harmony with himself live for several minutes to see how "accomplished" a musician he is. He also built his guitar with his father when he was like 15 and the unmistakeable "Brian May sound" has been highly regarded for years by guitar players with several Brian May copies by numerous manufacturers all trying to capture it.
Here's Brian on an acoustic, playing a bluesy/then rock version of "TYMD". Pretty damned impressive.


And John Deacon is an excellent bass player. He and Roger were an amazing "rythym section" who were solid with very nice little flourishes. Is he as flashy as Entwistle? No. But Entwistle (who bordered on overplaying 90% of the time IMHO...) couldn't hold a groove to save his ass. And Moon was sloppy as hell. Roger could be just as "all over the place" in that style when he wanted to be, (the first few Queen albums show this as well as his live drum solo in "Keep Yourself Alive" at the rainbow '74) but was technically much tighter and much more musical. The average Keith Moon fill sounds like a drunk falling down the stairs in my opinion.
And the 2 of them grooved. And rocked. And could swing. Listen to "Stone Cold Crazy" for an example of how awesome they were as a rhthym section.

and that's LIVE....

They are all VERY accomplished musicians. They all wrote and played multiple instruments. Even Roger played guitar on a few tracks like "Sheer Heart Attack", "Tenement Funster", "Drowse"...
If all one has ever heard is "the Hits" or the singles, then one should really listen to the first 5 or so albums. The diversity on Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack or A Night at the opera is mind boggling. Listen to "Death On Two Legs" and how it goes right into "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon..." They also were pioneers in the studio. If you can watch "Classic Albums- A Night At The Opera" you would be pretty amazed at what they attempted and accomplished back in 1975. I am constantly humbled while recording and mixing my own music when I watch any behind the scenes/studio doc. stuff on them.
And Queen when they were on live were untouchable. If you ever get a chance to see Live At The Rainbow from 1974 you would be pretty amazed.


Yes, Queen were often WAY over the top, (glam era origins...) and often had questionable taste but also had many, many sincere and simply beautiful songs such as "Love Of MY Life", "You take my Breath Away" and could run the gamut to rockers like "Tie Your Mother Down" or "Brighton Rock" They are not everyone's cup of tea but to suggest that they were not good songwriters or musicians is pretty ignorant IMHO.

Also, all you need to do is watch Live Aid. With the exception of U2 and maybe Ultravox, Queen simply kicked ass that day and Bob Geldof said that "regardless of your taste in music, Queen were absolutely the best band of the day." On record. Many other artists like Sting, Elton John said the same. Considering that virtually every popular band in existence played that day, it tells you something. No sound check, fingers crossed that all the equipment is good to go, (and in Roger's case, his monitor was NOT working properly as he had to watch Freddie's fingers on the piano during "Bohemian.." to know when to come in correctly...) 20 minutes to play your tunes and connect to an audience that is not just there to see you and then watch by the end of "we are the champions" how every single person at Wembley is swaying and WAY into it and then compare and contrast that to the average audience reaction for virtually every other band that day...



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M

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Thank you Dave for your post.
It would be much harder for me to write such a good answer, because english is not my native language.
And I would probably just answer to Aaron (and others) only something like this...

We're all here on hometheaterforum because of DVD's, in the first place. So let's stay in that area. You will get ALL THE ANSWERS concerning Queen when you watch these DVD's:

- QUEEN "GREATEST VIDEO HITS 1"
- QUEEN "GREATEST VIDEO HITS 2"
- QUEEN "THE MAKING OF PLUS 30TH ANNIVERSARY DVD EDITION OF A NIGHT AT THE OPERA"
- QUEEN "WE WILL ROCK YOU"
- QUEEN "ON FIRE - LIVE AT THE BOWL"
- QUEEN "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS - FINAL LIVE IN JAPAN"
- QUEEN "LIVE AT WEMBLEY STADIUM"
- QUEEN + "THE FREDDIE MERCURY TRIBUTE CONCERT"
- LIVE AID
- FREDDIE MERCURY "THE VIDEO COLLECTION"
- FREDDIE MERCURY "THE UNTOLD STORY"

Queen is probably the most underrated and misunderstood band today.

I'm a huge Iron Maiden fan, I love Black Sabbath, I'm crazy about The KLF, I bow down before Kraftwerk, and I thank Public Enemy for virtually raising me to be a man that I am today - BUT QUEEN IS THE BIGGEST BAND EVER.

If you don't feel it, I can't explain that to anyone. Nor I can explain Aaron why Deacon is "one of the most significant bass players in the world". The truth is there for all to see. Some see it... and some will always talk about Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd or The Who.

Thank you and good night.
And God save the Queen.
 

Dave Mack

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All those others bands are great too. I don't know why people tend to pit bands and musicians against one another (I'm guilty too as evidenced by my previous post) as if it were a sport, (so and so plays faster than so and so so he's "better!!!" So and so plays more notes so he's "better". People connect with bands for many reasons. It's hard to explain exactly why but when a band "hooks" you, you just know it and get very protective.

 

Yee-Ming

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Well put. FWIW I am a fan of both Pink Floyd and Queen, just don't ask me to choose between the two (although I tend to play more PF than Queen).

Having said that I also like Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran...
 

M

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Why that shame??? If anyone thinks that Duran Duran were just one of many stupid bands for teen girls - check their DVD's "Sing Blue Silver" and "Greatest".
They were huge... and their quality and talent was never questionable.
Of course, Duran Duran were on top of the world in 1983 - BECAUSE Queen were inactive that year.
 

Jack Gilvey

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Saw Queen the other night on some awards show...they can still rock, and nobody sounds like Brian! Ultimate Vox tone! Still, I'd rather watch an unknown have a go at the vocals than watch Paul Rodgers strut about in spandex and Grecian formula.
 

M

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Brian can sing. Roger can sing. The two of them on vocals (just like in the old days) + John on bass - THAT would still be QUEEN for me. Unfortunatelly, John decided to retire from music business a long time ago... and I guess we can only be sad about that and respect his decision. So, there is no more chance to have Queen in that form (original lineup minus Freddie).
But in that case, the second best thing (for me) would be the resurrection of SMILE.
Brian May + Roger Taylor + Tim Staffell
This "Queen+PR" thing... I just ignore it. But if that makes them happy, I'm happy for them... just don't expect from me to call it "Queen".
 

David Hobbes

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While i am not the biggest Queen fan in the world, i do very much enjoy their music and think they are fantastic musicians and songwriters.

I am listening to "A Night at the Opera" right now and this is one amazing album. Certainly one of the high points in the 1970's.

'39 is my favorite Queen song of all.

Other songs that i immensely enjoy:

Keep Yourself Alive
Sheer Heart Attack
Tie Yor Mother Down
Now I'm Here
Need Your Lovin'
I Want It All
I Can't With You (what a gret coda..better than Hey Jude)
Seven Seas of Rhye
Stone Cold Crazy
Sweet Lady
We Are the Champions
Fat Bottomed Girls
 

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