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The Maastricht Diplomat

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Why Queen is So Great

“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” “These few words send most people into fits of joy and bliss in only mere seconds. But why? Maybe because Queen are the best band of the 20th century. Okay, that might be an extremely biased opinion, especially with regard to the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and many other bands.

But one thing is for sure, Queen had the knack of writing some of the most iconic songs of all time including: Don’t Stop Me Now, We are the Champions, We Will Rock You and, of course, Bohemian Rhapsody.  sure, Queen had the knack of writing some of the most iconic songs of all time, including: Don’t Stop Me Now, We are the Champions, We Will Rock You and, of course, Bohemian Rhapsody.  Queen’s Greatest Hits, released in 1981, is the best-selling album in the UK. The bands success is only rivalled by the Beatles. Queen has also influenced many other artists from Guns & Roses, Michael Jackson, Radiohead and even Katy Perry.  Therefore, there is no doubt that Queen’s success is multi-generational. From personal experience, Queen was my childhood band and gave me so many good memories. It was for this reason that I have seen Bohemian Rhapsody (the film) twice, since its release two weeks ago. The film certainly captures the magic of Queen and although there are some factual errors, it certainly is a must watch for any fan.

The band’s success is undoubtedly due to the song writing ability of all the band mates, but more distinctively because of Freddie Mercury’s unique vocal capability, having a four-octave range, and Brian May’s guitar work. The pair are rock legends on their own right, let alone when partnered together. There is little doubt in my mind that Freddie Mercury is the greatest performer of his generation. I would encourage anyone who disagreed to watch Queen’s Live Aid performance in 1985. The man’s vocal ability was unrivalled, but it was his ability to control a crowd of 100,000 people that made him unique.

Freddie Mercury was not only inspirational in life but also death. On 24th November 1991, Freddie Mercury died of aids-related pneumonia. He was the first major celebrity death of the disease. His passing inspired people to pay attention to the disease and to try and take away the taboo of it. By no means did Freddie Mercury want to be remembered as the man who died of aids, but his legacy did play a role in the attempted prevention of the disease.  Twenty-seven years on, aids and HIV research has made great strides and the stigmatism has decreased compared to Freddie’s tragic death.

When looking at Queen’s pop-culture impact in our generation, it is plain as day. From the scene in ‘Wayne’s World’ where they sing Bohemian Rhapsody, to every sports team celebrating victory with We are the Champions, Queen are still ever-present. Bohemian Rhapsody, in particular, will make sure the band’s name will not be forgotten for many decades to come. It is a song with a style that no one else has been successful in copying, mainly due to the fact that it is effectively three different songs successfully combined into one. It also incorporates many genres in the song from a ballad, to a rock song and of course an operatic section. There is a theory that the song is Freddie Mercury’s coming out. According to this theory, the song goes through Freddie Mercury’s inner turmoil, as he understands his sexuality. This gives the song extra personal value, especially when considering the time when this song was written. It is for this reason why in my opinion the song is the greatest in the 20th century.

Whatever happens in the future, one thing will be certain; any future kids of mine will be screaming “is this the real life, is this just fantasy”.


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