Queen: If I Fail

Written and submitted by Natasha Christopher.


 

Queen’s biopic movie Bohemian Rhapsody recently screened in theaters worldwide. To me, watching this movie meant a lot to me. Back in the year 2016, I was just a normal college student attending a class called Feature Writing and we were required to craft a story from the title “If I Fail”.

The topic was so vast that deciding on one was difficult – coming from an indecisive person like me. Then I started reminiscing on my childhood days where I was always surrounded by uplifting songs that just made me want to shout at the top of my lungs at just how amazing it felt to sing it.

“We are the champions, my friend, and we’ll keep on fighting till the end” is one of those songs.

It has become one of the top anthems to sing at sport events to celebrate the before or after of a huge victory. The song that inspired millions of fans was sung by none other than Britain’s pop rock band, Queen. ‘We Will Rock You’ is another famous hit that is followed by a clap and stomp of the feet that never gets old. Queen was also the first group to sell over six million copies of albums in the United Kingdom alone. Well, let’s not go further on the success it has brought worldwide. Let’s admit it, without all these tunes, Queen wouldn’t be regarded as a rock star legend till today.

After much thinking about what to write for my college assignment, I wrote about this: what if Queen never existed?

When you start doing extensive research on a rock band for a college assignment, not only does it continue to fascinate you day to day, but also help you to realise the impact it has brought upon.

Queen’s roots go back to 1967, when guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor joined singer Tim Staffell in a group called Smile. Staffell soon left to go solo, and the remaining two Smiles teamed up with Freddie Mercury (from a group called Wreckage) and later bassist John Deacon. They played very few gigs at the start, avoiding the club circuit and rehearsing for two years while they all remained in college. May began work on a Ph.D. in astronomy; Taylor has a degree in biology; Deacon, a degree in electronics; and Mercury had one in illustration and design. They began touring in 1973, when their debut album was released. After a second LP, the band made its U.S. tour debut, opening for Mott the Hoople.

Thinking about it, if the band members only did music as a side job, none of these great and legendary songs would be on air.

The music industry would definitely be missing out. If the members of Queen pursued what they studied at university, life would be different for them now as well. Brian May would have probably been an expert in astronomy; Roger Taylor would be a biologist; Deacon an electrician and Freddie working in the graphic design industry. There wouldn’t be any chart topping singles and albums worldwide and definitely no chants of We Will Rock You and Scramouche around the world.

Freddie Mercury, who was the vocalist of Queen, was one fascinating human being and also the heart of Queen. Mercury’s over-the-top vocals helped make Queen wildly popular.

In the single Bohemian Rhapsody, it should have been too long for successful radios to play but it became one of the greatest singles of all time, staying at No. 1 in the UK chart for nine weeks.

Mercury wrote the whole lyrics as it reflected on his life and his thoughts from deep within. (Just to get a bit of background, Freddie was born Farrokh Bulsara on Thursday September 5th 1946 on the small spice island of Zanzibar. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, were both Persians).

Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a masterful, if ludicrous, six-minute suite of operatic cock-rock about a lad who’s killed someone, sold his soul to Beelzebub and wants to know if Scaramouche can do the Fandango. Some fans were wondering if the cryptic lyrics in his song was based on his failed relationship or based on his sexuality that he was a bisexual. If the band did fail, Mercury would not have been able to portray his amazing song writing skills for the whole wide world to listen. Being a bisexual in the 80’s was very difficult back then, as the affected person will be discriminated. If it was not for Bohemian Rhapsody, Mercury couldn’t have expressed his true self through this beautiful song.

In the 80s, it was considered a failed record if you tried to combine two or three different genres in a song, let alone with more than five minutes on the song. Queen’s sound combined showy glam rock, heavy metal, and intricate vocal harmonies produced by multi-tracking Mercury’s voice. If they followed other bands and stuck to only one genre of music, the song wouldn’t even sell millions of copies worldwide. Instead, they broke barriers and achieved it despite many naysayers.  Modern music today would not have had the creative idea of combining more than two genres in a song. No singer would even dare to try to break barriers even though it is very risky.

However, reality struck Freddie Mercury when he was diagnosed with AIDS. He didn’t want anyone to know he was having AIDS. He announced that fact the day before he died. Being ill he continued to compose and record songs and even took part in video making. On November 24th, 1991 Freddie died peacefully at his home in London of AIDS-related bronchial pneumonia. After his death, many people start take notice of the severity of this disease.

If it wasn’t for Mercury’s death, AIDS research and prevention wouldn’t be as imperative compared to last time.

Fans across the world adored his bravery. On April 20th, 1992 a tribute concert in Freddie’s memory was held at Wembley Stadium, and many famous rock stars took part in it. No artistes would have even come together to sing at his tribute concert if Queen never existed. He has made a tremendous impact on everyone – especially when it pertains to being yourself. If it wasn’t for Mercury, no one would even dare to be themselves. Mercury’s bravery and openness to be on stage with only an underwear on showed how much he has accepted himself. He was and still is a role model for everyone around the world – his message was to love yourself no matter what race, religion, skin color and your sexuality. If it wasn’t for Mercury, we would be a bunch of negative-minded people.

Ever since Mercury passed away, the present day still continued their music by having Queen’s concert across the UK. Freddie was replaced by none other than American Idol singer, Adam Lambert. First week itself they performed to 160,000 fans. It was quite impressive for a band whose iconic lead singer, Freddie Mercury, passed away 27 years ago.

With all that being said and done, Queen went through the highest mountains in their success to their lowest in their failures.

Yet, they rose through it all. If Queen had never existed, I could never imagine life without their amazing stage performances and catchy tunes. Freddie Mercury and the whole band have taught me that nothing is impossible if there is teamwork. I would be an insecure person as of now if it wasn’t for Mercury who taught me to spread my wings and be confident in myself. If Queen had failed as a band, well, I wouldn’t be expressing how much Queen meant to me in this article in the first place!